This semester, the Digital Asia subject had me delve into many different types of culture from many different countries. These included watching films made in Japan, documentaries following professional Korean gamers and even trying different foods. These were all done so we could explore a different culture from our own and investigate autoethnography. Thinking of an idea for a digital artefact, I looked back on my own experience. Some of the shows I watched growing up were some very funny and entertaining game shows that actually were originally derived from Japanese game shows. Many have been adapted, one including American Ninja Warrior. A show modified from the original Sasuke or Ninja Warrior in Japan where athletes would compete in physically demanding challenges. Another show I watched was MXC, which stands for Most Extreme Elimination. Using footage from Takeshi’s castle it’s a very funny show but only until recently I genuinely thought the English voiceovers were what the characters were actually saying, but I learnt the American voiceovers were dubbed over with usually deliberately inaccurate commentary. Still hilarious though.
I had the question of what makes these shows so enticing for Asian audiences but also for Western countries to adapt into their own. Also are Western ideas of ‘crazy’ and ‘weird’ Japanese game shows exaggerated? I feel like they are definitely entertaining but how do they engage their audiences and can they be cross culturally enjoyed without having to modify. Since I’m already pretty familiar with the Ninja Warrior format and know all about Mount Midoriyama, I’m not going to engage with that show. I am going to watch a few original shows made and aired in Japan and see what I think of them. There is certainly a foreign image of Japanese game shows which started from the ‘80s show Takeshi’s Castle as said before.
Even though Japanese television and game shows have changed from the past, there is still that stereotype about them but also that certain flair that they bring to entertainment, which makes them different and entices so many countries to bring the same thing to their own screens.
What I am going to do is watch 3 different programs that I have never seen before (I’ll be catching up Takeshi’s Castle in my own time anyway). I’m going to give an account on what I think the show will be like before watching it. I feel like Japan has a certain humour which I’m curious to find out more of. Then live tweet while watching, and use those tweets to do further research and also reflect on my own experience and any realisations or new understandings I have.
The first show is called ‘Downtown no gaki no tsukai ya’. It involves comedians hosting the show and cast members taking part in different games.
The second show is Team Fight, a competition show where celebrities verse other celebrities in different wacky activities.
The third will be AKBingo involving the Japanese girl band AKB48 where they compete in games and challenges, some quite gross in nature like blowing dead bugs in each other’s mouths through a tube.