Comedy

The Weirdest Japanese Game Shows: Bottomless Pits, Boobs & Mummification

Japan is known far and wide for their game shows. Their game shows are strange, off-the-wall, and at times a bit brutal, but always hilarious and entertaining. The cult of Japanese game shows has come to our shores as well as many other countries. Such shows like Silent Library and Hole In The Wall are basically English ports of the same exact Japanese game. Japanese game shows have also been spoofed by The Simpsons. Not to mention that ABC also has a television show anchored entirely around “surviving” a Japanese game show.

Regularly the contestants on these game shows in Japan are what we would call “B-list celebrities” commonly dressed up in gag costumes and forced to do something horribly embarrassing. Get ready to get weird.

Gaki no Tsukai

This first clip comes from the game show entitled Gaki no Tsukai (translates: “This is no task for kids!”). Tsukai is THE Japanese game show. It has run since 1989 and in 2010 the show celebrated it’s 1,000th episode. Those numbers are pretty unreal. One of the most popular segments of Tsukai is the Batsu Game (“Punishment Game”) involves the hosts partaking in a weekend-long game where they cannot laugh or else they are punished. They are constantly bombarded with over-the-top pranks in an attempt to get them to laugh. Below is one such example. Notice that they are all wearing absurd nurse uniforms as well.

Another popular segment on Gaki no Tsukai is called “Wall of Boxes” where the contestants sit upon, you guessed it, a wall of boxes. They must then pick numbers that have random actions assigned to them which then come out and attack their wall of boxes. Last wall of boxes standing wins. In true Japanese fashion, what comes out to attack their boxes is absurd and hilarious.


DERO!

This clip comes from the game show called DERO! DERO! applies ridiculous pressure to the contestants in the form of a life-threatening situation. Retracting planks above a bottomless pit, a room filling up with water, etc. Contestants are thrown into these situations and then asked to solve puzzles and answer questions while under the stressful pressure. Fun times, eh? Below is an example of one such segment.

Some contestants can’t even get started and lose out quite quickly…

Here is a clip from a segment of DERO! also described above where contestants must unlock puzzles in a room that is rapidly filling up with water.


TORE!

This is another strange Japanese game show called TORE! where contestants must fill out 7 answers about a topic all the while they’re being mummified alive. Pretty funny stuff, unless you’re even slightly claustrophobic!


TEAM FIGHT!

This next clip comes from the game show TEAM FIGHT! In this clip, members of a Japanese rock band are challenged to a game of dodgeball against the TEAM FIGHT! squad. Except it’s not your grandma’s game of dodgeball. Contestants can expect to dodge vacuum cleaners, gymnasts, bowling balls, and dodgeballs traveling well over 100 MPH.


Strip The Girl

The last clip is the most WTF worthy and definitely the strangest. The name of it roughly translates to “Strip The Girl” where contestants try to knock out boxes that block the woman’s naked body. Obviously NSFW so watch at your own discretion.

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2 comments

  1. According to the dictionary-definition of “game show,” contestants have to be competing for some kind of prize. With the exception of “TORE!” (of which, the mummification segment is only a small part), none of these are game shows. These are all segments of talk and/or variety shows (and in some cases, New Years Specials) in which famous Japanese TV personalities (not “average” people, whom you’ll never see on TV with the exception of “man on the street” interviews on the news) are made to play silly games, not for prizes or money, but just for fun. It’s more comparable to the games guests play on the Ellen show, etc. Almost every show on Japanese TV is centered around the theme of “we famous people can make fools of ourselves because “they are better human beings, and make more money, than you average viewers…” Sadly, a large portion of viewers agree that TV personalities are better people; when I’ve asked my Japanese friends and in-laws why people feel this way, I’ve always received the same answer from those who did not disagree: “they must be better people, that’s why they are on TV.”

    Regarding one of the above shows of which I’ve never heard: “Strip the Girl,” is not an accurate translation of the title, which is closer to “Struck-Out in the Shower.” Further, this is the title of the activity, not the show. Having never seen it, I can’t be sure, but it feels like it might be part of a porno movie made to look like a TV show (not entirely uncommon); you see similar clips all over YouTube. Whether “game show” or not, you don’t see this sexual or risqué type of content on TV. People need to realize, there are only 7 channels in Japan so there is no content difference between “network” and “cable” TV as we see in the US, and content generally has to be kept in the “PG: range. While I’m on the topic, some people may be interested to know that most “anime” is never shown on TV, but available only on video or DVD.

    I lived in Japan for 9 years, speak fluent Japanese, and have watched a lot of television. In all of my experience, TORE! is the only “game show” I’ve ever seen or of which I’ve ever heard.

    Open letter to the Internet:
    Dear Internet, Stop calling everything that comes from Japanese television a “game show.” You sound like uneducated, prejudiced, presumptuous goons capable only of memorization/regurgitation and not of independent thought. Please fact-check before posting, people!!!
    >>> Keep searching! There are plenty of hilarious Japanese TV shows to enjoy, just don’t call them “game shows,” and DON’T TRANSLATE (the more you understand it, the harder it is to watch about 70% of Japanese TV; unless you are already racist, homophobic, sexist, ignorant, or all of the above)
    >>> Anime Fans: Remember that more than 1/2 of the anime you so well enjoy has never been seen by mentally-stable Japanese viewers. (and at least 3/4 was not, and never will be, shown on TV)
    Very few people in Japan are as obsessed with anime as those in the US; and, before I step off of my soapbox, I’d like to add: “Sushi” means “vinegar-rice” not “raw fish;” there are more varieties of sushi in which all ingredients are cooked than there are in which any ingredients are raw. Further, it’s generally only eaten on special occasions, not every day (or even once a week, etc.), and the ginger is to cleanse your pallet between bites, not for putting-on (and hence, ruining) the sushi itself.

    Sorry, I got off-topic there… I have several more pet-peeves regarding misconceptions about Japan, but I’ll cut myself off now. This post is wordy enough as it is (thanks for reading, though!).