Japanese Game Shows

March 25, 2021

Japanese game shows are one of the best examples of cultural differences. It’s a collection of a wide variety of different competitions. From eating spaghetti in a dryer to trying to climb oiled stairs while being covered in oil by the bucket. Some shows cannot be covered because they aren’t school-appropriate and the same shows are aired live on Japanese television. What can seem so vulgar in our culture can be seen as just another game show or “Family Feud” in Japan.

Slippery Stairs is a funny and tense game show. Six contestants are dressed in spandex bodysuits of their team color. The contestants also wear a helmet colored the same as their suit. To win the game a contestant must be the first to reach the top of the stairs where the treasure chest awaits you. It sounds much easier than it is. Strategically placed buckets of oil are placed throughout the staircase that tip over and dump out. Covered on live television and archived on YouTube, this game show is covered with funny cartoon sound effects.

Takeshi’s Castle is considered where Japanese game shows got their weird reputation by a majority of people familiar with the gameshows, largely due to Takeshi’s castle becoming the first Japanese game show to become a world phenomenon. Countries around the world copied Takeshi’s Castle to make their similar game shows. America’s most popular show inspired by Takeshi’s Castle was Wipeout. The game show was a big inspiration to the designers of Fall Guys, a video game that spiked in popularity as soon as it was released in February 2021. The game show dates back to the 1990s and is still a popular show in Japan.

Candy or Not Candy used the art of Sokkuri, or Sweets Sculpting, to try and deceive contestants from knowing whether an object is a sweet or a real object. The contestants must take a bite out of what they think is the sweet out of multiple options. If the contestant chooses the right object, they get a mouthful of sweet tasty chocolate. If the contestant chooses the wrong object, they get a mouthful of whatever the object is, from an old shoe and bugs to a doorknob and briefcase.

Silent Library is a Japanese take on the American TV show “Jackass” where odd and usually embarrassing acts and stunts are performed. In Silent Library the contestants are competing inside a library and must not make any noise otherwise they might disturb the students studying and people reading.

“DERO! DERO!” is a game show where the contestant must solve puzzles, answer questions or complete a mental challenge to compete. The situations the players are put in are often stressful and seem life-threatening to get the best reactions from the contestants. Placed on retracting platforms and given tasks to perform before the time and floor had run out. “DERO! DERO!” has a similar show named “TORE!” where a person would be placed on a stand and be given seven questions. The player had to answer the seven questions before they were completely wrapped up and mummified by the device that surrounds them.

These are a few of the many TV shows in Japan that show a clear cultural difference on television between countries. It can be fun for many to explore and celebrate that difference by watching Japanese game shows and other things aired on Japanese television.

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