If you watched the video above and asked yourself, “What the F did I just watch?” you’re not alone. People on Buzzfeed and Reddit have been asking themselves the same thing. While it’s easy to assume that this is just another example of another “crazy Japanese” thing, if you dig a little deeper, it turns out that this music video is actually a really clever parody.
The Japanese boy band SMAP is behind the video they uploaded to YouTube with the title: Gee しょうわ時代 （爺爺爺－昭和時代）. The title says that the band is “Showa Generation,” (昭和時代 “Shōwa Jidai” in Japanese) which is only meaningful when you realize they’re parodying the South Korean girl group Girls’ Generation (少女時代 “Shōjo Jidai” in Japanese) and if you know that the Shōwa period in Japanese history corresponds to the reign of the Emperor Hirohito (1926-1989).
SMAP also plays with the title of the song “Gee” by changing it to 爺 (“ji” in Japanese), the kanji/Chinese character for Chinese character for grandfather.
Here’s the original “Gee” music video done by Girls` Generation (소녀시대). Frankly, I like the parody better and would welcome more music videos by Showa Generation.