HONG KONG — The Japanese public pays careful attention to the words and deeds of Caroline Kennedy, the US ambassador to Japan and one of the State Department’s best-known diplomats.
But Kennedy generated an unusual buzz in Tokyo this week by doing something that is almost certainly not in her job description: wearing a Santa suit and dancing in a quirky video.
The 93-second video, uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, features US Embassy employees and consular officials across Japan mimicking dance moves from “We Married as a Job!,” a popular Japanese television series.
By Friday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 3.5 million times on YouTube.
Some social media users said the timing of the video’s release, one week after a US military Osprey aircraft crash-landed off Okinawa, setting off anti-American protests, was indelicate.
But many others welcomed it as pure entertainment or as a sign of warm ties between the two countries.
“Wow, this is great,” one person wrote in Japanese on YouTube. “Americans are really good at getting carried away. A boring Japanese government would never do this.”
The television series premiered in October and stars a lovelorn information technology worker who hires an unemployed woman to pretend to be his wife and do chores around his Tokyo apartment. They end up falling in love.
The show’s closing dance features five characters performing goofy, choreographed moves in the man’s living room, to the sounds of a peppy song titled “Koi,” or “Love.” It became a sensation on Japanese social media, and people around the country — including a group of famous figure skaters — have uploaded their own versions of the “Koi Dance.”
In the embassy’s version, Kennedy performs the opening move, which looks vaguely like a yoga pose, to the song from the show. Other scenes show members of her staff dancing around their offices in Christmas hats and sweaters, as one official lip synchs the lyrics.
The video also includes a cameo by a person dressed as the bear Kumamon, the rosy-cheeked mascot for the southern prefecture of Kumamoto, who dances beside a team of fake reindeer.
Asked to comment on the video, Jonas D. Stewart, an embassy spokesman in Tokyo, said that “quite a few” of the embassy’s Japanese and US staff members were fans of the television show, and that they had been inspired to interpret the Koi Dance after watching others on social media. He also expressed gratitude to Kumamon for agreeing to dance in the embassy’s video.
“We thought people would enjoy it,” he said, “but we had no idea how popular it would become.”