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Idiocy versus intelligence on Japanese quiz shows

73 Comments
By Remy Zane

One of my tiny obsessions - cultural fetishes, if you will - is the game show industry. Alongside becoming an astronaut, rock star, and inventor of the wheel, one of my dreams has always been to either participate in a well-known game show or to host one. As of yet, the closest I’ve gotten towards either of these is being in the audience for one back home. (The host probably hates me for what transpired, but that’s another story.)

Now, I don’t consider myself a particularly intelligent person. I lack common sense half the time, and if being my high school’s ‘03 valedictorian is supposed to be a marker of coherence, mine easily runs out of ink. When I watch shows like "Jeopardy!" or "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" I fully expect to react in ways meriting the punctuation marks. “How could he NOT know about polyphasic sleep!” “Wow, what IS the capital of Bulgaria, anyhow?” These are the sort of responses I expect.

That said, it is with greatly mixed emotions that I present to you the state of quiz shows in Japan. Let me begin by saying that there are, still, a select few shows which reward knowledge both general and trivial. For example, "Nekketsu! Heisei Kyoiku Gakuin," airing Sundays at 7 p.m. on Fuji TV, tests participants’ advanced kanji knowledge, as well as challenging the contestants - all celebrities. Most contestants on the show are known for being of at least above-average intelligence, although for the sake of balance, Aya Hirayama is a necessary constant.

Another is "Nep League," airing Mondays at 7 on Fuji TV. Teams of five work together to solve various problems, the content of which differing from "Heisei Kyoiku" really only in terms of presentation. As an example, five people line up in a row. If the question, “What is the Japanese word for ‘thank you?’” were to be asked, each person would be responsible for their respective character. Person A would write “a,” person B would write “ri,” and so on. This can be both challenging and hilarious, especially when the answer should be obvious.

Which leads me to "Hexagon II: Quiz Parade," Wednesdays at 7 on Fuji TV, arguably the exact opposite of the first two shows. Granted, the contestants are still celebrities - mostly singers or would-be equivalents - but here, the selling point isn’t intelligence, but idiocy. Pure, unbridled vapidity, to the point where out of 18 regulars, our love for the two or three smart guys pales in comparison to utter hate and disgust for the remaining 16. Now, yes, said hatred may merit a “!”-worthy response. Watching grown men and women fail to remember third-grade math, however, is nothing short of “…” or even a “@$%&.”

Yes, there are several more quiz shows out there, some far more challenging or rewarding than "Heisei Kyoiku" or "Nep League." The problem is, most of these shows air either far too early or far too late at night for the majority to appreciate them. Moreover, the cast of "Heisei Kyoiku" and "Nep League" are, on average, in their 30s or 40s, whereas the vast majority of "Hexagon" contestants either are in their 20s or produce media that target people no older than their 20s. Arguing, then, that this sort of academic agnosticism is supposed to be something to enjoy, or even look up to.

Don’t get me wrong. I can enjoy good, thoughtless fun - "Family Guy" is an immediate example - but when people are watching Aya Hirayama or Suzanne treat basic intelligence like broken glass, and when people happen to be liking or even approving this, really the only question that matters is, “Why?”

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Japanese TV - 24 hour children's programming.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The worst waste of air time. That is when discovery, animal planet, national geographic, and even the radio channels come in handy in Sky Perfect. Few programs are ok like documentals about animals, people, and places around the World.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese TV - 24 hour children's programming.

I'll deduct 60min for World News Hour :)

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I watch NHK, where they have pretty decent shows. That one with keitai jokes is a fun one.

And let's not forget: this country produces anime, which is eagerly consumed around the globe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Never ever get a " Slumdog Millionaire" here...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That is the first time I see the words "intelligence" and "Japanese quiz show" in the same sentence.

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Ok. This will get me flamed, but here it is.

I HATE Japanese game and variety shows!!! Not dislike, not try to avoid, but hate in the same way I hate the stomach flu.

Watching a bunch of so called "Telento" ramble on about pointless information or laughing at girls who should be ashamed of how empty headed they are is just about the last thing I would willingly choose to do. And with the exception of a few times when visiting family that I have to endure these, I usually manage to escape.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not a fan of vapid content from any country including the masses of idiotic talk shows, competition or reality shows that plague US TV too. But the sheer numbers of these game and variety shows in Japan is staggering. And the seemingly endless hours of them is enough to make you toss out your TV if you don't have cable or satellite to provide some content of consequence.

If we have to endure idiotic game shows, then bring Joe average from the public and let him or her address the questions instead of these talentless talento. I seriously don't see why everyone wants to see the same collection of over produced looking role figureens do everything on TV. If you want a real game show, bring Taro-san salaryman and Aya-san OL on TV and let them deal with questions and challenges. At least then we can feel like normal people are getting a chance to have some fun. And not being tortured by these legions of generic agency talentless, but sometimes pretty faces.

Lastly what does it teach society when these people behave with such stupidity? Kids grow up here thinking that being cute is enough. Their stars are not particually gifted in anything other than being on the roles of the right agencies. Would it not be better to teach TV watching audiences to reward intelligence, creativity or knowledge? And shouldn't our talent at least have something in their heads other than the roots of well treated hair?

Thankfully I have cable and a few well produced shows to watch when I want some down time. And with those rare holiday exceptions, I am able to avoid being tortured by low brow vapid variety TV both here and on trips home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then you will need; 1 plastic squeak mallet, peroxided hair, and begin every sentence with 'ahoka!' In fact you won't even have to really speak any Japanese. Just say 'ehhh,' 'areee'? 'honto?' and 'ahoka!' in whichever order doens't really matter and remember to whack the person next to you with the hammer every ten seconds . Do this and it should work out fine

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My wife likes Neppu League but loves Hexagon, and tapes them each week. She often likes to watch the recorded Hexagon a few times over. For me of course both quiz show questions are very hard as they require knowledge of history and knowledge of Japanese idioms that I lack. It's true that Hexagon has some very dumb people on it and the question is are they really that dumb or are they just faking it? Either way it's giving young people a bad role model - kind of like saying "hey I'm dumb but look at me, I'm on TV and making big bucks so you don't need school". To be fair, some of the cast on Hexagon are really good at answering the questions, Lasaar for example. The host Shimada Shinsuke is also very quick at making jokes and is entertaining.

In many countries there is a version of the TV show "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" Japan conspicuously doesn't have a version of the show, but with shows like Hexagon which give the contestants 5th grade maths questions, there's not need for such a show.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tkoind2, Amen to that. I really blow my fuses when I hear the hellium ladies talk. They hold their tongues down as to sound like babies. Can not stand it. Everywhere else it would be consider a disfunctional handicap but here they think it is cute. There is even one lady in a comercial that really sounds like she inhaled hellium.

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I don't get how behavior like a 5 year old became a standard of cute. How can any self respecting woman behave like a brainless, immature doe eyed fixture on these shows and face herself in the mirror next day. Especially since most are not paid very well.

I could understand one or two comedic personalities doing it as a part of their gimmick. But it is so wide spread it is difficult to escape when checking TV channels. And sadly has spread widely into mainstream society as well. I can't tell how many 30 something year old working women I have met who transform into wide eyed children when trying to be cute.

What happened to refined elegance and the long tradition of strength, endurance, intelligence and cultured quality that once defined Japan's women? Even past working class women held their behavior in high regard as representatives of their family or community.

I blame TV, plastic pop and TV idols and a fatal overdose of anime on the current plague of excessive Kawaii.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Every time I hear the "heeeeee", I want to destroy my TV ... Most of the time, they are in awe of a talento who can do something really basic, that annoys me so much! I usually shout at the TV "get out of your house and meet people ... you'll see that's totally normal and we don't need your 'heeeee'"

Ok, I shout at the TV, I might be the more stupid ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Women in their 20s and over with kids dress and behave like children. From where did they catch this craze? Really interesting to know what inspired them to behave this way? And making their voices sound squeaky and abnormal, is it from the electronic gadgets they use? So abnormal? Maybe someone should start a Finishing school for women to learn how to behave like ladies.

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There was a classic on last night. Investigating the properties of hot sauce.

Somebody ate some hot sauce. It was hot. Cue hysterical "Eeeeeeeeeeeeh" and baffled, silent-hand-clap gestures for about 15 minutes.

So that's that mystery cleared up. Hot sauce is spicy. I used to lie awake wndering about that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Unlike many on JT, my Japanese is pisspoor and so I don't understand much of what is being said on Japanese game shows. They still come across as totally moronic though, just based on expressions, the little Japanese I do get, the choicde of camera shots to show etc etc.

I am amazed that there is a show that requires a bunch of "contestants" to unravel written Japanese. as much an indictment of the show itself as it is of the insane difficulty of Japanese language.

The game shows are, however, on a par with lots of other Japanese TV that I come across (once again, given my limited Japanese I may not be 100% right on this one). Cooking shows are ridiculous, travel shows pitched at idiots, soaps I just don't get - but acting is awful. and every show writes on the screen what the punters are saying..... Why?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Cooking shows are the worst. Actually they are not cooking shows but just shows with food as the theme. They normally follow this routine: Food = delicious. That's it really and a revelation it is too.

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I can't see the point of Japanese quiz shows, because it's only ever tarento on them and they don't exactly need the prizes - better to go to some average member of the public.

And making their voices sound squeaky and abnormal

True, but that is perhaps because they get a better reception from J-males that way. I'm naturally an alto, but when I call Japanese hospitals in the course of my work, I always get a far better reception if I use my "high-pitched ultra-feminine Japanese" voice than my normal lower pitch. It's still not in the ultrasonic "kawaiiiiiiii" range, mind :-)

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zaichik, they are called

tarento

because they are talented.

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zaichik: you hardly ever see average members of the public because the average member would either:

Do almost exactly the same thing as the tarento would, thus making all tarento seem normal and become obsolete.

Do nothing, be silent, and look embarassed just like in Junior High School, for fear of losing face and sticking out from the crowd. Boring people remind others of their own hopeless lives and are not fun to watch.

Do things better than a tarento would, charming audiences with their informed opinions or singular quirkiness, thus overshadowing current tarento and make them lose money and fame.
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Yep in japan only the the talento agency reaps all the money, common people just have to buy scratchie and loto tickets.

I only like the show were they have to guess the price of the food they are eating and at the end one of them has to pay the whole bill

and once a year sasuke is fun, the only inteligent shows on Japanese TV are the BBC documentaries they show on the BS channels

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think they have been doing this since they lost the war out of pity for themselves and to get the attention from Americans and allies. The pink ladies have been doing the gogo gaga since the 70s. Ah.., and those baby hand claps. I admit I like to watch the samurai movie Mitoko Mon, even if no blood ever spills despite so many slashings with their swords. Just because of its theme song and the fact that it is void of modern day things.

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zaichik: "because they are talented."

I am sorry but I have seen more talented life forms living in the back of some refrigerators.

Very few of the so called "Talento" here would survive in any other entertainment market. The reason they seem to survive here seems to have a lot more to do with media shoving this garbage down people's throats than with any volition from the skills or abilities of these TV personalities.

Talent applies to people who can actuall do something. For example. Sing independent of pitch adjusting systems. Act in a manner that in some way represents acting and not extreme overacting. Be humorus and funny, any idiot can smack another idiot with a big pink hammer or stand around in a speedy making stupid fist thrusts. How about some intelligent humor? And cute is not enough for the legions of "talento" kawaii girls. How much talent does it take to stand there breasts forward in a tiny skirt and too much hair and makeup work?

You want talent. I can send you a long list of global talents. I think you will find that only a few of Japan's talent have graduated from the idiocy of J-TV to end up respected anywhere else. And those who have are in fact truly talented.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Talent" US Style: Sammy Davis Jr. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, actor, dancer, impressionist, author.

"Talent" japan Style: Junichi Ushida. Doesn't wear socks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Damn, this thread is hilarious! :-)

tkoind2, I'm totally with you, but I'm afraid you're reading way too much into the meaning of 'tarento.'

Since 'tarento' is a bastardized version of the English 'talent,' Japanese have a free pass to bastardize the meaning, which they have done incredibly well.

"Be humorus and funny, any idiot can smack another idiot with a big pink hammer or stand around in a speedy making stupid fist thrusts. How about some intelligent humor?"

Point taken, but I think you will find the majority of comedy in Japan is tailored towards tired J salarymen - guys who have come home from work after switching their brains off 5 minutes after the first of the 4 totally pointless meetings they had before their 3 hour "working lunch" at Douter.

These guys are too tired to engage, let alone think about 'intelligent humor' - that would be waaaay too much.

Hence, to cater for the above-mentioned exhausted salarymen, we get -

Cooking shows where ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING is "oishhhhiiiiiiiiiii" (I would pay millions to see someone say "mazui!!!") and that even a blind chipmunk could cook

Travel shows featuring a bunch of talentless talentos that are on every week (including an old woman lovingly known as "Mrs. OnionHead), and

late night wide shows featuring a guest panel of 3-5 guys (often including Kusanagi-san, the SMAP dude who got naked in Roppongi last month) who "judge" a bunch of big-breasted, bikini-wearing teenage girls who are asked to exercise everything they ever learnt in school by.....jumping up and down.

Some of my other foreign mates also go off about J TV.

My comment to them, as it is to you, is -

If you don't like it, don't watch it.

It's a free world. :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This thread rocks lol!!! :-)

I recommend a Foreigner Wide Show, where a bunch of foreigners - yes, perhaps even YOU! - whip up a REAL comedy show to cater to the Japanese audience.

Perhaps a Basil Faulty / Blackadder / Friends / Seinfeld / Married With Children / WWE kind of mix?

No, seriously, that just wouldn't fly. :-)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those serebu are idiots, no question. However someone who loves to watch them and spend her time writing a review about them...this one has graduated with honor from the University of Idiocy, going Phd on the subject.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The thing is that Japanese also watch a lot of western programming. Look at rentals and sales of "Sex and the City", "Ally McBeal", "24" etc... these things sell in Japan. And people watch. Cable TV sales and satellite are testimonys to the fact that there are a lot of Japanese out there who do like good programming.

Sushisake3. I don't watch J-TV unless forced at gun point. The only exceptions are when I have to entertain my Japanese family or spend a long holiday watching TV and eating with them. I love them and would gladly spend a couple days hanging out with them. But the TV shows on the entire time are like having bamboo shoved under my nails.

The problem with TV here is that it seeps into society so that you cannot escape it. The standards of "cool or desirable" behavior end up all around us. Doe eyed brainless girls bobbing about everywhere, izakayas full of line for line repeats of bad TV shows and even giant pink hammers in the office.

Imagine a world where all the great talents of theatre, music, literature and more were replaced by bad immitations of the Three Stogges and you have populuar entertainment in Japan.

It isn't any wonder at all that only a dozen or so actors and performers have managed to cross borders to start in film and TV in other Asian and global nations. The hoards of "talento" are just to vacuous and devoid of anything other than surface decoration (and not always that) to bother with.

What a waste of perfectly good TV studios and transmission equipment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Since 'tarento' is a bastardized version of the English 'talent,' Japanese have a free pass to bastardize the meaning, which they have done incredibly well.

nail applied to head. the agencies own the entertainment biz

a lot on this thread has been said before, but i'd like to add that the presence of no-one but tarento on tv shows is good evidence that rumours of the demise of japan's caste system were greatly exaggerated. it would be great if normal people did appear on tv, but i think Gaijinocchio's points are a little too familiar.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hate to admit it but I enjoy a lot more JTV than I used to...it must be a lowering of the intellectual defenses over time...

It started with geting hooked on Yoshimoto Gekijo, a kansai stage comedy series by Yoshimoto Kogyo. Living in Kansai for a while had me learning Osaka-ben and as a lot of comedy comes in rapaid-fire kansai dialect I had to crack the code. Once I did, that show had me in stitches. Charlie Hammers signature was to walk into a house announcing "Gomen Kusai" (sorry it stinks)instead of gomen kudasai (excuse me) . And with each "Ochi" punchline of jokes throughout, the whole stage of actors would fall to the floor to emphasise the pun "Ochi" - which also means to fall. It was brilliant!

Once my Japanese got good enough to actually pick up what the hell Beat Takeshi was saying on his Tokyo shows...I was amazed at his quik wit and sharp sense of humour.I realised that guy has some real ability... in between the stupid toilet and boob jokes that is.

And now what do we find?? TV programs copying Japanese style game shows in the UK and US !! what a turn that is!

I still agree with most of the anti-comments as it took me about 5 or 6 years of gut wrenching abhorrence of the TV in Japan before I started looking at it differently..and theyve even cleaned up their act. No longer do female guests on talk shows have cameras doing close ups on their panties and down their tops as in the good ol days...

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I would pay millions to see someone say "mazui!!!")

Me too - could be fun to make a satirical program taking the p out of these shows.

I was rather fond of a J-drama called Let's Go Nagatacho, which was taking the p out of the government of the day (Koizumi, Tanaka Makiko, etc.), but it got poor ratings and was pulled before the end of the run. Proof that Japan isn't ready for political satire, sadly....

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IvanCoughalot wrote: "Talent" US Style: Sammy Davis Jr. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, actor, dancer, impressionist, author. "Talent" japan Style: Junichi Ushida. Doesn't wear socks.

Let's amend this because the US does not always fare so well: "Talent" US Style: Brittany Spears, pop singer and ex-rehab patient "Talent" Japan Style: Kiyoshi Hikawa, Enka star and notable singer

Point being there are serious artists in Japan, and most TV is geared towards very young people in Japan. The age demographic target is older in the US.

And lets face it, Japanese dramas are just as entertaining as the likes of Gossip Girl - and the acting no worse in quality.

Also you are what you eat. You don't have to watch TV you don't like. Try anime or Japanese film. There is some good stuff out there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

tkoind2:

The thing is that Japanese also watch a lot of western programming. Look at rentals and sales of "Sex and the City", "Ally McBeal", "24" etc... these things sell in Japan. And people watch. Cable TV sales and satellite are testimonys to the fact that there are a lot of Japanese out there who do like good programming.

All those shows you mentioned are not western programs anymore after they enter Japan: the translations and subtitles do not match what they say in English. They become Japanese with a Japanese message.

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Point being there are serious artists in Japan, and most TV is geared towards very young people in Japan. The age demographic target is older in the US.

odd, that considering the lack of young people in japan... could it be that tv is deliberated sanitised and intellectually insulting?

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Doesn't anybody read a book,(manga not included) instead of watching TV?

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A little off topic but I wonder why the reality shows like "Survivor" or "Big Brother" haven't had Japanese versions made... Any thoughts?

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knews - not enough cooking.

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A little off topic but I wonder why the reality shows like "Survivor" or "Big Brother" haven't had Japanese versions made... Any thoughts?

They require participants to have individual personality. That´s it.

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They require participants to have individual personality. That´s it.

You mean "They require "actors" to follow the "script".

Once my Japanese got good enough to actually pick up what the hell Beat Takeshi was saying on his Tokyo shows...I was amazed at his quik wit and sharp sense of humour.I realised that guy has some real ability... in between the stupid toilet and boob jokes that is.

Tokyocrawler:

Here are some of his famous quick wits.

http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~iquiz/quizderby/takeshi.htm

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Doesn't anybody read a book,(manga not included) instead of watching TV?

There are books that aren't manga? ;-) Learning the language is hard enough as it is. I'll be lucky if I learn enough Kanji to understand a tankoban's-worth of manga before I die.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This trend is nothing new. Smart, intelligent peoeple usually aren't looking for fame the way most of the so called stars are. Thats true in Japan, as well as in Hollywood. Finding a truly smart person is actually rare in both places. I was surprised to learn that Geena Davis is actually a member of Mensa. One of the few people who seems to be truly smart, despite being an actress.

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Intelligence on television is a contradiction in terms.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese TV is for 12 year olds.

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A little off topic but I wonder why the reality shows like "Survivor" or "Big Brother" haven't had Japanese versions made... Any thoughts?

Japanese are not lively enough.

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Thx everyone for further confirming I was a wise man when I didnt get a tv antennae installed in my house in the sticks, its been almost 4 blissful yrs sans j-tv, it is very very good, you all shud try it!

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GW at 09:26 AM JST - 28th May

Agree with you. My wife & I had a long 3 minute conversation about TV & then removed the antenna & all the wiring that went with it. Intelligence on TV? No where I have ever lived has ever managed it. And without the box I have some much more time in my life, I even have time to waste writing on JT, which just goes to show how much time we waste in front of the box.

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I see lots of posts here about Japanese TV, but that isn't actually what the article is about. Japanese TV has always been mostly stupid and mostly rubbish. What's new and what the writer is talking about is the trend where being (or pretending to be) a stupid and ignorant young Japanese person is seen as cool, funny, and entertaining. Not just the show is stupid, but the person on the show is too. You can almost see the cynical production meeting - "Let's put on a quiz show, they are easy and cheap to produce, and let's go for a young demographic for our advertisers. Oh but young Japanese people are stupid and ignorant. Ok, let's just put stupid and ignorant people on the show so they can relate to the contestants. Problem solved!" Even Nep League, which is one of the few Japanese programs I actually regularly watch and is ususally reasonably intelligent, sometimes suffers from idiot guest syndrome. I'm not sure what it all means, but I'm pretty sure it isn't good.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Been in Japan for 10 an a half year. Haven't watched TV in 10 years. Started watching this half an year. Reason: cable TV

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I don't see why everybody here is surprised at how crap commercial tv programming is in Japan. I come from Canada, where it's the same except a triple dose of it: English Canadian, French Canadian and American commercial tv (easily viewable if you live near the border) is all crap.

Japanese commercial shows are crap too, juts crap with a Japanese bent. Japanese quiz shows are a means for those tv stations and their useless tarento to make money by making fools of everybody. They make fools of the people on the show and they make fools of the public by creating such drivel. Why would anybody expect anything else?

Want better quality? Get a dish, rent what you want, or better yet: turn it off and write stupid comments on the internet about inane topics like this...hey wait...

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I don't see why everybody here is surprised at how crap commercial tv programming is in Japan. I come from Canada, where it's the same except a triple dose of it: English Canadian, French Canadian and American commercial tv (easily viewable if you live near the border) is all crap.

i don't think its the presence of cr@p that's the problem. i think its the absence of anything else

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Day 14 of Survivor Japan and yet another suicide last night...

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You guys are all watching the wrong stuff. There are some wonderful animal programs on air, and the food programs are excellent. I wish they would bring back iron chef. Travel programs are good too. If you get a chance to see the dude that travels Japan with a teppan on his back, purchases local foods and cooks up a storm, watch it. Excellent lessons, and food can be very cheap here. I ignore all the game shows. They are for idiots.

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"and every show writes on the screen what the punters are saying..... Why?"

Umm because they are moronic and they can't understand their own lingo in the spoken sense and have to read it to clear up any misunderstanding they may have with what they just heard. I am near fluent and get so pissed when i speak japanese and the moron i am speaking to says "eh?" and then looks to my wife for a translated version of the japanese just spoken....she repeats the exact thing i said and the moron understands...........ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Umm because they are moronic and they can't understand their own lingo in the spoken sense and have to read it to clear up any misunderstanding they may have with what they just heard.

i've also often wondered why... it might be to aid the deaf, but i suspect your explanation maybe the reason why. or alternatively, seeing it written might enhance the comedy. or maybe it's a manga connection

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knews, I think there was a J-version of Survivor, but it failed due to lack of interest. A lot of the quiz shows or game shows they tried to produce here with the average Joe on the street failed. The big example is Millionaire, which used to have everyday people as contestants. One reason they switched to talents on Millionaire, and one reason that Survivor didn't survive, is probably because they didn't have enough people who wanted to participate. Maybe too shy, I don't know. I don't like quiz/game shows here because I don't care what the stars know, but I have to admit I do like to watch some parts of shows to practice my Kanji or knowledge of J-history, like Q-Sama. I get a fuzzy feeling inside when I know the answer and the J-talent doesn't....

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GW there are a few interesting programs on the BSchannels like showing japanese onsens and beautiful countryside places.

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Japanese game shows are just an extension of the tremendously pointless "variety show" programs... hence they can't be compared to game shows that Westerners (at least North Americans) are familiar with. Most JP game shows and the ones mentioned in this article only use stars as contestants... hence the low level of IQ. To me, that's not a game show; utilizing common everyday people is what makes game shows in North America fun to watch (ie. Who wants to be..., Price is right, Family feud, Jeopardy, etc. etc.) besides, stars don't need anymore money than they already have anyway!

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I've seen a couple of episodes of Hexagon II:Quiz Parade, and while my Japanese is not good enough to understand the nuances (assuming there are some) I did enjoy the game where they're given questions with difficult kanji to read out. After years struggling with the Japanese language, it's nice to see them have difficulty with it too.

That said, Nep League sounds great!

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The subtitling is bizarre. I was told it is for deaf people but if true, they would subtitle the whole show, not just selective bits. I think it's the Manga influence, or just that Japanese seemingly need information for everything. Just look at the way they clutter the four corners of the screen with garish text most of the time.

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Remy Zane,

Nice article indeed! Keep it up and let us know why the host of the show hates you!

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Anyone here ever been to a hotel overseas and watched NHK World? I found their international satellite channel to be much more interesting than any I can tune into off the the air here in Nagoya

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One reason for the subtitling is so that you can watch television with the sound down. In a restaurant or with a screen on a busy street you can follow the program even if you can't hear anything. Some murder mysteries, classically the Tuesday evening one, uses the bilingual channel for a soundtrack for the blind, and idiot gaijin. "He walks to the window. He sees a car pull up outside."

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One reason for the subtitling is so that you can watch television with the sound down. In a restaurant or with a screen on a busy street you can follow the program even if you can't hear anything. Some murder mysteries, classically the Tuesday evening one, uses the bilingual channel for a soundtrack for the blind, and idiot gaijin. "He walks to the window. He sees a car pull up outside."

this is true. but doesn't japanese tv have closed captioning that could be turned off and on as desired?

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Idiocy is to watch all these shows Lol

The author watched them? lol

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This is Remy. Thanks for the mass of comments.

In response to Fairyprince's inquiry, well, it's a medium-long story. Since 2008, my local anime convention (Hawaii's Kawaii-Kon) has held a Jeopardy-styled game show. Three random attendees are selected to test their knowledge on various series, genres, industry trends, and so on. I was in the audience for the first year. The host... well. The host was vapid at best. He had about as much charisma as a dead battery. His pronunciation of both English and Japanese was heinous.

In one instance, there was an apparent miscommunication as to which question had which answer. For said question, none of the contestants knew the answer, and neither did the host. When he read off what his information had as the correct answer, a good third of the audience groaned. At this point, with nothing to lose but more patience, I screamed the correct answer out loud.

I assure you, I'm neither otaku nor retarded.

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Please pardon the double-post, but yes, I watch NEP League, Hexagon, etc. on an off-regular basis. On average, this is about as idiotic as typing "lol" at the end of every sentence, complete or otherwise.

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thanks for the creative article, we did not know that already.

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You might have, but I didn't. Hence the article. :)

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Hahaha.

Wish I could have been there to see that!

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Thankfully, I heard this year's show was much better. The questions were far too easy, but at least the host did his job right.

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Intellegent Japanese TV game show is an oxymoron. Anybody who watched Takeshi's Castle knows that. Oops, dating myself....

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Takeshi's Castle probably wasn't meant to be intelligent. :p Considering how much head trauma was likely acquired by the hordes of contestants...

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I still prefer that kind of tv shows and jdrama than other stuff.... at least is fun

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I'm surprised about this. I always thought the Japanese were more dignified and intelligent than, well, than everyone.

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