I have always loved entertainment and media, that’s even why I chose to study a degree in it. However I have only ever really watched from my home or places similar to my home. I am very familiar with American television shows and movies, Australian news media, dramas and comedies. Something that is different for me is the Asian culture.
My idea was to watch Japanese game shows. They are very well known and they fascinate many other countries. They have crazy stereotypes surrounding them, including some insane challenges and gross contests. I have not watched or experienced much Japanese culture, especially their entertainment. I know only what I see from outside perspectives. The one show I did watch growing up was Most Extreme Elimination (MXC). However this was a dubbed version done by the US which used footage from the original Takeshi’s Castle. This was the funniest show when I watched it. I wanted to however see different types of television shows. Why is Japan known to have such crazy shows and is it apart of their culture? Similar Australian shows were never really outstanding and I think because most were not original, you could tell they weren’t authentic and a little forced.
Through watching these shows I got a sense of the real characters of Japanese people or at least the celebrity contestants. The humour was very light hearted and slapstick comedy. It was simple but hilarious at the same time. The first show I watched was Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende. Downtown was a show consisting of 5 male comedians that do challenges around town ‘downtown’. The episode I watched they all had to go to 37 restaurants or food places and eat 8 octopus balls all together. Apparently it is a proper meal in Japan which I did not know before this.
It was pretty funny. I had the subtitles on as there was a lot of talking and I would not have picked up on anything that was going on otherwise. The show was slow though. Not as fast paced as I would have expected. The cast were hilarious, to start off with they were wearing Octopus Ball hats (at first, because I didn’t know that this was a food I thought they were toffee apples.) I did throughout the show get a real sense of local foods and the streets of Tokyo.
The other show I watched was Team Fight. A contest show where all types of celebrities face off in different challenges against each other to win prizes, some being quite brutal and others being quite gross. This was such an entertaining show. I felt because it was so light hearted and no one was taking it too seriously that it was easy to take in and understand the comedy of it. It did not have a subtitle option but it didn’t matter because all the actions and facial expressions were very easy to pick up. ‘Laughter is universal’ I guess you would say.
I’ve learnt from this process that not everything you assume is correct but it is also good to experience things first hand. Rather than watching something for example from Ellen, and people commentating on it which would influence your opinion on different cultures, to actually experience it yourself helps you better understand the culture.
Digital Artifact below:
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Scherker, A. (2018). You Have To See These Japanese Game Shows To Believe Them. But Even Then You Won’t.. [online] HuffPost Australia. Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/japanese-game-shows_n_4569474.
Medlock, E. (2017). 20 Messed Up Japanese Game Shows That Shouldn’t Have Been Allowed On TV. [online] TheGamer. Available at: https://www.thegamer.com/messed-up-japanese-game-shows-that-shouldnt-have-been-allowed-on-television/.
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