Around March of this year, a tweet posted a video in an English-speaking world caused tens of thousands of retweets and more than 100,000 likes. The tweet was also quoted on the American SNS Reddit, which also recorded more than 10,000 Upvotes. It was a so-called joke-type post, and it was written like this in the text.
“The opening of the anime: (singing about depression and suicide) with friends who don’t understand Japanese:” And the video shows boys enjoying a crisp and sharp dance to the music. The post is attractive to the humor of “people who enjoy innocently and brightly without knowing it, although the song deals with a dark theme.” What was flowing there was YOASOBI’s “Running at Night.” The song became the biggest hit song in Japan in 2020, but its momentum has reached overseas, and soon after its release, it ranked high on Spotify’s global viral chart.
Many people used the same song on TikTok. In other words, the situation that was ridiculed in the above post happened. Many comments other than Japanese are still received in the comment section of YouTube, and “Yoru ni Kakeru” has already been accepted to some extent overseas. Against this background, it seems pretty natural that the English version of the song, “Into The Night,” was released on July 2. It is not uncommon for artists/songs with the potential to hit overseas to adapt to the local language to overcome the barrier of speech. In 2004 Hikaru Utada wrote the all-English lyrics “Exodus” was announced under the name of Utada and made its debut in the United States. SEKAI NO OWARI has a contract with British record company Insanity Records. Has been active overseas under End of the World, focusing on songs with English lyrics. Recently, Kenshi Yonezu announced the English version of “Paprika” by Foorin team E, and Sexy Zone released the all-English lyrics “RIGHT NEXT TO YOU.” Many artists are still looking to expand overseas. He has released songs with all English lyrics. Also, many K-POP artists release Japanese songs when they are active in Japan, and it can be said that this is based on the same idea. Perhaps the most successful localization strategy is BTS, which has achieved No. 1 on the US charts with “Dynamite.”
The song, which had built a more substantial fan base than before and was released as a game song to attack the American mainstream seriously, was brilliantly accepted as “a charming pop song by a new boy band. “
BABYMETAL, BTS There is also a pattern of overseas activities without changing the language
On the other hand, songs in languages that are not native to such artists function as reaching outside the fan base that initially existed. If you are a core fan, you may accept the language you do not understand but instead actively investigate the meaning of the lyrics. In addition, it is thought that the sound and rhythmic feeling created only in that language is accepted as one of the charms of the music. It is not uncommon to develop overseas activities without changing the language. For example, in BABYMETAL, they are still mainly active in songs with Japanese lyrics. In the UK that produced the collaboration song “Kingslayer,” The rock band Brings Me The Horizon showed a solid commitment to using the BABYMETAL part as Japanese lyrics when having pieces.
Even in the overseas performances of Hatsune Miku, who has a fan base all over the world, Japanese masterpieces are showing enthusiastic excitement regardless of the country, and even in the case of BTS mentioned above, after the break with “Dynamite,” the Korean lyrics The song “Life Goes” “On” has been sent to No. 1 on the US charts. So what’s the point of releasing a version of the song in another language? The first thing to think about is that if you try to reach a foreign language-speaking country beyond the boundaries of fandom, the language barrier will still stand up. After the existence is recognized by some method, language becomes smaller because it is no longer an unknown existence. However, at the stage of cognition before that, the language barrier was still significant. Although the fan base itself in the United States was built in BTS, it was an opportunity to advance to the mainstream, such as a hit on the radio. It was a song with English lyrics. However, what is more, important than that is the simple desire to deliver music to various people. In the first place, as the tweet introduced at the beginning shows, many people do not understand what is drawn in “Run at night.” Enjoying innocently without understanding the meaning of the lyrics of a song is one way of enjoying music for listeners, but it may not be the ideal sight, at least for the creator. In particular, YOASOBI is a unit that makes music based on novels and is active, emphasizing the world depicted by lyrics. It’s a natural process to create a translated version of the world, hoping to reach as many people as possible.
In “Into The Night,” English lyrics are created to give an impression close to the original song even at the expense of grammar to some extent so as not to impair the sound and rhythmic feeling peculiar to the language mentioned above. However, I can strongly feel the desire to reach as many people as possible while retaining the charm of the original song as much as possible. “Into The Many of the comments in foreign languages received in the comment section of YouTube of “Night” are comments praising the creation of English lyrics that sound like Japanese lyrics by fans familiar with the original song, and this song has already been “Night.” It seems accepted as one of the new ways to enjoy “Running in Japan” or as a song that shows a new side of YOASOBI’s talent.