Harlem Shake meme hits Japan bathhouse and shrine

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Participants in costumes dance at a Japanese public bath in Tokyo as people perform the Internet dance craze “Harlem Shake”. AFP PHOTO

TOKYO—Japanese exhibitionists took the Harlem Shake into a bathhouse and a centuries old shrine on Sunday as they brought the YouTube phenomenon to Tokyo.

Even as the meme appeared to be all but played out elsewhere on the Internet, dozens of people came to show off their gyrating and humping.

Following the familiar format, several men — all covering their modesty — are seen scrubbing themselves in a traditional communal bathhouse, ignoring the man with a loincloth who emerges from the water to perform solo.

Suddenly the music kicks in and — with a simple edit — the entire room is wearing outlandish costumes and grinding in time to the beat.

The group of men and women then moved on to repeat the exercise at Akasaka Hikawa Jinja, a Shinto sanctuary in the Japanese capital.

“This is a phenomenon that is going viral abroad, and we wanted to show what we in Japan can offer,” said Keisuke Tanaka, 24, a businessman who helped organise the filming.

“We got a good group of attention seekers. I think we are in the groove. We are gunning for 10 million views,” said Tanaka, adding that the group hoped to upload the video within a week.

The Harlem Shake meme has been one of the biggest crazes to sweep the Internet this year, with the original low- or no-budget videos uploaded in their thousands by all demographics around the world.

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