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Comic Duo Wins Popularity Overseas (November 27, 2006)

Gamarjobat in action (Nelke Planning Co.,Ltd.)
A pair of Japanese comic performers known as Gamarjobat is currently winning fans all over the world. While still relatively unknown in Japan, they often perform overseas to rave reviews and have even won awards at arts festivals in Britain and other countries.

Performance Without Words
"Gamarjobat" means "hello" in Kartuli, the language of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. The duo was formed in 1999, bringing together the solo pantomime known as HIRO-PON and the street performer Ketch!. Together, the two gave birth to an innovative kind of silent comedy. Working mainly in theaters and on the street, Gamarjobat quickly received acclaim in Europe for their humorous performances, which transcend language, culture, borders, and ethnicity.

The pair are popular overseas (Nelke Planning Co.,Ltd.)

The pair has been winning accolades and prizes in Britain for three straight years now, including the Double Act Award at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest theater festival in the world. One reviewer called their performance "playground goofing transformed into ingenious stage trickery . . . dazzlingly funny," while another praised it as, "irresistibly, endearingly funny and undoubtedly the most skilled and clever comedy in Edinburgh."

Gamarjobat has become a sought-after act, being invited to more than 150 festivals in some 21 countries so far. In 2006, they performed in such places as Britain, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Strange Appearance, Wholesome Laughter
Appearing onstage in their trademark dark suits and red and yellow Mohawks, Hiropon and Ketch! rely on their bodies and facial expressions, with a bit of pantomime mixed in. They never go for cheap laughs or insult the audience. They are not as shocking as their appearance would suggest, and their sense of humor could best be described as "refined." Nevertheless, they have succeeded in capturing the hearts and tickling the funny bones of audiences ranging from kids to the elderly.

Performing with a trunk (Nelke Planning Co.,Ltd.)

In the wake of their overseas exploits, Gamarjobat is gradually receiving acclaim in Japan, as well. In 2002, the duo was authorized by Tokyo Heaven Artist, a program instituted by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that allows for performances in parks, subway stations, and other public places, and in 2004 they won the Art Daidogei (street performance) Grand Prix.

In an online interview, the two explained: "We often take things from everyday life and remove them in a humorous way, so this is something anyone can enjoy. This is the kind of pantomime we are aiming for, and this is its appeal. We want the audience to be amazed at how interesting a performance can be, even though there are no words."

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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