一発屋 (いっぱつや, ippatsu ya) means a “one-hit wonder”, a person who becomes popular only for a short period of time and then returns to obscurity. It is usually used to describe comedians/celebrities, but can be also used for singers, writers, or athletes with only one great hit/success in their carrier. For instance, ピコ太郎 (Piko Taro), a Japanese comedian who sparked a global craze with his viral video “PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen)”, is one of the best examples of 一発屋.
This word is composed of a word “一発” with a suffix “屋” attached. The first word means “one shot”, and “屋” is used to describe things/people that are specialised in something. For instance, “ラーメン屋” means “a ramen restaurant”, “着物屋” means “a shop that sells 着物 (kimono)”, and “予想屋” means a tipster where 予想 means “prediction”.
Most people believed that comedian would become 一発屋 (one-hit wonder) soon, but still he often appears on TV shows.
There are a lot of 一発屋 singers (one-hit wonders) who have only one hit song.
Synonyms in English: one-hit wonder
Related words and phrases: None