The Sad Story of Nasubi – Japanese “Living off Contests”

nasubiA certain sad story about a wild japanese gameshow is popping up on few blogs and I thought I’d share. In January of 1998, a Japanese comedian named Nasubi participated in a reality TV show in Japan in which he was stripped of everything and sent into a room. The place was empty save a stack of magazines and postcards. To survive, he had to win one million yen (about $9,000) by mailing in contest entries. Everything he eats must also be won through the mail. You can read the full story here.

So what was the point? The article concludes

…it was to test the thesis that contests had become so ubiquitous that it would be possible to live entirely on what one had won in them. This was called kensho seikatsu (Living off contests).

I think the psychological trauma this caused is the most horrible bit. The most disturbing part reads

Nasubi’s first ordeal ended in December. The thing that put him over the top was, of course, a bag of rice. Unfortunately, he didn’t know that he had won and continued writing postcards. That night, he was paid another visit by the producer, who crept in with Christmas crackers to wake him up in the middle of the night. There was nothing congratulatory in the producer’s manner as he refused to answer Nasubi’s questions, and continued setting off the Christmas Cracker’s until Nasubi realized that he had successfully completed his challenge. Nasubi was curled up into a foetal position, and seemed unused to talking to other people.

Nasubi’s website is a bit hard to read, but you can find it here.
For an unhealthy dose of some other exciting and less depressing Japanese shows, mash here.
I think it would now be appropriate to recommend a highly relevant book to the issues (Japan and other things we don’t understand about them) at hand:


Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships
On another related note (It’s Japanese tangent night, didn’t you hear?) take a peak at Kimiko Yoshida’s Futuristic Brides {link}

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