Yamaha is asking customers to not climb into its music cases as a viral phenomenon, "the Ghosn escape challenge," is gaining popularity throughout Japan.
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The so-called challenge is an attempt to mimic the way former Nissan chairman and fugitive, Carlos Ghosn, reportedly escaped Japan last month despite being under surveillance.
Ghosn, 65, allegedly fled the country with a modified Yamaha audio-equipment case, according to The Wall Street Journal. The publication said Ghosn had holes drilled into the bottom so the businessman could breathe while the container was shipped onto a private plane to Lebanon on Dec. 29.
After a full week of several viral posts, Yamaha finally acknowledged the phenomenon and warned its customers against stowing away in a music case.
"We will not mention the reason, but many tweets have been scattered about stories of people entering large instrument cases," the company wrote on its official Twitter account Saturday, which purposely left out the viral challenge’s name.
The tweet continued to explain that Yamaha is making this public service announcement to prevent any unfortunate accidents before it’s too late.
In a follow-up tweet, Yamaha wrote, "Musical instrument and audio equipment cases are designed to hold musical instruments and audio equipment. Please use them correctly."
Carole Ghosn, the wife of the former executive, told Reuters that the WSJ’s report was a work of fiction, but that hasn’t stopped Japanese nationals from attempting the feat for social media laughs.
Three days after the report, journalist Hisanori Yoshida tried to squeeze into a much-too-small music case for a TikTok video, which was later shared on Twitter. The hashtag used for the post translates to #CarlosGhosnChallenge.
Similarly, radio and television commentators jumped on the trend. Twitter user Ikichan shared a photo of entertainment journalist Masaki Omura nestled inside a black music case during a TV segment.
In the post, Ikichan wrote that even if they had an air hole installed, they would go mad having to endure the long flight to Lebanon from inside the case. And with flight times from Osaka to Istanbul ranging between 16 and 21 hours, it’s not hard to believe that that assumption may be a valid concern.
People weren’t stopping at cube-shaped containers either. One writer and illustrator shared a series of photos of a man’s attempt to fit into a double bass case. In a tweet, the user compared the stunt to a sleeping bag.
Ghosn was on house arrest and under surveillance in Japan for almost eight months before his big escape. He is accused of engaging in financial misconduct during his tenure as chairman and CEO of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance.