Japan is the one country I know whose pop culture is whimsical enough that one word or phrase can catch so much of the popular imagination that the Top 10 Catchphrases of the Year has been a mainstay year-end event since 1984. And for one year, it helped spawn a hit song that just managed to miss getting into the Top 10 for 2000.
My daily schedule back in Japan was such that I often didn't need to leave the apartment for work until some hours later in the day. So I often lounged around past breakfast doing some channel surfing, and aside from the morning news shows, there were quite a few kids' programs around including one on TV Tokyo called "Oha Suta"（おはスタ...Mornin' Studio）in which one of the ways of greeting was "Ohhaa~".
Well, the goofy member of SMAP, Shingo Katori（香取慎吾）, had a comical character which originated on one of the many SMAP shows scattered all over Japanese TV "Sata Smap"（サタ☆スマ...Saturday SMAP）who looked like a hybrid of June Cleaver and an ostrich by the name of Shingo Mama（慎吾ママ）. Somehow he and the "Ohhaa~" expression got together and a phenomenon was born. I can no longer see Shingo Mama without hearing "her" cheerful "Ohhaa~"....not that I've seen Katori's alter ego in the past decade or so.
Then Mama and "Ohhaa~" got a further bump up by getting their own song. Given the drawn-out title of "Shingo Mama no Oha Rock", the single was released in August 2000 and was written, composed and produced by Yasuharu Konishi（小西康陽）from Pizzicato Five. And as would be expected with such a combination of folks and contagious pop gimmick here, it sounded like a kids' tune on a couple of cans of Red Bull. Thanks to Konishi, it's pretty darn catchy and Shingo Mama doesn't sound too bad.
The video for "Shingo Mama no Oha Rock" further amped things up with not only a cast of dozens doing the goofball choreography (that probably had the kids of the nation dancing in the living room) but a fistful of cameos by actors, comedians and tarento (plus Shingo's bandmates) chanting out the mot d'annee on a scale similar to the "Ghostbusters" music video. The one jaw-dropper is seeing a certain American music legend even getting in on the act near the end.
Shingo Mama hit No. 1 on Oricon and quickly became the 12th-ranked song of the year. It was also the first hit single by a solo SMAP member to reach the top spot, selling around 1.3 million copies.