Tomoaki Hamatsu (浜津 智明 Hamatsu Tomoaki?, born August 3, 1975), better known as Nasubi (なすび?, "Eggplant"), is a Japanese comedian who was held up in an apartment for Susunu! Denpa Shōnen (January 1998 — March 2002), a Japanese reality television show on Nippon Television, after winning a lottery for a "show business related job". He was forced to enter mail-in sweepstakes until he won ¥1 million (about US$10,000) in total. He started with nothing (including no clothes), was cut off from outside communication and broadcasting, and had nothing to keep him company except magazines. After spending 335 days to reach his target, he ended up setting the new Guinness world record for the "longest time survived on competition winnings".
Nasubi lived in front of the camera, with only the possessions he won via the sweepstakes, and the stacks of postcards for entering the sweepstakes. Due to his nudity, an eggplant cartoon graphic was strategically utilized when Nasubi was standing on camera. Nasubi is the Japanese word for "eggplant"—the nickname was chosen due to his 30 cm long and bony face which slants like an Japanese eggplant.
Upon reaching his goal, he was clothed and blindfolded and taken to a surprise location. Nasubi happily went along believing he was going to get a special treat for his hard work. After they unblindfolded him, he found himself in South Korea where he was shown around town and taken to an apartment. He was once again stripped of his clothes and forced to enter sweepstakes, this time to win enough money to get back home. The entire ordeal lasted some 15 months, during which time the diaries on his experience being locked away from the outside world became a best seller in Japan.
Ironically, with the rigors he went through in order to become a famous comedian, Nasubi was unable to succeed in the TV variety world. Instead, he became a local talent in his native Fukushima as well as a dramatic stage actor, founding the stage troupe Eggplant Way, and performs across Japan. He has starred in Densha Otoko, Trick, Atashinchi no Danshi, and recently portrayed the character Watcherman in Kamen Rider W.
- Za Gaman, another popular Japanese game show that also focused on the suffering of contestants.
- syberpunk.com Nasubi[dead link] An article with all the details on Nasubi's experience.
- Article about the show and Japanese culture
- Nasubi (archived), Quirky Japan Homepage.
- "Human Spectacle". This American Life. Episode 529. 27 June 2014. Public Radio Exchange. WBEZ. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/529/human-spectacle. Retrieved 28 June 2014. An interview with Nasubi, and the story of his experiences on Susunu! Denpa Shōnen.