China has adopted a jazz song from 1989 as its national anthem for going home. “Going Home” by American saxophone star Kenny G is played all over China as the cue for the time to go home. The song is played in shopping malls, schools, train stations, gyms and library’s as well as many other places across the country.
However the composer of the song, Kenny G, doesn’t receive a penny for the widespread use of his song in China. He doesn’t understand or question the popularity of the song, when touring in China in the 1990’s he heard the song playing in Tiananmen Square, in Shanghai, on a golf course and “in a restroom in the middle of nowhere,”. He has since performed in China many times and always has to make sure he plays “Going Home” last in his set to make sure people don’t accidentally leave early.
Listen to the song here:
The Chinese themselves do not seem to understand where the phenomenon of playing “Going Home” to encourage people to leave came from or why everyone plays it. A gym owner in Beijing who plays the song every evening on a loop for half an hour before the gym closes is quoted as not knowing who wrote the song but “All I know is when they play this song, it’s quitting time,” he said.
Other examples of its use are at the end of wedding, banquets, markets and one person who works in finance reported he works much faster when the song comes on as its nearly time to finish working.