Well-traveled Harlem Shake hits the bathhouse, shrine in Tokyo

AFP-JIJI

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 answered the call for participants.

Along the lines of the the familiar format, several men are seen scrubbing themselves in a traditional communal bathhouse, ignoring the man who emerges with a loincloth 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 shrine in northeast Tokyo.

“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 organize the filming.

“We got a good group of attention-seekers. I think we are in the groove. We are shooting 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.