Japanese Prank Shows

The concept of a ‘prank’ show on television appears to be a universally popular platform of entertainment in Western and Eastern society. In Japanese culture games/ prank shows are extremely common and consist of many elaborate pranks involving multiple different people agreeing to trick an unknowing participant.

Japanese prank shows differ from that of American prank shows as their pranks are more strategically crafted and outlandish than that of Western or America prank shows. It is this that makes their shows stand out across cultures as exciting and hilarious.

I was sitting with my sister –in-law the other night and she showed me a link on YouTube of a Japanese prank show where there is a woman sitting in a hallway out the front of an elevator with her cleavage out and a low cut shirt. They then get 10 men to walk by and wait for the elevator. Little do these men know they are secretly being filmed for a prank show. There is a timer placed and everytime the man looks at the woman’s “assets” more time is added to his elevator wait. In this prank show the men are then showed in the audience of the game show showing them watching their reactions. This style of prank show is a lot more controversial than the type of prank shows you see on western commercial television. The Japanese have original and inventive ideas for ways in which to embarrass and publicly shame one another, IT’S GREAT!

How does this differ to Western prank shows: Japanese prank shows push social boundaries that western culture are to ‘shy’ or ‘politically correct’ to present. Japanese game shows often are more outlandish and present a more openly sexual or more contrived elaborate element than western society.

The main cultural struggle I found with this video was the language barrier. Due to the videos lack of subtitle it made it slightly challenging to initially understand what was happening, however even though these language barriers exist I was still able to enjoy the basic structure of the prank.

Here below is the Japanese prank show: 






  1. Hi Emily,

    Your topic sounds brilliant, I am almost jealous! You will have so much fun with researching this and I can imagine it won’t ever get tedious!

    It seems as though you have the ability to compare between the Eastern and Western world very easily as humour is very specific and yet all people can appreciate and understand it. Perhaps the challenge will be what other avenues to go down and how to study this topic over the 13 weeks.

    I can see that you will be exploring the different boundaries which are acceptable in each culture. It is interesting to compare this because we may find the humour funny but whether it is socially acceptable is another question. Is humour socially acceptable?

    I look forward to reading more about Japanese pranks!


  2. Hey Emily

    As Amy has said, your topic sounds so interesting and I am really looking forward to hearing more about Japanese prank shows.

    I am very interested to learn more about the way that prank shows around the world differ from each other and the way that Japanese prank shows would compare to Australian prank shows and more Western societies.

    I think you will have a lot of fun with this topic and look forward to reading more!



  3. That is hilarious! What an entertaining topic to study. Japanese culture is so complex! They have so many ancient and strict traditions (e.g. bowing, hierarchy, etc.) yet there is a whole other side involving weird and colourful anime to the wackiest game shows ever. They really take their pranks to the next level don’t they, I wonder what allows them to push the boundaries so far. I feel like Westerners would just get infuriated at being so humiliated in public. It could be something to do with the collectivist nature of Japanese culture, maybe their group mentality allows them to laugh ‘with’ rather than at… (but that could just be a massive generalisation haha)… or maybe their is a whole underground society of shamed prank victims plotting to seek revenge on their prankers! Again probably not… Definitely in need of further research!


  4. You are completely right! Japanese game shows and prank shows are definitely more out there than Western game shows. They have far more inventive ideas and definitely push social boundaries.

    The amount of videos you can find online can show you how popular these shows really are. I would much rather sit online and look through Japanese game show videos rather than any western game shows.

    As we are doing Japanese game shows for our group assignment, it is interesting to read about it from someone else’s perspective. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts!


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