Downtown, One of My Favorite Japanese Comedies

I was browsing on Youtube and managed to, in a round about way, find one of my favorite Japanese Television comedies online. I am used to not understanding a lot of the dialogue because it’s all in Japanese, but on YouTube there are some members who actually do translations of the show. I really love watching this show near the end of the year because they do a special game every year called a Batsu Game. If you don’t know what Batsu means, it the Japanese word for “X” or incorrect. In these games, four comedians are usually involved: Matsumoto Hitoshi (my favorite), Endo Shozo, Yamasaki Hosei, Tanaka Naoki and the mastermind behind the games is usually Hama-chan or Hamada Masatoshi.

It’s called a Batsu Game because throughout the course of it, members of the group are punished for doing something wrong…in this case laughing. The game comes up with a certain themes: a hospital, a school, a spa, prison, and a hotel among others. and does everything humanly possible to get these comedians to laugh. The punishments can get pretty severe: spanking is the most common punishment, being kicked by a Thai Boxer, being slapped in the face, having metal pans dropped on their heads, or the funniest one (for me) was being shot in the butt with darts…real darts!!

The other option besides the Batsu games is a betting challenge, where the loser has to do some other game that the winner of the bet chooses. This was one of my absolute favorite games from the show. In this particular show, Hamada won a bowling bet against Matsumoto, and the result was Pie Hell. In the Pie Hell game, Matsumoto had to go through a day from dawn to dusk being beaned with pies at every turn. He couldn’t dodge the pies, he simply had to pretend that the crew and throwers didn’t exist. He also had to carry on as usual after he was hit by the pie. Even though my Japanese isn’t the best, I found this pretty funny:

This clip is from one the Batsu Games: Don’t Laugh in High School. In this one, comedian Jimmy Onishi is struggling to read in English and I thought it was SUPER funny. The other comedians just couldn’t hold it together whatsoever. Endo Shozo was hit repeatedly by wooden sticks for laughing so much. Truly entertaining stuff:

Needless to say, the producers generally come up with some pretty intricate plans to make the overall show funny and entertaining.

Thank you for watching/reading,


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Donald Ash is an ATLien expat who has been living in a Japanese time warp for the last six years. While in aforesaid time warp, he discovered that he absolutely loves writing, blogging, and sharing. Donald is the creator, writer, designer, editor, programmer, and occasional bad artist of blog (that's just way too many hats, dude). Wanna know more about this guy? Check out his "What's Your Story" page.
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