What's with all the water?
June 20, 2007 12:32 PM   Subscribe

Many Japanese game shows involve water humiliation.
posted by Dave Faris (43 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Clip 1 : Contestants must run against a fast moving treadmill and eat 4 things as well as reach the goal within a set time, or be dumped into a pool.

Clip 2 : Guests who answer questions in a minority get slammed against the ground and soaked with water.

Clip 3 : Contestants must conform to unusual shapes cut out in a moving wall or be dumped in water.

Clip 4 : Contestant must get into a tub of hot water in order to get a girl to jiggle her breasts.

Clip 5 : A contestant is tasked with drinking a large quantity of water as fast as he can.

Clip 6 : Contestants must navigate a difficult obsticle course or be dumped into water. (Ninja Warrior)

Clip 7 : Contestants must complete different challenges of skill or be dumped into water.
posted by Dave Faris at 12:32 PM on June 20, 2007


Could be worse.
posted by SBMike at 12:41 PM on June 20, 2007


I'm not so sure if it is humiliation rather than an incentive not to fail.

Slapstick/silly buggers humour is more popular in Japan than in say, the US or Canada (Neither Jackass nor America's Funniest Home Videos count as slapstick).

Clip 4 is pretty sadistic, and is basically a follow-up to a mid-90s Sunday afternoon show called "Super Jockey," where contestants had to submerge themselves for as long as possible in a tank of extremely hot water.

But most of the examples here (except for Viking and SASUKE) are one-offs - the hot water one is a New Year's Special. There aren't as many sadistic/misogynistic programs on Japanese tv as there used to be back in the 90s.

Then again, I have lived on and off for the past 13 years in a rural part of Japan with basic cable. Perhaps people living in Tokyo or other areas with better cable know something I don't.

But tv has cleaned up a lot, IMHO.

If you want an example of intelligent Japanese comedy, check out Miracle Type. Sunday prime time has some pretty excellent programs, too.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:54 PM on June 20, 2007


Yeah, could be a lot worse.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:56 PM on June 20, 2007


Sorry, Miracle Type is here.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:56 PM on June 20, 2007


Maybe it's a substitute for bukkake?
posted by davy at 12:57 PM on June 20, 2007


Davy, really, was it actually necessary to go there?
posted by miss lynnster at 1:00 PM on June 20, 2007


Now, our game shows are a little different from yours. Your shows reward knowledge; we punish ignorance.
posted by gottabefunky at 1:01 PM on June 20, 2007


I'm not so sure if it is humiliation rather than an incentive not to fail.

In America, your game shows reward knowledge. In Japan, we punish ignorance...

(Sorry, no clip, YouTube blocked at work, but that comment was almost exactly the line when the Simpsons went on a Japanese humiliation show in the Japan episode.)
posted by Sangermaine at 1:08 PM on June 20, 2007


It's an island nation. What did you expect? Sand?
posted by psmealey at 1:10 PM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


These pretzels are making me thirsty.
posted by tadellin at 1:13 PM on June 20, 2007


Ye gods that's a small bikini.
posted by Skorgu at 1:20 PM on June 20, 2007


OH SWEET JESUS I LOVE JAPANESE TV. Thank you, Dave Faris.

In related news, human tetris.
posted by spec80 at 1:21 PM on June 20, 2007


tadellin: those aren't pretzels.
posted by boo_radley at 1:28 PM on June 20, 2007


I've actually done a crazy amount of thinking on why asian gameshows are the way they are.

I love watching game shows in other countries and I was watching the Singaporean version of the $100,000 pyramid about a decade ago & it blew my mind. Their culture is very focused on the group instead of the individual, and so the drive to be the best wasn't at all present. People would get one answer right out of five and spend the rest of the time going, "Uhhh uhhh." and looking around at the other people instead of moving onto the next question or making wrong guesses. I was screaming at the screen. The winner wasn't GOOD, the winner just sucked less than the other contestants.

In the beginning of the show, they did the same kind of thing we do here to introduce the contestants. Only they didn't ever want to brag about themselves so they would use really strange statement to describe themselves. I remember there was this one woman, I'll call her Jill... and instead of saying she was a lawyer with two great children & a wonderful husband or something, they said, "This is Jill. Jill likes to dream. I see that you like to dream, Jill. What do you like to dream about?" And then they cut to Jill & she looked down sheepishly and said, "Ohhh, nothing that is very important and nothing that will ever happen." (That is an exact quote. I wrote it in my travel journal about two seconds later.)

So what I've figured is that the reason they do all of these punishment shows like the library game & stuff is because the whole point is trying NOT to stand out. If you are the star of the show, you are actually the loser. And in our culture, to stand out means that you are better than everyone.

YMMV. Just my thoughts.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:31 PM on June 20, 2007 [5 favorites]


*smacks head* I really need to click on ALL the links before I post any links in comments. I got too excited.
posted by spec80 at 1:48 PM on June 20, 2007


"[...]Maybe it's just that the water's made of tears"
posted by pantsrobot at 1:54 PM on June 20, 2007


A lot of these humiliation-oriented Japanese game shows aren't really game shows. The contestants are celebrities, in fact, you see the same celebrities time after time. In that respect, it's sort of like Celebrity Jeopardy—except with no Regular-folks Jeopardy alternative.
posted by adamrice at 2:08 PM on June 20, 2007


"Many Japane-"

"BUKKAKE!!"
posted by Drexen at 2:25 PM on June 20, 2007 [3 favorites]


Clip 8: I think this show is called "The woman with massive tits, in a bikini, riding in a limo, talking with the driver about her massive tits game".

I don't understand the scoring system.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:40 PM on June 20, 2007


Is that Choi Hong-man in the human tetris video? Also, I think that was Bobby Ologun in the treadmill video but I'm not sure.
posted by puke & cry at 2:54 PM on June 20, 2007


Silent Library with Ernesto Hoost. No water humiliation/torture, but it does have "bad smell" and "slapping machine" which should more than make up for it.
posted by hypocritical ross at 3:22 PM on June 20, 2007


"Many Japanese game shows involve water humiliation.."

Water is incapable of being humiliated.

"If you are the star of the show, you are actually the loser. And in our culture, to stand out means that you are better than everyone."

Actually, in America to stand out means one thinks one is better than everyone. One still gets mowed down by societal pressures, peer reaction and environmental randomness.

I think the commonality of both cultures is that audiences like to watch complete and utter goobers fall down. This is because they invariably get back up again, only to fall down, get back up, fall down, get back up, and then fall down, with the occasional getting back up. Then there's the falling down part. That's often funnier, but not quite as funny as the falling down part, unless you compare it to the getting back up part cuz that's a real hoot. Occasionally, we like to watch them fall down again, because if you watch carefully, eventually they'll get back up, and that's when they usually fall back down again - which is hilarious!
posted by ZachsMind at 3:35 PM on June 20, 2007


Oh. Did I mention they sometimes get back up? That's funny too, but only if you know what'll happen next.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:37 PM on June 20, 2007


It doesn't feature water, but whenever I think of a bizarre Japanese game show, my thoughts instantly snap to this.

I don't know why. Perhaps it's the idea of a dozen cute women with meat strapped to their foreheads, being confronted by a scared monitor lizard. It just sticks out in my mind.
posted by quin at 3:45 PM on June 20, 2007 [2 favorites]


Water is incapable of being humiliated.

You're not trying hard enough.
posted by quin at 3:46 PM on June 20, 2007


I don't understand the scoring system.

First base is a smooch...
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:55 PM on June 20, 2007


I don't understand the scoring system.

It's easy. Everybody wins.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:09 PM on June 20, 2007


If you are the star of the show, you are actually the loser. And in our culture, to stand out means that you are better than everyone.

Then the Ninja Warrior / Sakura and the Viking gameshows are atypical? (Clips 6and 7.)

Your hypothesis sure does seem to be correct with regard to clip 2.
posted by Dave Faris at 5:27 PM on June 20, 2007


Did anyone see the article about the Japanese guy who lost fingers from frostbite after an endurance challenge where he had to carry a frozen fish for a long time? I'm hoping that was a figment of my imagination.

Sadly, I think the subtext of the water in the face clips at least is what davy suggested, as it may have been in this Japanese xbox commercial scroll down.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:36 PM on June 20, 2007


WHAT IN THE HELL ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT???
posted by ZachsMind at 6:27 PM on June 20, 2007


So I'm a straight woman, and after that Japanese xbox commercial, now I want to touch her breasts, too. Is that wrong?
posted by misha at 6:52 PM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


falling into flour: here
posted by tehloki at 7:15 PM on June 20, 2007


The Silent Library one gets me every time. Very funny :)
posted by gen at 8:57 PM on June 20, 2007


misha : now I want to touch her breasts, too. Is that wrong?

That is a value judgment that I don't think anyone here is prepared to make. At least not without more specific details. Why don't you describe, and feel free to be as graphic as you need, exactly what you would do with her breasts.

Only then can we tell you if what you desire is to be forbidden and/ or wrong.

:)
posted by quin at 9:23 PM on June 20, 2007


The scariest part for me is trying to figure out how many goofy japanese game show clips Dave had to view to come up with this post...
To think I thought the guy that edited all those fishing shows had it bad.
posted by bidrattler at 11:15 PM on June 20, 2007


I watched #4 and I still don't get the exact mechanism that's supposed to make her breasts jiggle. Apparently it has something to do with the thing she's sitting on and square things in her bikini?
posted by Many bubbles at 11:40 PM on June 20, 2007


When miss lynnster says: "If you are the star of the show, you are actually the loser.", it makes so much sense. While the net effect is the same, I still gotta ask if this is really a game show or if it's just slapstick(?). A lot of these "challenges", like the treadmill, just aren't designed to be possible. It's not like they are winning, just enduring a bunch of abuse.

What do these 'contestants' earn, anyway?
posted by a_green_man at 12:22 AM on June 21, 2007


I think I once saw that if you make it all the way through to the end of the Ninja Warrior course, (all three exceptionally difficult levels, plus the tower at the end) you get 2 million yen (or $17k US.)
posted by Dave Faris at 4:06 AM on June 21, 2007


a_green_man, you saw the part where the guy won the treadmill challenge right?
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:25 AM on June 21, 2007


Didn't we have a game show in the U.S. that basically used water obstacles as an excuse for the contestants to be in swimsuits most of the show? Dog Eat Dog or something like that?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:47 AM on June 21, 2007


Yes we had Dog Eat Dog, and it was baaaad.

I don't think it's legally possible to make a reality show in America the way they do in Japan. The closest we can get is Fear Factor, which I must admit a guilty pleasure in watching, but it's nowhere near anything in the FPP's links.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2007


G4TV has just started accepting applications to send one lucky viewer to compete in the next Ninja Warrior event in Japan.
posted by Dave Faris at 2:09 PM on July 2, 2007


« Older The X Finger...  |  On the heal of her husbands fa... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments