Daiso changes closing music in Japan because of tourists K-Selection
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Daiso changes closing music in Japan because of tourists

Tokyo, Japan – One of the quirks of life in Japan that expats quickly discover is the special song played about 15 minutes before the shops close. This gentle melody is meant to gently prompt customers that it is time to leave so staff can return home on time.

The song in question is called “Hotaru no Hikari” or “Light of the Fireflies”. It is often played at graduation ceremonies because it evokes arduous studies under difficult conditions, such as under the light of fireflies. This song naturally suggests the end of the day and the approach of night.

Daiso changes closing music in Japan because of tourists K-Selection

However, this song might surprise Westerners, because... listen to it if you've never heard it.

Written in 1881 by Chikai Inagaki, “Hotaru no Hikari” copies note for note the musical score of “Auld Lang Syne”. Fortunately for Inagaki, associations like JASRAC did not exist at the time to enforce copyrights, and the song became a beloved Japanese melody. It even survived the banning of Western music during World War II because it was considered completely Japanese.

Even today, this song is played in countless stores across the country. However, the major one-yen store chain Daiso announced that it will soon part ways with "Hotaru no Hikari." The discount store explains that the growing number of foreign tourists do not understand that this song signals the end of opening hours and continue to loiter in the store.

Daiso changes closing music in Japan because of tourists K-Selection

In collaboration with in-store music provider USEN, Daiso has created a new closing song titled “Good Day – Closing Music”. To design this new melody, 150 men and women were interviewed about the elements of a closing song. The most common responses were that it should be “nostalgic”, “calm” and “connected to nature”.

Time will tell if this new song will have any effect, but many news readers have asked the question: "If foreigners don't understand the meaning of 'Hotaru no Hikari,' how could they understand a completely original song?" »

Other Internet users had fun suggesting possible alternative songs.

“They should play the fast music of 'time's almost up' from Super Mario. Everyone in the world can understand that. »

“‘Get Back’ by the Beatles could work. »

“If they play Kpop, people will want to leave anyway. »

“I would love for them to play the Darth Vader theme. »

"It's funny how only Japanese people are conditioned to leave upon hearing 'Hotaru no Hikari.' »

“Why not just keep the song and run ads in different languages ​​on top of it? »

“The original European song is about drinking with friends, so I understand why they wouldn't understand. »

Some stores in Japan are reluctant to make direct closure announcements because they want to avoid appearing to openly tell valued customers to leave soon. On the other hand, what song could be used universally to communicate such an idea in a way that transcends languages ​​and cultures?

Thinking about this, Super Mario's suggestion seems to be the most relevant. Play this da-dada, da-dada, da-dada arpeggio while gradually speeding up the ambient music, then, at the end of the timer, play Mario's death sound and make a little character mushroom to tell everyone world: “Thank you! But your product is in another store. »

What do you think of this music change?

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This is completely stupid! All over the world, this song symbolizes the end of something and is, all over the world, used to say that it is over. It's impossible not to understand!
This song, in French, is: “It’s only a goodbye”.
If the tourists don't leave, it's just because they are indifferent and don't care if it closes!

We are one

I don't think changing the song would solve the problem, especially if it is emblematic for the country. In France it's more of an announcement + music cutting.

The comment saying to keep the music but place an ad in different language makes the most sense, in my opinion. This way tourists will be able to associate this music with the closing.

K-pop curious

It’s culturally very interesting to learn! On the other hand, it's a shame to change music just for foreigners...knowing that the problem is not the title of the music itself.

Many may not be used to associating “music” and “store closing”! A bit of a typical sign “When the music starts, it’s closing time!” » should be enough.

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