Will Japanese Gameshows Be the Next Anime?

Posted by Michael Pinto on Nov 17, 2008 in Japanese TV |

The Japanese gameshow Hole in a Wall

What’s great about Anime is that for the last 40 years it has introduced Japanese pop culture to a very wide global audience. Now while it’s true that J-pop has done very well in Asia, it’s never reached the critical mass that Anime has reaching everywhere from Russia to South Africa. While I wouldn’t expect Japanese gameshows to inspire the same depth of fandom, I think it could very well open the door to a different demographic that Anime might not include:

Japanese gameshows score globally

“Once such a hard sell, Japanese gameshow formats are a hot item overseas, especially in the West.
Formats such as “Hole in the Wall,” originally a segment on a Fuji TV variety show in which contestants contort themselves to fit through cutouts in moving panels, have been sold to 33 territories worldwide, including the U.S. and U.K., thanks in large part to the buzz they created on YouTube. The U.S. version of the show, which bowed on Fox this fall, was a ratings flop, and has since been axed.

Still there are plenty other Japanese game formats out there, including obstacle course “Sasuke,” which aired as three hourlong specials on the Tokyo Broadcasting System, and has inspired copycats. Both shows have aired in the U.S. Cabler G4 ran an edited version of “Sasuke” called “Ninja Warrior,” and Spike TV has broadcast footage from “Takeshi’s Castle” for its “MXC” skein.”

Here’s a clip from Hole in the Wall:

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