Pets All Over the World Are "Beating the Koto Nai" but Many of Us Are Confused and Disturbed

Every trend on TikTok is an opportunity to learn something new. The “Beat the Koto Nai” song is testing our Japanese.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Feb. 27 2024, Published 1:12 p.m. ET

Beat the Koto Nai TikToks
Source: TikTok/@hwungii/@bigbomboclaat_/@0bamaman.1

Whenever there’s a new TikTok trend, we can’t help but question where it came from and what it means. From the “No Borax, No Glue” trend to the “Orange Peel Theory,” we never know what will go viral on the Gen Z-centric app. One of the latest trends to pop up has been a dancing pet trend, which we love. Users film their pets dancing to the “Beat the Koto Nai” song in a way that’s a bit unsettling.

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While we might love (or hate) a dancing pet with human-like limbs, the song behind the dance is super catchy. The popular “Beat the Koto Nai” phrase comes from Certified Trapper’s song, “Oi,” which was released in November 2023. The end of the song contains the viral verse, which started spreading like rapid fire shortly after its release. But what does “Beat the Koto Nai” mean?

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“Beat the Koto Nai” could mean many different things.

The part of Certified Trapper’s song that went viral says, “Beat the Koto Nai,” on repeat. “Koto Nai” is a phrase that comes from Japanese meaning someone has “never done something” or something that has “never happened” or something that “doesn’t exist,” according to Japanese with Anime.

In the song’s context, this could have a whole bunch of different meanings, such as to beat the fear of never having done something or never existing. But TikTokers also have their own theories about what “Beat the Koto Nai” means. TikToker Melly Mike suggests that it’s a little less literal and that in the case of the song, “koto nai” means “without possibility.”

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He thinks the idea of beating no possibilities could just be a fun way of saying “no worries,” and that in fact, the song’s next lyrics (which are very explicit) signal that the phrase means “Don’t worry, make love.” This could make sense, although it’s also possible that the lyrics simply encourage listeners to just have fun. Why care about something that doesn’t exist?

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It’s so easy to get bogged down in the anxieties of everyday life, worrying about what people think about us or what we’re going to do or who we’re going to date. But in the end, whatever will happen will happen, so why worry about the things that will never happen and the people we’ll never meet? That’s what the viral verse means to us.

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A trend with “Beat the Koto Nai” leaves TikTokers split on if they like it or not.

The “Beat the Koto Nai” trend began with a dance performed by staff at Haidilo hot pot restaurants in Hong Kong called the “Subject Three” dance. The dance features three people moving their knees and arms as a promotional tactic. Some TikTokers called this “tacky” but others took the trend and ran with it, editing their pets to do the same dance.

As more videos of people’s pets creepily edited to do the “Subject Three” dance popped up with the “Beat the Koto Nai” sound, a new trend followed as people captioned their videos, “The party ended X hours ago but he’s still here,” referencing a 2023 meme of a man dancing erratically. Apparently, beating the koto nai elicits memories of erratic dancing, and if that’s not dancing without fear, we don’t know what is.

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