The Wild World of Japanese Game Shows: 10 Weirdest Gems

“Japan is a well-known country with a plethora of unique features. Additionally, Japanese game shows stand out as prime examples. The hosts of these shows often engage in the most bizarre activities, featuring odd attire adorned with flashing lights and subjecting contestants to borderline-torturous physical challenges.

Furthermore, the realm of Japanese animation, known as anime, mirrors this eccentricity, akin to the intensity of the Saw film series. These game shows strike a balance between fun and sheer craziness.

12 Bizarre Japanese Game Shows

1. “Candy or Not Candy” – In this deceptively simple challenge, famous contestants must discern whether what they’re about to put in their mouths is candy or an everyday object cunningly crafted to resemble it. Contestants must resist the temptation to eat inanimate objects like shoes or doorknobs that are recreated in chocolate form using an art style called “sokkuri.”

2. “DERO! DERO!” – Contestants in this game show grapple with problem-solving under extreme stress. They face high-pressure scenarios, such as standing on retracting planks and might also get trapped in rapidly filling rooms.


3. “TORE!” – Beyond simply answering questions, Japanese game shows like “TORE!” require contestants to endure unique penalties for incorrect answers. In this game, contestants must answer seven questions before they completely mummify themselves, wrapping from head to toe and placing themselves inside a makeshift tomb.

4. “Human Tetris” – Contestants perch on a platform while walls close in on them. The key to surviving this humorous and entertaining game is contorting one’s body to fit through increasingly challenging cutouts, leading to the elimination of most players.

5. “It’s the Bum Game” – Sometimes, Japanese game shows are less about skill and strategy and more about entertainment. In this game, women hide their identities by placing their bottoms into molds, and other participants must identify them solely based on the shapes of their behinds.

6. “AKBingo!” – A seemingly harmless game of dodgeball takes a twisted turn as a comedy duo devises punishments for the players who hit others. The objective is to escalate the “disgust factor,” with one penalty involving two girls inflating a giant insect into tubes, leaving the winner with the bug in her mouth.


7. “Riddles at the Ends of the Earth!” – Contestants on this reality show globetrot while taking on bizarre challenges. For instance, they may place themselves inside a Plexiglas cube known as the “predator box” to confront wildlife. In one case, a bear was released, and the contestant had to film the entire encounter while they were swiped at by the bear.


Predator Shield Demo for Japanese TV from Randy Miller Predators In Action on Vimeo.

8. “Be Cute or Get Pie” – Abruptly awakening from their slumber, women must instantly exhibit their cuteness. Judges evaluate their efforts, and those deemed not cute enough receive a pie in the face. Achieving instant cuteness upon waking is a daunting task, and the wake-up calls are far from gentle. Critics claim the show sends problematic messages, especially targeting younger girls, implying a need to conform to evolving cuteness standards. “Be Cute or Get Pie” is one such show among many Japanese game shows. While some of these shows don’t always portray women positively, it’s one where participants remain clothed.

9. “Strip the Girl” – In this game, male contestants face challenging, embarrassing tasks to undress women next to objects. Contestants aim to clear sections on the divided game board by throwing beans into the numbered boxes.


10. “Spread Your Legs” – Three women and three players participate in this brutal game. One player spins a wheel. Another secures themselves in a torture-like contraption. The third controls the machine. The wheel’s outcome determines the degree to which the torture device spreads the woman’s legs. The criteria for determining a winner remain unclear.”


Also read about Studio Ghibli Acquired by Nippon TV: A New Chapter in Animation History

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