2010 Shanghai Expo Theme Song is a Shameless Copy of a 1997 Japanese Song

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    Be prepared to see this story on the Japanese TV news over and over again. It turns out the unauthorized copies of the Shanghai Expo mascot being sold on the streets were just the tip of the iceberg – even the Expo organizers seem to be guilty of blatant copying!

    It turns out that the official theme song of the Expo is almost identical to a hit Japanese song from 1997 by Maya Okamoto (“そのままの君でいて”). Here’s a YouTube video that plays portions of each song back-to-back:

    If you’ve got headphones, try watching the video [via Nico Nico Douga] – you’ll hear the Okamoto song in one ear, and the Shanghai Expo song in the other:

    China Smack has translated some comments form Chinese netizens, which range from sarcastic jokes about Japan copying China to statements of disgust and shame. J-Cast has also translated some netizen comments into Japanese.

    Here are a few Japanese TV news clips about the scandal:

    According to the reports, the Chinese songwriter who “wrote” the Expo theme song has denied that it is a copy. However, most of the people they interviewed on the street in Shanghai seem to lean towards the idea that it is based on the Japanese song. The Expo authorities are apparently in the process of investigating the claims.

    In the first clip, the news casters wonder if it really is a copy. In the second clip, the pundits in the studio are 100% convinced it is a copy and they discuss how legally difficult it is for victims of copyright infringement to sue for damages in Chinese courts.

    [hat tip to Matt]

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