Goofy dances and instant noodles made this Japanese executive a TikTok star


TOKYO — They’re your run-of-the-mill Japanese “salarymen,” hard-working, pot-bellied, pleasant and, effectively, somewhat common.

However the chief executive and normal supervisor at a tiny Japanese safety firm are among the many nation’s greatest TikTok stars, drawing 2.7 million followers and 54 million likes, and honored with awards as a trend-setter on the video-sharing app.

Daikyo Safety Co.’s account, which gathers goofy dances, wolfed instant noodles and different on a regular basis fare, is the brainchild of the corporate president.

Regardless of his unpretentious demeanor, Daisuke Sakurai is useless severe about not solely enhancing model energy but in addition recruiting younger individuals to his firm, a problem he sees as a matter of survival.

Based in 1967, Daikyo has 85 staff, 10 of them working on the headquarters workplace, tucked away on the second ground of an obscure constructing in a downtown Tokyo alley.

“Our job is among those labeled ‘Three-K’ in Japan,” Sakurai mentioned, referring to “kitsui, kitanai, kiken,” that means, “hard, dirty and dangerous.”

A standard job for Daikyo guards is to work at building websites, directing site visitors with a flashing stick, ensuring the vans come and go safely with out operating over pedestrians.

It isn’t a job that requires overly particular expertise, however nobody desires to face round outdoor for hours. As many as 99 safety corporations are preventing over each recruit, in distinction to 2 potential employers for workplace clerks, Sakurai mentioned.

And this is in quickly ageing Japan, the place each sector is struggling a labor scarcity.

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Media=”(max-width: 768px)” width=”420″ top=”315″ data- loading=”lazy” data-size=”fallbackImageSizeMobile”/>Daikyo Security Chief Executive Daisuke Sakurai, left, and General Manager Tomohiko Kojima take a Tik Tok video together as seen on the screen in the device (right) at the Tokyo headquarters office of Daikyo Security Co. in Tokyo Monday, Aug. 22, 2022.

Daikyo Safety Chief Executive Daisuke Sakurai, left, and Basic Supervisor Tomohiko Kojima take a Tik Tok video collectively as seen on the display within the gadget (proper) on the Tokyo headquarters workplace of Daikyo Safety Co. in Tokyo Monday, Aug. 22, 2022.

So why not flip to social Media, the place the place kids supposedly flock? Sakurai began posting on Twitter and Instagram. Nevertheless it was when he went on TikTok that issues went viral.

In a hit phase, Basic Supervisor Tomohiko Kojima slaps, with a flip of his hand, gel sheets, every adorned with the eyes of assorted comic-book characters, on his boss’s face, proper over his eyes.

“What is this character?” the subtitles ask in English.

No cuts are used, they are saying proudly. Kojima needed to hold attempting till the strip landed excellent.

“I don’t practice during my work hours,” he mentioned with a snort.

The clips have a clear message: They defy the stereotype of rigidly hierarchical, even perhaps oppressive, Japanese corporations. At Daikyo, a employee will get to slap gel sheets on the CEO.

Earlier than TikTok, the variety of individuals making use of for jobs at Daikyo was zero. After TikTok, the corporate is getting dozens of candidates, together with these of people that need to work on the movies.

A few of the movies, equivalent to one during which the employees cook dinner up a delicious omelet, unfold to the sounds of snappy songs, like “World’s Smallest Violin” by American pop trio AJR.

All of them depict the comfortable but humble lifetime of uniformed males and ladies at work who do not take themselves too severely.

They’re Japan’s good guys. And it is clear they like one another very a lot.

Their success contrasts with the picture of Japan Inc. as falling behind in Digital know-how, particularly of older males who’re mounted of their methods and unable to embrace new know-how.

As of late, TikTok is flooded with companies searching for consideration, from “izakaya” pubs and hair salons to taxi corporations.

Sakurai has his eyes on world affect now, hoping to attract staff from locations like Vietnam and Indonesia, and permitting them to work in English.

And so a latest video options gel sheets with numerous nations’ flags on them, a clip that has drawn 1000’s of feedback and hundreds of thousands of views.

Slap a flag from Mongolia, and viewers from Mongolia remark in gratitude. Others request their favourite flags, be it Lithuania or Lebanon.

It is a signal TikTok has helped Daikyo overcome language and cultural obstacles by merely hamming it up and getting a snort.

“What makes my job worthwhile is that it’s about people,” Kojima mentioned.

“What draws me are people, not things.”

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