Japan has been booming as the new cultural center of the world for over a decade now. It only takes watching some of their outlandishly hilarious game shows to see why. If you’re ever looking for something out of the ordinary, Japan never disappoints. Check out this list of 10 of the most intriguing and hilarious Japanese game shows of all time, prime for western consumption.
10 Japanese Game Shows
This game show is precisely what the name suggests, and it’s also everything you would expect from a Japanese game show. The idea is completely out of the box and hilarious. Here’s the game.
The players strip down and enter a tumble dryer. They’re given spaghetti noodles in a tin bowl and a pair of chopsticks. The tumble dryer gets turned on, and they have to finish the bowl while spinning inside.
It’s probably not a game you’d ever want to try at home but definitely entertaining to watch noodles flying all over the place and the players trying to catch them.
#2. The Bum Game
Provocative humor is a staple of Japanese game shows and entertainment. And in no game does Japan make this as clear as the Bum Game. This is one you should probably avoid watching with your family. It’s not very flattering to women but an interesting game nonetheless.
It involves models who have to put their behind into a plastic mold with cutouts to expose their buttocks. The person behind them can inspect the buttocks however he likes, including kissing. The goal is to guess the model based on the buttocks. It’s a strange game but makes you chuckle for some reason.
#3. Slippery Stairs
If you’re looking for wholesome family fun, try watching slippery stairs. Six contestants are dressed in tight lycra-spandex onesies with a helmet, and their objective is to climb the stairs and reach the treasure chest at the top. However, the stairs are covered in oil that contestants spread every time they slip and fall.
You need to have a tight foot grip, patience, and focus to be able to scale these stairs in the suits the show provides. And even that may not be enough. If one contestant slips and falls, everyone below them tumbles. This simple but hilarious game gained a lot of popularity on Youtube and is enjoyed throughout the world.
#4. Spread Your Legs
Sometimes, pain can be a rich source of humor, not only in Japan but all over the world. This Japanese show makes a game out of splitting your legs for extended periods both funny and cute to watch. The contestants sit on a machine that spreads their legs apart by rotating a wheel. There’s no translation available of the rules, but you watch the videos on YouTube.
A lady spins a wheel with a bunch of numbers on it. Based on the number that it lands on, the wheels of the machine are rotated to stretch the contestants’ legs apart. It takes a lot of endurance and flexibility to win this game.
#5. Takeshi’s Castle
Takeshi’s Castle is arguably one of the most recognized Japanese game shows in the world. It’s been dubbed in many different languages and gained a lot of notoriety in countries like India. Takeshi’s Castle presents a series of challenges that the participant needs to clear to win the game while competing against several others.
One of the games involves navigating a maze and making it to the end without being caught by weirdly dressed monsters that are also in the maze searching for you. Another one involves racing over a series of planks floating loosely in the water. Takeshi’s Castle is a competitive and fun game show to watch, especially for kids.
#6. Silent Library
Silent Library shares a lot in common with the American game show Jackass. It involves performing unusual and bizarre stunts that provoke laughter. However, the catch with the Japanese version is that it takes place in a Library. The objective is to perform your stunt without making any noise or disturbing the peace.
In one of the episodes, a contestant drew the wrong card and had to lick butter off of a stranger’s back. This is just an example to show you how weird things can get on Silent Library.
This game involves making contestants wear one or more rubber bands around their mouth, tight enough to compress their face and make hilarious expressions that are immortalized in pictures. The rubber bands also make it difficult for them to move their facial muscles.
A bunch of marshmallows are then dangled in front of their face on a string, and they have to eat as many as they can. The kind of expressions they end up making while trying to catch the marshmallows almost borders on humiliating.
#8. It’s Electrifying
Here’s another Japanese game show that equates physical pain to humor. The game involves passing electricity through men, but the way it’s done is hilarious. They’re strapped to a board and slid down a deck. A beautiful woman stands at the other end of the deck. Once the contestant slides down, he hits her chest and is jolted with electricity.
It’s unclear what the game’s rules are or how to win since it’s a really old game show, and there isn’t a lot of information available about it. But one thing’s for sure; it’s a show you won’t forget.
AKBingo is one of Japan’s longest-running variety game shows and features the pop idol girl group AKB48. They play many different games ranging from quizzes to sports to news. And every episode has something new to offer.
It airs once a week and has been dubbed for Indonesian, Thai, Chinese, and Filipino audiences. If you’re looking for casual and light-hearted Japanese game shows to pass the time, AKBingo is a great choice.
#10. Candy Or Not Candy
Candy Or Not Candy is a Japanese game show that showcases Japan’s infamous sweet sculpting skills, also called the art of “Sokkuri,” to make them look like real objects.
Participants are presented with several objects — some may be real while some are made of chocolate or candy. They need to take a bite out of any one of them. If they take a bite of something that turns out to be real, not only do they lose points, but they are also left with the foul taste of old shoes in their mouth.
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