Recently, performing primates have made a big comeback in Japanese show business, thanks mainly to the Nikko Saru Gundan (Nikko Monkey Army), and the human/monkey comedy team Taro-Jiro. Both acts are the latest additions to the traditional Japanese performance art known as saru-tsukai, which almost died out in the latter part of the 20th century.
Saru-tsukai normally uses Japanese macaques, but Momo-chan, a trained performing chimpanzee, is also A superstar. Momo-chan, who hails from Nasu, in Tochigi Prefecture (where the Nikko Saru Gundan also lives), seems to have it better than her toiling macaque cousins. She is allowed to walk about freely without a leash.
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