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Right next to Tokyo’s Shibiya Station, there’s a plaza that sits between the railway hub, the statue of faithful dog Hachiko that’s one of the city’s most popular meeting spots, and the Scramble Intersection that’s become famous as one of the busiest crosswalks in the world. While empty space in the plaza is scarce, it’s still a coveted spot for street performers, vendors, and politicians to stake out a spot, since there’s a steady flow of people passing by more or less around the clock.

Often, you’ll find people with those “free hugs” signs hanging out there, but really, when you stop and think about it, isn’t it kind of weird to embrace a complete stranger? Maybe that’s why a Tokyo-based comedy troupe decided to offer an alternative in this video where they’re not giving out hugs, but instead allowing anyone who feels like it to slap them in the face as hard as they can.

In their self-introduction to their YouTube channel, newly formed Guts and Death announces “We’ll be posting stupid videos, stupid videos, stupid videos, and stupid videos…with our music.” They’re off to a good start, as in their very first feature, they’re stationed outside Shibuya Station with handmade signs offering “Free binta.”

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What’s binta? Simple: the Japanese word for a slap. We’re not sure what the market price is for the privilege of smacking a dude across the mouth these days, but we imagine it has to be at least slightly above absolutely nothing, so the guys from Guts and Death are mixing a pretty hefty shot of generosity into their insanity cocktail.

▼ The first thing you’ll hear is the stinging register of palm on cheek, and then the entirely appropriate color commentary of “Oh, shit!”

Early on, it looks like it’s mainly ladies who’re willing to take Guts and Death up on their offer, perhaps channeling their anger at a cheating ex or chauvinistic boss into their strikes.

▼ The best things in life are free…and apparently violent.

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As the video goes on, though, we see quite a number of guys who don’t mind knuckle sandwich having beem taken off the menu and are just as happy to give the fledgling comedians a palm pancake.

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Even curious foreign passersby get caught up in the infectious feeling of slap happiness, although some of them have to be cajoled into unleashing more of their strength after giving what amount to little more than love taps on their first swings.

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We’re not sure if Guts and Death’s pathological pursuit of comedy means they spend so much time laughing they’ve developed rock-hard, slap-resistant check muscles, but they seem to take the punishment in stride, with one even commenting that “I feel like this is fixing the imbalance in my facial features.”

▼ Although this looks like it’s carrying enough force to knock things out of whack in the other direction.

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We have to stress, though, that free slaps, just like government-subsidized noogies and scholarships for studies in the pancreas punching arts and sciences, aren’t really a thing in Japan. Offering to let random people smack you in the face is a quick and easy way to get attention for your new comedy venture, but it’s just as weird here as it is in any other country…just like it’s weird that Guts and Death managed to find this many people willing to take them up on their unusual offer.

▼ This girl seems almost eerily delighted at her newly discovered capability to inflict physical pain on a human being.

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That said, there are really only three types of people who have much experience slapping someone: soap opera stars, 16th century rapier duelists, and psychiatrists with a woefully outdated concept of how to treat mental illness. Considering how few of those you’re likely to encounter hanging out on the corner in Shibuya, it’s probably safe to say that at least a few of the participants didn’t really know how much power their slaps would pack, and may have wound up hitting the Guts and Death crew harder than they intended.

▼ This guy, for example, seems sort of rattled about what he’s just done.

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Still, after they get done using them like ice packs, Guts and Death might want to down those chilled cans of Asahi Beer to help cope with finding out how many people in the world just found themselves thinking “Slap a stranger in the face? And for free? What a deal!

Source: Jin
Images: YouTube/Guts and Death