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PIKOTARO PROMO. Japanese comedian Pikotaro greets journalists before meeting with Japanís foreign minister, Fumio Kishida, at the ministry in Tokyo. Pikotaro, who gained global fame with his "Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen" (PPAP) song, debuted a new version of PPAP to promote sustainable development at the United Nations. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

From The Asian Reporter, V27, #14 (July 17, 2017), page 3.

"Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen" and the U.N. have a new rhyme

By Mari Yamaguchi

The Associated Press

TOKYO ó "Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen" (PPAP) and the U.N. are rhyming.

Japanese comedian Pikotaro has adapted his catchy song to promote the United Nationsí sustainable development goals. The original went viral last year after pop star Justin Bieber tweeted that it was his favorite video.

Pikotaro, in his trademark leopard-lizard design outfit, was a bit reserved at an appearance alongside the more conservatively dressed foreign minister Fumio Kishida.

The PPAP star beamed at the invitation to accompany the diplomat to New York and pledged to do his utmost for the awareness campaign. The U.N. version, "SDGs," debuted in mid-July.

At first, Pikotaro seemed unconvinced. "Do you mean the U.N., one that is in New York? Me? Are you sure?" he asked half-jokingly. Kishida reassured him it was a Japan-hosted reception at the U.N. headquarters where he would be performing.

The U.N. action plan sets goals for fighting poverty, climate change, and other global challenges. Kishida said he needs to boost awareness for the project in which every citizen needs to help. "Pikotaro-sanís popularity would be extremely effective to boost public recognition," Kishida told him.

Pikotaro said it would be a challenge to achieve all the goals, but he was happy to accept the Foreign Ministryís appointment to the promotional role and help by doing what he does best. "Something easy that encourages people to watch and follow [the] example."

He also gave Kishida a brief posing lesson, demonstrating hand gestures showing 17 development project areas as the minister struggled to copy Pikotaro.

There was no dancing lesson, however. In the PPAP song, Pikotaro mimics stabbing a pen into an apple and a pineapple while singing simple English lyrics and dancing to a catchy beat.

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