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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Japanizi Going, Going, Gong! Television Show

Sometimes I'm just embarrassed by what passes for television entertainment.

And this is coming from me! Me... whose television is his plastic, fantastic lover since there's fug-all else to do. I could write more blogs, but I don't want to be too much of a Japan whore.

So... I've had this on tap for about four months now. I've tried to record it with my camera's movie camera option... it works okay, I suppose, but the sound pick-up is awful...

Having said that, so too is the most racist stereotypical kid's show I have ever seen: Japanizi "Going, Going, Gong!" ("ゴーイング、ゴーイング、ゴング!").

This is a Canadian children's game show that is supposed to be a play on the typical Japanese game show... silliness combined with stupid stunts. But it still seems like racist profiling to me.

In this TV reality show, pairs of contestants compete against other teams tackling challenges rife with obstacles meant to test their mental capabilities, strength, endurance, and smarts.

Though perhaps less on smarts, considering they are on this show.

Let's take a look at the show from an episode I recorded back on February 23, 2014:
Holy sh!t, right?

Look at the host... this is Amao Yoshi (surname first), who along with sourpuss Judge Masa played by Hashimoto Masayuki (surname first) also star in the show with Glasses Man and Shinobi the English translator. Shinobi is a ninja, because that is also what shinobi translates to.

There's plenty of Japanese spoken in the show, but it's not to educate - it's to confuse the contestants. Still, the show is done mostly in English because, after all, it is filmed here in Toronto.... and has the blessing of both the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre AND the Consulate General of Japan in Toronto, both of whom, in my opinion, fail to see that the entire show - it's concept - makes fun of Japan... putting it in a bad light.

I've been to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre on a few occasions and they seem to have a great deal of respect for all thing Japanese... and the Consulate General of Japan in Toronto... I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure THAT was where I went for my personal interview to get into the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme!

These are both pretty straight-laced organizations that are pro-Japanese and have been careful in preserving the dignity and culture of Japan here in Toronto/Canada.... so WTF is up with their being listed on the end credits of this show?!?! Japanizi Going, Going, Gong! actually offers special thanks to these two organizations!


Now... Japanizi Going, Going, Gong! is an adaptation of the American ABC network reality show I Survived A Japanese Game Show, originally called Big in Japan, and was created by David Sidebotham.

The contestants are kids aged 12-16 from all around Canada, and I can only hope they don't think Japan is really like this - just its stupid and inane "reality" television programs are.

Taken from Wikipedia, here's a list of all the challenges that are on the show:
This is a listing of the various challenges performed on the show.
  • Hungry Man Pizza Drop: Teams, dressed as slices of pizza, must take turns carrying stacks of pizza boxes across a tilting bridge ove a pool and set them up on tables on the opposite side, while the show's "ninjas" throw balls to try and knock the players into the pool.
  • Happy Penguin Fun/Quick Slick Tobogganing Trick: Teams are dressed in penguin suits (or placed in a toboggan). One at a time--and with aid of one of the show's "ninjas"--they slide down a ramp, trying stop on a bullseye-style target at the end of the ramp without overshooting and landing in the pool. Players score five points if their midsection touches the outermost red ring, 10 points if it touches the center white ring, and 15 points if it touches the innermost blue ring. No points are scored if the player fails to reach the target or overshoots and lands in the pool.
  • Human Sticky Jump: Teams are dressed in Velcro suits. One member from each team must then run down a ramp towards a Velcro wall with an outline pattern pictured, jump on a small trampoline and try to land on the wall to match up the wall's pattern as closely as possible. Judge Masa decides which player best filled the pattern. The team who scores two out of three jumps first wins.
  • Fish and Slips: Teams work together carrying giant fish from a central supply on one end of the course to their collection boxes on the other, battling a greased floor, gale-force winds, as well as objects thrown by the show's "ninjas".
  • Silly Soccer Penalty Kick: One at a time, each team member tries to kick as many soccer balls into a goal as possible. The trick? They're wearing special goggles that distort their vision and aiming ability.
  • Lucky Miso Noodle Party: Teammates alternate collecting soup in their bowl and transporting it from one side of the course to the other and transferring it to a collection container. Falls force the players to return to the start and try again.
  • Teazy Does It: Contestants take turns on a moving conveyor belt, while attempting to serve cups of tea to guests. As the cups fill the conveyor belt speeds up. The aim is to fill as many teacups as possible before falling off the conveyor belt.
  • Most Extreme Froggy Hop: Teammates alternate carrying "froggy eggs" across small spinning platforms, depositing them in the bowls on the other side of the course.
  • Fine Feathered Frenzy: Dressed as ducks, teams alternate carrying golden "duck eggs" across a tilting bridge over a pool, while avoiding balls thrown by the show's "ninjas".
  • Bubble Tea Bungee Bungle: Teammates become Chef and Waiter for this stunt. Each is tethered by a bungee cord to a central platform. The Chef must reach one end of the course and pour cups of "bubble tea", then hand them over to the Waiter, who must serve them to "customers" on the other end.
  • Cutting Ties: One teammate sits above a tank of water while the other stands before a series of colored tubes. The standing teammates must one at a time choose which tubes to cut until one finally cuts the tube that dunks their partner.
God help me, but there are a scheduled 40 episodes for Season One, which appears unabashed on the YTV network here in Canada.

Actually... I don't know if I am embarrassed for Japan, for YTV, for the actors and the audience members or for the Consulate General of Japan in Toronto and the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre who think this is a good promotion of Japan for Canada and 'the world'.

Okay... it is a kind of an entertaining show.

Andrew Joseph

1 comment:

  1. If Japan wants to export it's "Soft Power" and it's image of "Cool Japan" this is included in the cultural export list.

    As Japan generally speaking doesn't have a sense of racism that western countries do, then they do not see this as an issue. Inversely, they would surely get support from government agencies and communities abroad.

    As Canadians, perhaps there might be an issue, however to claim this is racist as a non-Japanese...
    As a Canadian with Japanese decent, living in Tokyo, my opinion is that if this is what the Japanese "soft power" push is about then let it be, if a Canadian show comes out of the mix, then unless there are issues, let it be.

    All I can say is my personal opinion, which is this level of comedy is appropriate for a young age group or the 1930s. Japanese love it, and so might kids.
    If this picks up in the realm of adults then we have issues a-la "idiocracy" movie