Bacon-clad Japanese security guards become TikTok celebrities

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The CEO and General Manager of a small Japanese security firm, however, are among the country’s biggest TikTok stars, attracting 2.7 million followers and 54 million likes, as well as being recognised with prizes for setting trends on the video-sharing app.

They are your typical Japanese “salarymen,” affable, hard-working, pot-bellied, and, well, fairly ordinary.

Highlights

  • Despite his unassuming demeanour, Daisuke Sakurai is dead serious about growing his company’s brand power and attracting new talent, which he views as essential for survival.

  • The account for Daikyo Security Co. was created by the head of the business and features silly dances, quick noodles devoured, and other commonplace cuisine.

“Our job is among those labelled `Three-K’ in Japan,” Sakurai said, referring to “kitsui, kitanai, kiken,” meaning, “hard, dirty and dangerous.”

Daikyo, established in 1967, employs 85 employees, 10 of whom work at the company’s headquarters, which is nestled away on the second story of a mysterious structure in a dimly lit alleyway in central Tokyo.

Daikyo guards frequently guide traffic using flashing sticks at construction sites, ensuring that vehicles arrive and depart without running over pedestrians.

Even though it doesn’t require many specialised talents, nobody wants to spend all day outside. According to Sakurai, there are up to 99 security agencies competing for each new hire, compared to just two for office employees.

And all of this is taking place in an ageing Japan where there is a severe labour shortage in every industry. So why not use social media, where young people are said to congregate? Sakurai began sharing content on Instagram and Twitter. However, the moment he appeared on TikTok, everything took off.

In a popular scene, general manager Tomohiko Kojima uses a hand flip to slap his boss’s face with gel sheets covered in the eyeballs of various comic book characters. “What is this character?” the subtitles ask in English.

No cuts are used, they say proudly. Kojima had to keep trying until the strip landed just right. “I don’t practice during my work hours,” he said with a laugh.

Some of the videos, like one in which the staff prepares a delectable omelette, are set to catchy tunes like “World’s Smallest Violin” by American pop group AJR. All of them show the contented but unassuming existence of uniformed employees who don’t take themselves too seriously.

There were none applications for jobs at Daikyo prior to TikTok. Following TikTok, the business is receiving dozens of applications, including those from folks looking to contribute to the films. The videos have a clear message: They disprove the notion that Japanese businesses are rigorously hierarchical, if not tyrannical. A Daikyo employee can apply gel sheets on the CEO.

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