Nasubi entered a contest..
June 14, 2001 5:08 PM   Subscribe

Nasubi entered a contest.. A contest that required luck... It soon dawned on Nasubi just what type of luck he had needed to win.
posted by Kino (22 comments total)
quite apalling. this is just plain wrong if it's true.
posted by physics at 6:03 PM on June 14, 2001

Incredible and sad. We're probably only five years away from The Running Man.
posted by iscavenger at 6:51 PM on June 14, 2001

You really give it five whole years? What with Boot Camp, Fear Factor, Survivor, Big Brother, and all of that other crap?

I give it three, at most.
posted by toddshot at 7:01 PM on June 14, 2001

Incredible and sad. We're probably only five years away from The Running Man.

Try five months...
posted by dchase at 7:20 PM on June 14, 2001

Am I stating the obvious when I say that this can't possibly be true?
posted by Doug at 7:45 PM on June 14, 2001

I don't watch much TV, but when I first heard of the above show I wanted to get a satelite dish and pick up some of those crazy Japanese TV shows. Some of there are pretty ingenious. I would definately watch them.

The bottom line is the guy auditioned for this. The thing that bothers me the most is that he couldn't be more compensated for his troubles. (Japanese govt reguations limit prices and such, afaik.)
posted by Witold at 7:54 PM on June 14, 2001

I dunno, this page looks legit. (Running it through babelfish is COMEDY GOLD, btw.)

I wonder if a US production company has already optioned this...
posted by darukaru at 7:56 PM on June 14, 2001

The bottom line is the guy auditioned for this.

The way I read it, he knew only that he was auditioning for a show-business job. He did not know he was auditoning to be stripped naked and locked in an empty apartment and would be expected to survive only on things he could win in contests until he won $10,000. He did not know his ordeal would be televised.

Now, you could say he's an idiot for audiitioning for something without knowing all the details, but surely no one could have expected that.

Assuming, of course, it's true. If he was in on it all along, then any objections anyone might have to the way he was treated go away.
posted by kindall at 8:41 PM on June 14, 2001

If you can lock a person in a house (without food) for weeks and months, I am just forced to wonder what is illegal in Japan.
posted by Doug at 8:46 PM on June 14, 2001

I weep for the future of humanity. I don't know what's more depressing: The fact that this asshole went without food for two weeks in order to fulfill the requirements of an undefined "showbusiness job", or the fact that the assholes in the audience gleefully reveled in his suffering.

I think that everyone involved with the success of that show, from the producers, to the "star", to the audience, should be repeatedly pimp-slapped, most rikki-tick.
posted by Optamystic at 11:06 PM on June 14, 2001

Wait- why didn't he ever leave? I mean, going to the audition he couldn't know what he was in for, but at a certain point it should have been pretty freakin' obvious he wasn't at a normal audition. Was he locked in? It sounds like there were times when people showed up to deliver things- did he make a break for it? Makes me question how "real" it was...

But if it is true, it's positively evil. The guy must have been starving; 70 pounds of rice, and jelly and ice cream are nearly impossible to survive on for months and months (and wouldn't even one person have a "contest" rigged for him to win, to end the show? Like, say, a competing network?). At the end, it sounds like he isn't compensated, while NTV presumably made millions; did he even get any money from sales of his diary!?!

If something like this was tried in the US- not the gimmick but the apparent kidnapping of the contestest (at least Survivor and Boot Camp et al are voluntary)- not only would the show NOT be popular, the lawsuit against the network would [hopefully] put it out of business. Geez, if a guy get's $3 billion for smoking, what do you get for being kidnapped, held hostage, tortured, and humiliated publicly?
posted by hincandenza at 11:45 PM on June 14, 2001

But this is Japan.
posted by Grangousier at 12:41 AM on June 15, 2001

I read about this a while ago, but I don't remember it seeming as implausible as the way it was presented here. I agreed with hincandenza that it seems to be totally glossed over as to why he would have just blindly accepted the fact that he had to stay in a room naked for so long, doing something as absurd as living via contests. Is Japanese pop culture that divorced from North American pop culture that I fail to understand his reaction (i.e. to stay put and do as he was told?)

My other thought is that I'm somewhat doubtful he didn't know it was for television; there's that one photo on that page where he looks directly into the camera--what's that about? Dancing around and celebrating each gift, though. Perhaps he was insane to begin with? Who names themselves Eggplant?
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 3:18 AM on June 15, 2001

the only "appalling" thing about this article is the sensationalist spin the writer's put on it.

a few things to consider:

1) He was a professional actor with a career that was going downhil. He made a LOT of money, and became very famous as a result of the show.

2) he KNEW what he was auditioning for. Maybe not all the specifics, but he knew he was auditioning for something that would last a long time and would be extremely humiliating.

3) it's like survivor. it might have some parts that are "reality" everyone knew that it wasn't completely real.

I'll now direct you to everyone's favorite soon-t-be-gone-cause-the-parent-company-went-belly-up community weblog,, where you'll find this thread discussing the same story. look for the comments by "kazamatsuri" for a little more sane description of the show.
posted by chrisege at 5:40 AM on June 15, 2001

I only wish they'd do this with the more whinny kids on The Real World.
posted by dong_resin at 7:35 AM on June 15, 2001

chrisege, thanks for the link... this quote from kazamatsuri definitely clears it up:
All of these sound amazing, but they are all examples of what is called "yarase" in Japanese, or "faking it" or a "set-up". Do you think that guy could REALLY live in a tiny apartment with nothing and not know he was on TV? It was so obviously a set up...he would dance naked conveniently in front of the camera, for everyone to see. Or he would walk up to the mirror the camera was hidden behind and say funny things right into the camera.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 8:15 AM on June 15, 2001

Who names themselves Eggplant?

I dunno... who names themselves Carrot Top?
posted by kindall at 9:04 AM on June 15, 2001

Dammit, Kindall, I was just about to post that very same question. Beat me to the punch, you did.

In any case, I agree with the presumption that eventually, Eggplant knew exactly what was going on, and he's more than happy with the notoriety he's gained since the show ended, so all's well that ends well. At least in this case.
posted by Dreama at 9:07 AM on June 15, 2001

kindall: I'm sure that the guy could've quit at any point. It's not like they kept him there under lock and key.

Additionally, he should've known that Japanese TV reality shows feature some interesting challenges/scenarios. What the hell did he expect?
posted by Witold at 12:14 PM on June 15, 2001

I'm surprised none of you have seen the show. It is called Dempa Shonen, and their segments have contestants do all kinds of nutty stuff, including hitchhiking from Japan to Norway.

Nasubi was the show's crown jewel, because Nasubi turned out to be a very funny guy after being naked and isolated for weeks. The amazing joy that he expressed when he won things like rice and mushrooms make all his suffering worth watching. And, watching him try on the ladies underwear he wins is worth some giggles too.

I suggest any of you think this show is 'apalling' watch the show before running your mouths. It is done in VERY GOOD taste.
posted by Neb at 12:44 PM on June 15, 2001

The Carrot Top line of thought occurred to me; didn't think anyone would actually jump for it though.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 2:09 PM on June 15, 2001

Here's the bottom line: What you you do for fortune and glory? Back in the old days of Feudalism it was simple. All ya had to do was win a war against one of your neighbors. Nowadays things are a little more complicated.

We americans sit high on our lofty perch and pretend we're above the fray. Our reality television shows are more humane. However, what's the difference between what happened to Nasubi and what happened to the Survivor participants? A contract? That the Survivor participants were better informed going in? They were better prepared somehow for what they were about to undergo? Maybe we give them more rice to live on during the days when they didn't win a Big Mac? Does that make us any better?

It doesn't sound like Nasubi was informed up front of all the details. Oh, he probably knew some things. If not told, he was probably savvy enough to guess that behind those mirrors were cameras. However, some things they weren't gonna tell him. They wanted to get the look on his face when he found out, in front of the camera.

When Big Brother does this, they give the contestants an entire "fake" house. Not just a little apartment. They're given more than whatever they win in a contest, but often their contests affect how much food they have that week. Though separated from society, they are not left completely alone. However the end result is admittedly not quite as exciting. We tell ourselves it's not quite as inhumane. They asked to participate. They auditioned. They probably have a book's worth of disclaimer forms and contractual agreements to sign before they go in. So here in America we make it all legal and clean.

But does that make this any better? The audience has spoken. It wants programming that's more real, while simultaneously being more unreal. Reality television is the result. And when we the public gets bored with this, what's next? Where do the lines get drawn? What will we tolerate for the fortune and glory of others? That 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol predicted.

When someone shines a camera at you and asks you to strip naked and dance. What will you do when your opportunity comes? And what will be your price?
posted by ZachsMind at 3:44 PM on June 17, 2001

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