Why Do I Like Japanese Comedies & Japanese Game Shows So Much?

You gotta love YouTube. I came across these videos from this Japanese game show that I saw a while back and I wanted to show everyone (unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the show). Because my Japanese still isn’t at a native level, I often rely on YouTube videos to get the English subtitles I need. The great thing about some Japanese comedies/game shows though, is that you don’t need to know a single ounce of Japanese to understand why they’re good. Check out these three clips…they are brilliant:

These videos speak to the creativity behind Japanese comedy and other Japanese game shows. Creativity is what attracts me most about Japanese game shows and comedies.
I have mentioned Gaki no Tsukai (long name Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende, “No Job for Kids” or “This Job Isn’t for Kids”) several times because it’s one of my favorite Japanese comedy programs. The Batsu games, where members of the crew get hit for laughing, are so well-thought-out and so funny, that you almost can’t help watching. I believe that true comedy or a good came show can be entertaining enough to even bridge a language gap. That’s what I like about the comedians from Downtown because I don’t necessarily have to be fluent in Japanese to get why it’s funny, it’s just funny. Yes, some of the physical comedy gags, can be cheap or even downright cheesy, but it suits me perfectly…my humor is often as cheesy as it gets.

Another great example is Sasuke, or in English “Ninja Warrior”. You watch people attempt to finish this ninja obstacle course in a given time limit. The show has a following in the U.S., even though you may not be able to understand the announcer. Why is is popular? I think Sasuke relies on curiosity, the sense of competition, and human empathy to make the show what it is. The obstacle courses themselves are spectacles to behold, and instantly people are engaged by how tough the challenges seem. Sasuke is more of friendly competition. Competitors often root for each other because the courses can be tough for everybody…but it is competition nonetheless. The empathetic element comes from all of the onlookers…you hope and hope that these guys make it through the next obstacle. It’s great programming, too:

There is actually a Sasuke training course in Tokyo. I plan on going there this year. And you know I’m going film it :)

Until I have a better understanding of the nuances of Japanese, I will stick to my bread-and-butter, physical, Japanese comedies and game shows it’s a great way to hear snippets of Japanese between native speakers and be entertained at the same time. Learning and laughing…what more can you ask for?

Donald Ash

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  • Roger Starkey

    These are good shows to watch to get your Japanese going. Your students likely know some (if not all) of the comedians, and more than anything, you get to see a lot of places in Japan that you wouldn’t think of.

    Truth is, I still find myself laughing at them, and last night I watched one where people got smacked in the face with a giant rubber band for no reason…and I laughed.

    Baseball is another good way to pick up Japanese; same pattern in every game.

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  • Clover Elgrove

    American Ninja Warrior? :0

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