Japanese comedy troupe specializes in shock

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Japanese comedy troupe specializes in shock

Cutting a cactus with their naked buttocks. Drinking milk and having it gush out from the eyes. Exploding a firecracker in the mouth. Those are only some of the stunts pulled by the Tokyo Shock Boys, who opened in Seoul yesterday. Their show runs until Sunday.
Promoted as a “very dangerous,” “super-powerful comedy troupe,” the Tokyo Shock Boys enjoy a reputation for pursuing things that go beyond the average person’s imagination.
For the audience’s convenience, Japanese and English phrases used during the performance are kept simple. Then again, you don’t need much explanation when someone is putting a live scorpion in his mouth. No wonder the show is open to adults only.
For their 90-minute performance in Seoul, the Tokyo Shock Boys will start with a normal Japanese traditional drum performance. The foursome will then start to raise eyebrows, as Gyuzo pops a firecracker in his mouth.
The others are no slouches either in giving a performance that can only be described as kinky. Danna Koyauagi is famous as the man with milky tears (his specialties also include putting his hand into a mousetrap).
Nambu Torata specializes in soaking his face in a large bowl of boiling paraffin. Perhaps the most normal guy is Sango Jyugo, who stays busy explaining to the audience what’s happening to the other members.
Together, the boys boast more than 100 special skills, according to the show’s organizers, who take pains to emphasize that everything is 100-percent real.
And they’re doing their bit to support the local economy. For example, the cactus in the performance, which will be broken to pieces by a partially unclothed Gyuzo, will be provided by a flower shop near Dom Art Hall in Neung-dong.
The troupe has performed in 36 countries so far, in many cases selling out their shows. In 1997, they performed off-Broadway in New York, and at the Fuji Rock Festival in 2003. The boys hadn’t visited Korea until now because Korea’s Media Ratings Board had blocked their performance until earlier this year, when the ban on Japanese pop culture was largely lifted.
Believe it or not, the strength of the Tokyo Shock Boys lies in their ability to make a comedy out of a kinky performance, organizers say. The only way to find out is to fasten your seat belt and check it out with your own two eyes.

by Chun Su-jin

Dom Art Hall in Children’s Park in Neung-dong, northern Seoul, is best reached by taking subway line No. 7 to Children’s Park station, exit 1. Performances start at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and at 6 p.m. on weekends. Ticket prices run from 40,000 won ($33) to 60,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3437-2002 or visit the troupe’s Korean Web site at www.t-shock.co.kr.
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