Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!

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Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!
Two men on a colorful stage surrounded by a large audience
Gaki no Tsukai's "free talk" segment.
Genre Variety
Starring Hitoshi Matsumoto
Masatoshi Hamada
Hōsei Tsukitei
Naoki Tanaka
Shōzō Endō
Opening theme Coldcut, "Theme From Reportage" (1989-2017)
Country of origin Japan
Original language(s) Japanese
No. of episodes 1378
(as of 29 October 2017)
Executive producer(s) Kenji Suga
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Yoshimoto Kogyo
Original network Nippon TV
Original release October 3, 1989 (1989-10-03)[1] – present
External links
Official website at Nippon TV

Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで!!, Dauntaun no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!, lit. "Downtown's This Is No Task for Kids!"), often abbreviated Gaki no Tsukai (ガキの使い) or just Gaki Tsuka (ガキ使), is a Japanese variety show hosted by popular Japanese owarai duo, Downtown, with comedian Hōsei Tsukitei (formerly known as Hōsei Yamasaki) and owarai duo Cocorico co-hosting. The program has been broadcast on Nippon TV since its pilot episode on October 3, 1989 and continues to this day, celebrating its 1000th episode on April 18, 2010. The program currently broadcasts on Nippon TV and its regional affiliates from 23:25 until 23:55 JST.


Regular cast[edit]

  • Downtown, one of the most influential and prolific kombi in Japan,[2][3] who are known for their sarcastic, short-tempered stage personas.
  • Hōsei Tsukitei (月亭方正, Tsukitei Hōsei),[6][7] part of the regular cast since 1990. His role on the show is usually divided up between the suberi-kyara (the unfunny character who tries very hard to be funny, but fails) and the ijime-kyara (the underdog who gets bullied and picked on, often physically). Formerly known as Hōsei Yamasaki (山崎 邦正 Yamasaki Hōsei) on the show, however at times the rest of the regulars will call him Yamachan or Hosei-san.
  • Cocorico,[6] part of the regular cast since 1997.[7]
    • Naoki Tanaka (田中直樹, Tanaka Naoki), the boke half of Cocorico.
    • Shōzō Endō (遠藤章造, Endō Shōzō), the tsukkomi half of Cocorico.

Supporting cast[edit]

  • License (Kazuhiro Fujiwara (藤原一裕, Fujiwara Kazuhiro) and Takafumi Inomoto (井本貴史, Inomoto Takafumi)). A comedy duo that works at the show and has occasionally joined the regular cast. Fujiwara is also known as "Vacuum Fujiwara" because of his eating ability, which is used as a running gag in some skits.
  • Hideaki Onishi (大西秀明, Ōnishi Hideaki). Often called by his stage name, 'Jimmy Onishi' (ジミー大西, Jimī Ōnishi). Left the regular cast in 1996 to pursue a painting career. He has subsequently made several appearances in pre-taped segments that are shown to the cast in the "No-Laughing" batsu games, since 2005. In the videos, Onishi portrays an inane version of himself appearing in various roles, saying or doing things that are inane/off-the-wall, usually repeatedly, in an attempt to make the cast laugh.
  • Kenji Suga (菅賢治, Suga Kenji). Chief producer. Appears in various sketches often as himself or as various characters during batsu games. As well as appearing in person during these, his likeness is often used for comedic effect in various ways—for instance, appearing on humorous posters, or as a stone bust. The name "Gāsū" (ガースー), a reversal of the kana in his given name, is also referenced in similar ways. He retired from the show in late 2017.
  • Toshihide Saitō (斉藤敏豪, Saitō Toshihide). Chief director. Usually referred to by his nickname, Heipō (ヘイポー). Several sketches and games are based on his complete inability to stomach scary things (however silly they may be) and his perverted nature. He also appears whenever the cast needs an extra man around such as in "Silent library" and "No Laughing at the News agency" where he and Tanaka were paired up to do a Blair Witch kind of challenge in a nearby forest. He also took Hamada's place in the "Kiki Ketchup" series when the former was hospitalized.
  • Hiroshi Fujiwara (藤原 寛, Fujiwara Hiroshi). Downtown's former manager. Often seen portraying a female character during batsu games, where he meets up with the participants and guides them through the game. He often stutters and speaks incoherently, and generally displays a great deal of incompetence in serious matters.
  • Yoshinobu Nakamura (中村喜伸, Nakamura Yoshinobu). Producer of the show, often used when a 6th person is needed for a skit. Has appeared in batsu games and has shown his ability to withstand pain.
  • Itsuji Itao (板尾創路, Itao Itsuji). A member of the comedy duo 130R and former cast member of Downtown's Gottsu Ee Kanji. Appears often in batsu games. Itao has had six different women portraying his "wife" throughout the series, one of whom, Sherri, is best known for her dancing along to Madonna (Namely, Material Girl and Like a Virgin) in the No Laughing High School batsu game and the No Laughing at the Police station Batsu game.

Recurring guests[edit]

  • Ameagari Kesshitai (Hiroyuki Miyasako (宮迫博之, Miyasako Hiroyuki) and Tōru Hotohara (蛍原徹, Hotohara Tōru)). A comedy duo that has occasionally joined the regular cast.
  • Obachan Ichigo (おばちゃん一号)浅見千代子 (Asami, Chiyoko) and Obachan Sango (おばちゃん三号)三城晃子 (Mishiro, Akiko); literally, Old Lady #1 and Old Lady #3. Two elderly women who often appear in the batsu games, dressed in strange outfits (on one occasion they dressed as t.A.T.u.) or getting the cast into compromising positions. A running gag is that of cast members being forced to French kiss Obachan Ichigo and Sango under unusual circumstances. Obachan Sango died of multiple organ failure at the age of 65 on 27 July 2011 00:10.[8]
  • David Hossein, known as Konya ga Yamada (今夜が山田 or 今夜がやまだ, literally "Tonight is Yamada"). Former manager of Thane Camus. He played a role as a ringside doctor in Dynamite Shikoku's wrestling matches (Dynamite being a character played by Endō). During the "No Laughing" batsu games, he says "Tonight is crucial" over and over in different variations (sometimes singing it) while the cast try to sleep. "Konya ga yama da" means "tonight is crucial" in Japanese, but Yamada intentionally mispronounces, breaks up, or makes strange mutations of the phrase, such as "Honya ga yama da", translated as "The Bookstore is crucial", etc.
  • Africa Chūō TV (アフリカ中央テレビ, Afurika Chūō Terebi) Director role played by Craig Nine. A film crew consisting of a director, sound man, & camera man, who supposedly come all the way from Africa to suddenly interview cast members. While being interviewed, the director shows cue cards for instructions such as "Show your genitals". The Director also has a tendency to cut people off in the middle of speaking, or making them extend their answers for Yes, No questions. Africa Chūō TV has appeared in various Batsu Games, New Year Specials, & Mori Man Yamazaki Wrestling match.
  • Hidetoshi Hoshida (星田英利), better known as Hosshan (ほっしゃん。). Another comedian who makes appearances during the batsu games. His signature trick is sticking things up his nose and coughing it out through his mouth. This gag consistently makes the cast laugh.
  • Ayako Nishikawa (西川史子, Nishikawa Ayako). A former Miss Japan who later became a physician. She makes a guest appearance as Heipō's "date", as the medical examiner in the police batsu game, and as the anesthesiologist in the hospital batsu game. Her roles tend to be sadistic, often used to great humorous effect. She also appeared in an episode where Endō was trying to find a "new" Chiaki through a "Chiaki Audition".
  • Chiaki (千秋). Endō's ex-wife (they divorced in December 2007).[9] Chiaki usually appears in the No-Laughing batsu games, doing something cute and attempting to make the cast laugh. Since the batsu games frequently have the cast stuck in a waiting room or hotel room between skits, another running gag involves Endō being tricked into opening a desk drawer and finding several pictures of his wife in it. (In the No-Laughing High School batsu game, a recording of Endō shouting "Chiaki! I love you!" was played twice while the cast attempted to sleep, and Endō's PE shirt had "Chiaki LOVE" written in pink letters on a pink tag in lieu of his name.) During the Hospital Batsu Game, she appeared as a nurse to give Endō words of encouragement. Endō states that they had talked the night before about whether or not she had any involvement with the game and she lied to him that she didn't. The divorce of the couple has not put an end to her appearances in the batsu games. In segments mainly targeting Endo, she claims to have found a new husband only known as "Shin-Onii", a play on her old nickname for her ex-husband.
  • Shin Onii (新おにぃ, Shin Onii) (Real Name is Maejima Koichi 前島コーイチ).Chiaki's "new" husband featured in the Newspaper Agency game. Although Shin Onii regularly works as an extra, he is known for his notoriously terrible celebrity impersonations during the No-Laughing batsu games. He is also known for his stammer and poor acting in pre-taped sketches during the No-Laughing batsu games.
  • Takahiro Matsumoto (松本隆博, Matsumoto Takahiro). Hitoshi Matsumoto's older brother. He makes occasional appearances in the batsu games, sometimes singing and playing guitar. Not to be mistaken for guitarist Takahiro Matsumoto of the popular rock band B'z. In the Hospital Batsu Game, Hitoshi Matsumoto finds a fake book in his drawer written by his brother, titled "Hitoshi, Do You Remember These?"
  • Hanako Yamada (山田花子, Yamada Hanako). A strange girl who often tries to talk to the cast (much to their dismay) during the No-Laughing games. She often lures them into mistakenly talking to her (such as calling them to her bathroom in the No-Laughing High School game or making them open a car, only to find her terribly drunk and lingering in the back seat in the No-Laughing Police Station game) and will latch onto some part of their body when the victim tries to leave. Her years as a comedian are often used as a running gag whenever she encounters Endō, as she has been in the entertainment business for a longer period of time.
  • Hackam Naronpat. A professional Thai-Kick Boxer. He has appeared in many of Gaki no Tsukai's programs. He is best known for his appearance in the annual New Year's 24-hour batsu game for delivering Thai-Kick to Tanaka.
  • Masahiro Chono (蝶野 正洋, Chōno Masahiro). a retired professional wrestler. He debuted in the High School Batsu and has subsequently been a recurring guest. His signature starting from the Hospital Batsu is to shout "GOD DAMN!" upon introduction or when entering a room. A running gag has Chono smacking Yamazaki violently across the face after Yamazaki has apparently crossed him. Yamazaki is in fact the victim of a setup in these cases. Yamazaki reacts with extreme fear of the slap, usually resulting in screaming and begging, to which invokes a lot of laughter in his coworkers and leading to their own punishments.[10]
  • Shōhei Shōfukutei (笑福亭笑瓶, Shōfukutei Shōhei). A rakugo artist. He is also known for the ショウヘイヘイ! (Shōhei-Hey!) phrase said in the police batsu game.[4] He also appears in person in the hospital and newspaper games. In the episode containing Hamada's trial in 2007 it was suggested that he is Downtown's senpai or senior as Hamada actually bowed in front of him.
  • Ichiro Ito (伊藤 一朗, Itō Ichirō). The Guitarist of a pop/soft-rock duo ELT (Every Little Thing) in Japan. He is known in the series for being a soft-spoken person and subjected to being pinched in the nose or ear by a Kuwagata Beetle, known as Stag Beetle.
  • Rola (ローラ, Rōra). A Japanese fashion model and tarento. She debuted in 2011's Airport Batsu Game. In the series, she is known to have a childish persona and laughs at almost everything she says in attempt to make the cast laugh. She is seen playing different roles in the series as it progresses. Rola's most notable work in the series is portraying the famous detective character, Furuhata Ninzaburō, in 2015's No Laughing Detective Agency.
  • Claudia Umemiya (梅宮 クラウディア, Umemiya Kuraudia). The wife of veteran actor Tatsuo Umemiya and mother of model Anna Umemiya. She is known in the series for her choppy acting during the stage performances and also her inability to remember her lines. Her voice is usually pre-recorded for the performances and played out during her acts. Her most notable performance is when she portrayed Rocky during the 2009's Hotelman series.
  • Anna Tsuchiya (土屋 アンナ, Tsuchiya Anna): Appeared in two year end batsu games with comic Yuki Himura as the comedic duo Double Cheesecake, a fictional comedy duo that uses material from other comics. [11]
  • Shoji Murakami.
  • Moriman.
  • Piccadilly Umeda.
  • Egashira 2:50.


Batsu Games[edit]

A popular segment from the No-Laughing High School batsu game, in which Comedian Jimmy Ōnishi struggles with the English language.[7]

Perhaps the best known Gaki no Tsukai episodes are those dealing with batsu games, or punishment games, in which one or more of the cast members are subjected to after losing bets, major competition, or physical challenges.

The "No Laughing" batsu game itself (broadcast annually during the New Year's Holiday) was first introduced in 2003.[4] The premise of each "No Laughing"-punishment game is that the losing members of the cast have to endure many compromising, absurd, generally ridiculous situations for a long period of time (up to 24-hours, thus far) but must refrain from laughing at any of them. Whenever someone does laugh the announcer of the game will declare that person as having just become "out" (アウト or a-u-to in Katakana); immediately afterwards, the appropriate number of "hang-men" will come out to mete the rule breaker's punishment. Most of the time, this punishment is a single strike on the buttocks with a weapon,[12] but some punishments have included a blow dart shot into the buttocks, a slap to the face or a kick to the side of the upper leg by a Muay Thai practitioner.[4]

To keep the participants on their toes, there have been occasions where other conditions besides laughing had been set that could make them out, if fulfilled; also, the "victors" of the preliminary trial (if there are any) can make appearances during games to wreak further mischief and potentially cause even more discomfort to the losers.

List of Batsu Games[edit]

The following is a complete list of batsu games featured on Gaki no Tsukai.

  • Jan. 23, 1990: Havoc Maker In The Morning News

After losing a bet (Bet aired on Jan. 16, 1990) on who would win the Kōhaku Uta Gassen singing competition, Matsumoto had to wreak havoc in the morning news show "Zoom In!! Asa!" that was broadcast live.[13]

  • May 8, 1990: Advertising the Show in a S&M Way

Matsumoto played a game of shiritori (Game aired on Apr. 24, 1990) with Hamada, with an additional rule: all words used were to contain the syllable "su" (す). Matsumoto lost the game after he repeated one of his words. As a consequence, he had to advertise Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende! on TV, in a sadomasochistic way.[13]

  • Aug. 7, 1990: Hamada 4000 Meter skydive

Hamada lost a bet (Bet aired on Jul. 24, 1990) to Matsumoto, in which they predicted who would win the 1990 Japan Series in Nippon Professional Baseball. The batsu Game would be for Hamada, who has an acute fear of heights, to skydive from a height of 4000 meters above ground.[13][4]

  • Dec. 25, 1990: Welcome!

Hamada won a golf game (Game aired on Dec. 11, 1990) and Matsumoto had to welcome a group of people into a room, dressed in a kimono and make-up, portraying a female Japanese hostess.[13]

  • Feb. 19, 1991: Swim In The Winter!

Matsumoto lost a baseball game (Game aired on Feb. 12, 1991) and had to swim in the chilly waters, together with his team.[13]

  • Jun. 4, 1991: Roller Coaster

This is the first time audiences are involved. Matsumoto and 500 other people competed in a dodgeball game (Game aired on May 28, 1991) with Hamada and 500 other people. Matsumoto lost the game and had to take a roller coaster ride with a bald wig.[13][4]

  • Jan. 19, 1992: Beeeep

This is the second time Hamada and Matsumoto bet (Bet aired on Dec. 29, 1991) on who would win the Kōhaku singing competition. Matsumoto lost and had to be part of the SMPTE color bars testcard prior to the Morning News broadcast 'Live' on TV.[13]

  • Jun. 26, 1992: The Seal

Hamada team and Matsumoto team played a rugby match (Match aired on Jun. 7, 1992) and Matsumoto lost. He had to act like a trained seal and listen to orders by his 'master' Hamada.[13]

  • Jan. 17, 1993: Am I stupid?

This was the third time Hamada and Matsumoto bet (Bet aired on Dec. 20, 1992) on who would win the Kōhaku singing competition. Matsumoto lost again and had to dress as a white dove (the mascot of Nippon Television) prior to NTV's morning programmes, singing the lyrics "Am I stupid? Am I a fool?" to the tune of NTV's opening ID, before shouting "JOAX-TV, daiyon channeru. Kochiawa, Nihon Terebi desu." (lit. "JOAX-TV, channel 4. This is Nippon Television". JOAX-TV is Nippon Television's network callsign, and announcing the callsign, channel and the network's name is customary on Japanese television)[13]

  • Jul 25, 1993: Hama-chan France Evian Trip

Matsumoto challenged Hamada to a high-jump competition (Competition aired on Jul. 11, 1993) and Hamada lost at 1.4m. He had to go to Évian-les-Bains, France with the crew to get Matsumoto a bottle of Evian mineral water straight from the source.[13][4]

  • Feb. 6, 1994: Matsumoto and His Mother

This was the fourth time Hamada and Matsumoto bet (Bet aired on Dec. 26, 1993) on who would win the Kōhaku singing competition. Matsumoto lost again and had to do a comedy skit with his mother on a midnight programme.[13]

  • Apr. 12, 1995: Hama-chan New York City Mechanical Pencil Trip

This was the fifth time Hamada and Matsumoto bet (Bet aired on Dec. 18, 1994) on who would win the Kōhaku singing competition. Hamada lost and had to go to New York City with Suga Kenji to fetch a mechanical pencil that Matsumoto lent to composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. On returning, Matsumoto discovers that the rubber on top of the mechanical pencil is missing so Hamada had to return to New York and recover the rubber.[13]

  • Oct. 19, 1997: Yama Head Shave

After a hidden camera skit to investigate how Yamasaki gets when drunk (aired on September the 14'th 1997) in which Yamasaki was bragging in a drunken state that if he would be given the talk segment of the show he would attract 20% more of the core audience than Downtown could. So Matsumoto and Hamada took him up on that and give him the talk segment. Yamasaki subsequently failed to get the audience behind him and in a panic runs off. The next week the viewers figures came in and showed that Yamasaki only attracted 18% of the core viewers, thus a batsu-game was decided. Yamasaki would have to skydive and while in the air have his head shaven bald, after which he was to visit every single person of the 140 people in the audience that night and apologise in person.

  • Aug. 23, 1998: Gakitanic (Gaki no tsukai — Hamada L.A. de Okan to TITANIC!!)

Hamada loses a golf challenge against the rest of the cast (Challenge aired on May 24, 1998) and must go to Los Angeles with Matsumoto's mother to shoot the love scene from Titanic.[13]

  • Apr. 25 & May 2, 1999: Hama-chan 24 hour Nittere

Hamada loses a golf challenge against the rest of the cast (Challenge aired on Oct. 18, 1998) and had to do about 30 advertisements for Nittere over a 24-hour period.[13]

  • Nov. 21 & 28, 1999: Yamasaki's Hitori Bocchino piano concert

In "Gaki no tsukai - YAMASAKI Scale ga Chiisai Saiban", Yamasaki is brought into the Gaki no Tsukai court to stand trial for the scaredy-cat disposition he exhibits during events, games, and with co-workers. He gets convicted, and is forced to endure the appropriate batsu game as a consequence - a 1-night stay at the empty high-school to play a series of one-piece recitals without being scared by all the traps that were set up for him.[13]

  • Mar. 26, Apr. 2 & 9, 2000: 24-Hour Tag/Onigokko (鬼ごっこ)

A batsu game that took place over the period of 24 hours where all the cast, except Matsumoto, are locked in a sports arena, playing "tag" with various Oni (demons) (who, here,—except for two or three instances {that were on film},—were men dressed in full-body black suits) that were "summoned" to attack at random moments, each with a specific type of punishment written on the suit to be inflicted whenever the victims were tagged. This batsu game is the result of Matsumoto winning the race against the four others in "Gaki no tsukai - 4 tai 1 100m sou Taiketsu!" (on Oct. 17, 1999).[13][4]

  • Aug. 5, 12, 19 & 26, 2001: Haunted Hotel

Matsumoto bet he could win a swimming match (aired on Feb. 11, 2001) against the other four cast members who swam in a relay style while he swam alone the same distance. Mastumoto having lost had to participate in the batsu game, set at a "haunted ryokan" where he had to remain overnight. He endured ghost apparitions, a seemingly empty samurai suit that comes alive, and random bangs on walls, among many other things. The other four members make several appearances to support Matsumoto by bringing him gifts, food, and a movie to help cheer him up. Ultimately they are a part of the antics to scare Matsumoto, such as repeatedly hiding in his room and jumping out to scare him, often scaring themselves in the process.[13]

  • Aug. 4 & 11, 2002: Matsumoto Family Rangers
    (Gaki no tsukai - Souchou Matsumoto RENJAI SHOW!!)

Matsumoto's team (compiled of him and Heipo) loses to Hamada's team in a long-jump segment (long-jump aired on May 5, 2002) due to Heipo's jump failing to beat the other team and has to perform with his father, mother, older sister, and brother as a Sentai/Power Ranger team.[13][4]

  • Nov. 3, 2002: No-Reaction Pie Hell (ノーリアクションパイ地獄)

In this game, Matsumoto is punished for losing a bet (bet aired on Oct. 27, 2002) with Hamada over the 2002 Japan Series. In their bet, Hamada picked the Yomiuri Giants while Matsumoto picked the Seibu Lions; the Giants won the series four games to none. Matsumoto's punishment was having to spend a day at home while Hamada, Endō, Tanaka and Yamasaki threw pies at him whenever they wanted, such as after showering, while using the toilet and while laying in bed, and often on things he touched like the television set and a toaster, non-stop. Matsumoto had to ignore all of this while following prompts from a narrator delivered over a sound-system.[13]

  • Jul. 27, Aug. 3, 10 & 17, 2003: No-Laughing Hot Spring Inn

The first No-Laughing Batsu Game, shot in Yamanashi, it served as the punishment for Matsumoto, Yamasaki, Endō and Tanaka, for losing to Hamada in a 4 vs. 1 bowling match (which aired on May 18, 2003).[4] Getting caught laughing during this game resulted in having a dart from a blow-gun shot into the buttocks. Given the newness of the concept, this punishment game was carried out in a somewhat "primitive" way: the Watchers at times were more lenient with enforcing the rule, some punishments were delivered to the wrong person and the out sound blared rough over the sound-system that was set up through the facility.[13][14]

  • Dec. 14 & 21, 2003: Hama-chan Vladivostok Back Hand

On Oct. 5, 2003, Hamada lost once again to Matsumoto on who would win the 2003 Japan Series, and being unable to see the front side of things, Hamada is forced to go to Vladivostok in order to receive a back hand slap to the face as part of a batsu game. During the game, everything is done in reverse; hotel rooms have everything upside down, Hamada gets pictures of himself and the backs of statues, and many people as well as streets and objects appear during the trip with 'ura' in their names (a pun on 'back') such as former Giants baseball player Hisao Niura.[13]

  • No-Laughing in Yugawara (2004)

In a Russian Roulette style game involving sushi, Hamada, Yamasaki and Tanaka lost and were punished in the second spa-themed no-laughing batsu game, filmed at Yugawara, Kanagawa. A riding crop was the punishment device employed. Matsumoto and Endo joined the game half-way as "The Mad Brothers" in an effort to get the other three to laugh and receive more punishments. This batsu game features Endō's luchador character Dynamite Shikoku.[15]

  • No-Laughing High School (2005)

Matsumoto, Yamasaki, Endō, and Tanaka were punished after losing another Russian Roulette style game in which they shocked themselves. This time, they were sent to 'high school' for one day as students.[4] The punishment weapon for this game was the shinai, and Hamada participated as one of the hang-men, frequently delivering a strong kick along with the regular punishment. It was revealed that this game was shot during Matsumoto's birthday.[16]

  • No-Laughing Police Station (2006)

This batsu game premiered as a three-hour special.[4] The losing players were Hamada, Yamasaki and Endō, who lost at a Russian Roulette style game where large tubs suspended from the studio ceiling were cut loose by the members one by one. Tubs that fell on the players head was considered a loss and earned them a spot in the Batsu Game. The weapon used for the punishments in this game was a straightstick baton. Matsumoto and Tanaka avoided being a part of the batsu game, though, later appeared during the series visiting the three punished players trying to illicit laughs and therefore punishments for them. The hangmen were especially rough when giving discipline to the offenders.[17]

  • No-Laughing Hospital (2007)

For this special, Downtown, Yamasaki and Cocorico all took part in this Hospital themed game and were made to cross-dress as nurses for the series.[4] Yamasaki, who had just completed a hospital stay after being treated for enteritis, was permitted to take some absences during the game. Among the famous guests who performed here were Claudia Umemiya, Touru Emori, Takahiro Matsumoto (Hitoshi Matsumoto's older brother), Sonny Chiba, Masahiro Chono, Ryuichi Kosugi, Antonio Inoki, Ichiro Mizuki and Endō's ex-wife Chiaki. (As a side note, it was during this game that the record at the time for most punishment-strikes ever inflicted was set by Hitoshi Matsumoto who received a total of 259 slaps.)[18]

  • No-Laughing Newspaper Agency (2008)

For the second time around, all five members of Gaki No Tsukai took part in the annual punishment game. This year the chosen setting was a newspaper agency, where the members spent the series working as and dressed like journalists.[4] Endō's ex-wife Chiaki made a guest appearance in a conference about her "new husband". In keeping with the theme of the punishment game, giant latex pencils were used to strike anyone who had been declared out. Other guests included Mayo Kawasaki, Claudia Umemiya, Gajirou Satou and Yuuki Meguro [19]

  • No-Laughing Hotel Employee (2009)

For the third consecutive time, Downtown, Yamazaki and Cocorico took part in the annual punishment game. The setting was a hotel and it aired on New Year's Eve at 6:30 pm until 12:30 am on New Year's Day. Numerous cameo and guest appearances were made, including Masahiro Chono, Masahiro Tanaka, Natsumi Ogawa ( Hamada's wife ), Endō's ex-wife Chiaki, Jyunji Endō ( Endō's younger brother), Masako Mori, Ayumi Nakamura, Monta Yoshinori and Yoshimi Iwasaki.[20]

  • No-Laughing Spy School/Secret Agent (2010)

The members of Gaki no Tsukai took part in their fourth annual punishment game. Filmed in Ibaraki prefecture, this Batsu's setting was a spy school and it was aired on New Year's Eve at 6:30 pm to 12:30 am on New Year's Day. Over 100 celebrities were involved with the filming, including Itao Itsuji, Matsuko Deluxe, Masahiro Chono, Bibari Maeda, Claudia Umemiya, and Tatsuo Umemiya.[21]

  • No-Laughing Airport (2011)

The Gaki no Tsukai cast participated in the 5th annual punishment game (the 6th New Years show in the No Laughing Series). The filming took place at Ibaraki Airport, in November 2011.[4] Here Hamada, Matsumoto, Yamasaki, Endo and Tanaka were trained to become flight attendants. The broadcast began on New Year's Eve 31 December 2011 at 6:30 pm and ran through 12:30 am the next day (Japanese Standard Time). In this series, members received 220 and above slaps while Matsumoto set a new record by being slapped a total of 302 times.

  • No-Laughing Enthusiastic Teachers (2012)

The Gaki no Tsukai cast participated in the 6th annual punishment game (the 7th New Years show in the No Laughing Series). Unlike previous Batsu Games, this series contains two games which consists of Enthusiastic Teachers and Edo Time. For the Enthusiastic part, they were punished by the Black Army unit, and for the Edo time part, they were punished by the Ninja squad. (Like the No-Laughing Airport series, all members received over 200 butt slaps)[22]

  • No-Laughing Earth Defense Force (2013)

The Gaki no Tsukai cast participated in the 7th annual punishment game (the 8th new years show in the No Laughing Series).

  • No-Laughing Prison (2014)

The Gaki no Tsukai cast participated in the 8th annual punishment game (the 9th new years show in the No Laughing Series).[4]

  • No-Laughing Detective Agency (2015)

The Gaki no Tsukai cast participated in the 9th annual punishment game (the 10th new years show in the No Laughing Series). Unlike previous Batsu Games, this series had special guest Masahiro Nakai of the Japanese boy band SMAP participating in the first few hours of the no laughing rule as a participant rather than guest performer. Hitoshi Matsumoto also set a new record of punishments received with 331 slaps, exceeding his No-Laughing Prison series record of 305 slaps.

  • No-Laughing Science Laboratory (2016)

The Gaki no Tsukai cast participated in the 11th annual punishment game (the 11th new years show in the No Laughing Series).

  • No-Laughing American Police (2017)

The Gaki no Tsukai cast participated in the 12th annual punishment game (the 12th new years show in the No Laughing Series).

Silent Library[edit]

In Silent Library (サイレント図書館, Sairento Toshokan), the cast and a sixth member, usually Heipo, are in a staged library in which one of them has to undergo a punishment upon choosing the card with the skull and crossbones on it (similar to Russian roulette). Although the game requires that they remain silent during the entire segment, the members repeatedly let out bursts of muffled laughter that is loud enough for the occupants of the library to hear.[23] An example of punishments are being "Outwitted" (having a nose hair pulled from the nostril), "Nose Fishing" (a metal clamp attached to the inside of both nostrils being pulled), and "Hot Earmuffs" (boiled earmuffs put on both ears). Former K-1 champion Ernesto Hoost once made a special appearance, as well as writer and film director Kōki Mitani.

This segment was adapted into an American game show, called Silent Library. The international version of the show is referred to as Fist of Zen. It debuted on MTV on June 15, 2009.

Ōgiri Daigassen[edit]

Chinko Machine[edit]

A scene from a segment widely circulated on the Internet, featuring the Chinko Machine. In here Tanaka Naoki is preparing to recite a tongue twister (before getting whacked in the testicles).

In a segment from the episode "Ōgiri Daigassen", the participants must recite a long, tongue twister-like promotion for the show without stopping or stuttering. If a participant fails, they are attacked by the "chinko machine", literally the "penis machine", a catapult-like lever with an S&M Whip attached at the end that swings up and hits the participant in the genitals. On this episode, Yamazaki was the only participant who was able to recite the whole tongue twister (although he was not so lucky on other instances). This batsu game was featured on the August 1, 2006 Oddball segment of Countdown with Keith Olbermann as "Reason Number 261 (of 527) why Japanese television is better than ours: When you mess up a tongue twister on a Japanese game show, the punishment is swift and brutal."[24][25]


There are at least three known variations of this game.

In one variation, one contestant is strapped to a chair while another contestant is carried by a statue which rests on conveyors, with his legs split open, thus leaving his underwear-covered genital regions aligned towards the head of the strapped contestant. As the two are asked questions, their answer must be the same. If their answers do not match, the contestant on the conveyor's genital regions brought closer to the head of the strapped contestant. If most of their answers do not match (usually 4 wrong answers out of 10 questions), the genital regions are pressed against the head of the strapped contestant.[1] The contestants were Matsumoto Hitoshi, Tanaka Naoki, Hamada Masatoshi, and Yamazaki Hosei.

The second "Monmari" variation involved the players being threatened by other cast members, on all fours and wearing an outfit with the rear end exposed. The objective in this version was to name items which fit a specified theme (such as "Name a 'Holiday'") within a time limit—those failing to do so would have the cast member wearing the rear-less outfit advancing towards them. The game was split into two rounds: in the first round, Matsumoto (threatened by Jimmy Onishi) faced Yamasaki (threatened by producer Suga); while in the second round, the positions were reversed—Onishi (threatened by Matsumoto) versus producer Suga (threatened by Yamasaki). This variation was later revived for the 2011 "Do Not Laugh at the Airport" New Year's Eve special.

The third variation was simply Version 2 with a slight alteration: the punishment for the loser became getting kissed by an Obaachan (old woman/grandma).

Marshmallow Rubber Band[edit]

In this game during an episode of oogiri daigassen, the contestants are divided into Red and Blue teams. The rules consist of the contenders having to eat a marshmallow dangling from a string, while they are hindered by a rubber band which is put across their face. They are not allowed to use their hands to grab the marshmallow, although the other contestants are allowed to straighten the strings which the marshmallows are attached to. The entire game ended with the Blue team as the victors.[1]

7 Henge[edit]

Shichi-henge (七変化, literally The Seven Apparitions) is a segment of the show where the cast and crew sit at a table while a comedian attempts to make them laugh. For each round that a person laughs, they must put 1,000 yen into a box; the collected money is donated to a charity of the comedian's choice. Bob Sapp once made a special appearance on this segment in which he collected 53,000 yen, at that time the record for any comedian during this segment. The record is currently held by Koumoto Junichi (河本準一).

A variation on this, "Horror Shichi-henge", involved several members of the cast and crew ambushing Heipō with the intent of causing him to lose his composure and thus be forced to surrender money.

Absolutely Tasty series[edit]

This is a series of cooking segments in which the comedians prepare foods, either traditional Japanese dishes like taiyaki, takoyaki, nabe and chawanmushi or foods like pizza, with unusual ingredients to use as fillings or flavors, which is eaten later and given a score ranging from two "skull marks" to ten stars. However, in recent episodes, the cast ignores the rating system more frequently, instead resorting to giving unpleasant dishes various numbers of "ass hairs" and "pubic hairs". The results are usually disastrous and very distasteful. Endo is notorious for using Frisk, a brand of very strong breath mint, in his food. Yamazaki frequently uses junk food such as cheese puffs for rice, onigiri and sausages for taiyaki, hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, fries and coke soda for nabe, peanut butter for takoyaki, and jelly beans for tempura. Matsumoto usually introduces very unusual (and occasionally inedible) ingredients such as a bear's paw for takikomi gohan, pig's and tuna's head for pizza, a dried cobra for nabe, a seal's testicle for takoyaki, and toothpaste for pasta. Hamada is notable for using corn bread and corn soup for Tempura, and thus was the only one who ever received the unprecedented Angel mark, although he received the "Full Skeleton" when he made the pasta-filled Chicken (Matsumoto immediately afterwards received two full skeletons for his watermelon pasta). If there was a food item that none of the cast members wanted to eat, chief director Heipo was forced to eat it, always resulting in him spitting the food out or expressing utter disgust except in the case of the individual bee larvae tempura.

Kiki series[edit]

This is a series of competitions where each member tastes a randomly selected product, mostly food and drink (although cigarettes and toothpaste have been used for some games), from many different brands blindfolded. After the tasting period, they must find the product they tasted. Anyone who selects correctly will receive a prize money, usually 100,000 yen, otherwise they take a variety of punishments, such as being hit in the groin by a Chinko Machine or getting slapped by a foreigner. These punishments are sometimes themed around the food/drink they are tasting.

Goodbye, Yamasaki[edit]

An annual running gag since 2001, the audience is told that Yamasaki is leaving the show (when he really is not). This includes farewell speeches from the cast and some crew members, who give flowers to a distressed Yamasaki. Yamasaki then makes his own speech, but ends up sobbing hysterically and is dragged offstage. However, this always ends with Yamasaki telling them that he's not leaving, because he pulled a prank on Downtown and Cocorico.

High Tension series[edit]

This is a series where comedians perform their special high-tension acts. There are two patterns of the show. One is in "The Best Ten" show, which is a parody of countdown shows. The hosts are Hamada and Matsumoto, wearing a black tuxedo and a woman's dress, respectively. The other is in a team competition between Team Hamada and Team Matsumoto.

In "The Best Ten" format, three other regular casts also perform and usually present in certain places; Tanaka at the 10th, Endo, usually with greased hair and wears nothing but white underpants, in the top half, and Yamasaki at the 1st.

Genkai series[edit]

The Genkai series is a series of challenges involving foods and how much they can change the pronunciation of these foods while still being able to order them at a restaurant or cafe. For example, for one challenge, they started with ordering "ice coffee" at a cafe, then switched to "ice moffee", "nice coffee", "mice moffee", "nice coach", "aisou warai" (a phrase meaning "pretending to laugh when it's not funny"), "coffee coffee", "atsui coffee" (meaning "hot coffee"), "tansu nouhin" ("dresser delivery"), "aitsu mouii" ("i've had enough of that guy"), "high society", "iron hero", and finally "OuYang FeiFei" (a Chinese singer). Predictably, the waiter/waitress becomes confused and either gives up trying to understand or berates the person ordering.

Other challenges include: Hiyashi Chuuka "cold noodles", Mild Seven "a cigarette brand", Katsu Kare "pork cutlet and curry rice", Chashumen "ramen noodles with chashu pork", Naporitan (Neapolitan) "spaghetti-like noodles", Omuraisu "rice with ketchup and egg"


The cast enter a restaurant where they have to fart to eat the next meal course. Done in a French restaurant and a Sushi restaurant.

Yamasaki VS Moriman[edit]

A series of comedic fighting bouts between Yamasaki and Holstein Morio of the female comedian duo Moriman. The main running gag is that Yamasaki has never won a match since 1996.

The event also features Endo's wrestling alter ego Dynamite Shikoku. He is accompanied to the ring by 2 women in kimonos and proceeds to fight in a match. The running gag is that he pulls a leg muscle during the match, and he always loses. After being checked out by the ringside doctor (Konya Ga Yamada), the match ends and Shikoku stands back up to address the crowd. After the speech he invites the crowd to join him in his trademark dance and is promptly taken out of the ring in a stretcher.

Technician Challenge[edit]

The Technician Challenge series is a series of sex-related challenges from Matsumoto to the other regular members, expanding in later series to include some semi-regulars. Matsumoto sends a letter, including a hand-drawn map, to the assembled other members through his manager. The manager leads the members to Matsumoto, who explains the challenge. Each challenge is sex-related and comes with an appropriate punishment for the lowest achiever. The first challenge was speed bra-unhooking, where the members had to unhook the bras on a certain number of mannequins as quickly as possible. Other challenges include speed kissing (kissing plastic lips on the walls while traveling through a corridor), speed nipple-play (pressing the nipples of mannequins with bells for breasts), speed hip movement (pumping an air pump using their hips), and speed panty removal (removing the panties from ten mannequins using only their feet). The punishments all followed the theme of the challenge (speed bra-unhooking had the worst achiever walk around town wearing a bra, speed panty removal had the worst achiever walk around town wearing panties on his head).

Shoji Murakami's Class series[edit]

A series where the cast learns to be a worker in a specific occupation. Shoji Murakami usually has everyone try out and do absurd or abnormal activities. Some notable occupations include: pilot, green beret, ninja, ghostbusters, geisha, dracula, etc.

500 Questions[edit]

The cast is asked 500 questions, which all pertain to the opinions and preferences of the person being interviewed. These questions usually begin with: "What is your favourite?", "Which is the most interesting?", etc. A matching answer will earn them a point. After 500 questions, either the person with the most number of points wins a prize or the person with the least number of points gets a punishment. Notable people who were questioned were: Tanaka, Hamada, Yamasaki's wife Aya, singer Wada Akiko, makeup artist IKKO, Sano Motoharu, Matsuko Deluxe, journalist and broadcaster Tahara Sōichirō, Downtown's former manager Fujiwara Hiroshi and manga artist Kazuo Umezu.

Five Rangers Game[edit]

In this challenge, all five cast members enter separate dressing rooms and each randomly dress as one of the five colors of Gorenjai (sentai characters from Downtown's other show, Downtown no Gottsu Ee Kanji), and they attempt to complete all five different colors in 6 hours. The odds that the five cast members choose all the same colors is 5/3125 (0.16%), while the odds of the cast successfully choosing all different colors is 120/3125 (3.84%). The challenge is based on the main running gag of the Gorenjai sketches: that the team members couldn't decide who wore which colors.

On occasion, Ameagari Kesshitai join the regular cast in a Seven Rangers Game (nanarenjai), featuring two additional colors (black and white) added to the regular Gorenjai color configuration. The odds of winning nanarenjai are 5040/823,543 (0.612%), while the odds of losing are only 7/823,543 (0.00085%).

The rules for all variations of Gorenjai are exactly the same as in a Five Rangers Game.

Cosplay Bus Tour series[edit]

The bus series usually includes the main cast plus some of the producers or guests cosplaying or dressing up in drag and playing mini games in a bus going around popular Tokyo locations. When one of the players loses a mini-game, he is dropped off in a public location and forced to walk back to the studio alone and looking quite absurd. Past themes include female anime characters, kogals, SM queens, and Pink Lady (Japanese pop music idols of the late 1970s).

One memorable moment was during the Anime Bus Tour, when Yamasaki (dressed as Arale from Dr. Slump) was dropped off and told to buy take-out spaghetti for the entire cast on his way back. He attempted to walk back without buying any, but on his way, he ran into fellow contestant Miyasako of the comedy duo Ameagari Kesshitai, who had also been dropped off (dressed as Kekkō Kamen). They bought the spaghetti together. Upon arriving at the studio, Miyasako revealed that Yamasaki had tried to return without buying the food. Appalled and outraged, Matsumoto ordered him to go buy spaghetti in Italy—specifically, to go to the "very tip of its heel", referring to the country's distinct boot-like shape. A few weeks later, Yamasaki was forced to fly to Lecce, Italy to buy a plate of spaghetti from a restaurant, all the while still dressed as Arale.

Matsumoto challenges[edit]

This series are scenarios where Gaki members help Matsumoto achieve his dreams to break world records. These dreams are physically impossible for Matsumoto to accomplish. Gaki members would dress as Kuroko, stagehands in traditional Japanese theatre, to help Matsumoto break these world records.[26] Matsumoto is usually limp and un-cooperative so the other Gaki members must also struggle with keeping him in the right position.

Broadcasting TV stations[edit]

  • Nippon TV, Aomori Broadcasting Corp., Miyagi TV, Akita Broadcasting System, Inc., Yamagata Broadcasting Co., Fukushima Central TV, Yamanashi Broadcasting System, TV Niigata, TV Shinshu, Kitanihon Broadcasting Co., TV Kanazawa, Fukui Broadcasting Co.,Shizuoka Daiichi TV, Chukyo TV, Yomiuri TV, Nihonkai TV, Yamaguchi Broadcasting Co., Shikoku Broadcasting Co. Nishinippon Broadcasting Co., Nankai Broadcasting Co., Kochi Broadcasting Co.,Fukuoka Broadcasting Corp. Nagasaki International TV, Kumamoto Kemmin TV, TV Ōita, Kagoshima Yomiuri TV - from 23:25 until 23:55 every Sunday (JST)
  • Sapporo TV, - from 00:59 until 01:29 every Wednesday (JST)
  • TV Iwate, - from 00:50 until 01:20 every Sunday (JST)
  • Hiroshima TV - from 00:59 until 01:29 every Thursday (JST)
  • Ryukyu Broadcasting Corp. (affiliated with JNN and TBS Network) - from 00:58 until 01:35 every Sunday (JST)


  1. ^ a b c Scherker, Amanda (October 1, 2014). "You Have To See These Japanese Game Shows To Believe Them. But Even Then You Won't". Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  2. ^ Japan Zone article Retrieved on 2008-2-21. "The biggest name in comedy duos has to be Downtown."
  3. ^ Corkill, Edan (November 27, 2011). "Comedy's a funny business in Japan". The Japan Times. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Morales, Daniel (December 22, 2014). "The annual pain and pleasure of punished comedians". The Japan Times. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  5. ^ LINCOLN, 松本プレゼンツ「浜田との壁を取り除こうのコーナー」Episode aired on 2005-11-29. A large group of younger comedians express their fear of Hamada, which Matsumoto tries to help over come in this episode.
  6. ^ a b "'Gaki no Tsukai' cast members hold press conference for their year-end "no-laughing" program". Tokyo Hive. November 29, 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Edwards, Nathaniel. "Gaki no Tsukai And The Living Legends Of Japanese Comedy". Tofugu. Archived from the original on February 21, 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  8. ^ "ガキ使名物キャラ「おばちゃん3号」死去". Yomiuri Shinbun. Archived from the original on 21 August 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Cocorico Endo, Chiaki Divorce". Japan Zone. December 31, 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  10. ^ McMillen, J.K. (July 15, 2016). "Shifting The Spotlight: Masahiro Chono". Cageside Seats. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Traywick, Catherine A. (January 25, 2014). "Reality TV's most jaw-dropping international shows". The Star. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Masatoshi Hamada, Hitoshi Matsumoto, Hosei Yamasaki, Shozo Endo, Naoki Tanaka (2004-11-25). 笑いと絶叫の軌跡、対決&罰ゲームの歴史 [Path of laughter and screaming: The history of showdowns and batsu games] (DVD) (in Japanese). Osaka, Japan: Yoshimoto Kogyo/Yoshimoto R & C Co, Ltd. ASIN B000657NA4.
  14. ^ "Absolutely no laughing 2 day Hot Spring Inn Trip (絶対に笑ってはいけない温泉旅館一泊二日の旅)". Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (in Japanese). 2003-07-27. Nippon TV.
  15. ^ "No laughing 2 day Hot Spring Trip in Yugawara (笑ってはいけない温泉宿一泊二日の旅in湯河原)". Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (in Japanese). 2004-12-28. Nippon TV.
  16. ^ "Absolutely no laughing High School (絶対に笑ってはいけない高校)". Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (in Japanese). 2005-10-04. Nippon TV.
  17. ^ "Absolutely no laughing Police Station 24 Hours (絶対に笑ってはいけない警察24時)". Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (in Japanese). 2006-12-31. Nippon TV.
  18. ^ "Absolutely no laughing Hospital 24 Hours (絶対に笑ってはいけない病院24時)". Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (in Japanese). 2007-12-31. Nippon TV.
  19. ^ "Absolutely no laughing Newspaper 24 Hours (絶対に笑ってはいけない新聞社24時)". Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (in Japanese). 2008-12-31. Nippon TV.
  20. ^ "Absolutely no laughing Hotel Man 24 Hours (絶対に笑ってはいけないホテルマン24時)". Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (in Japanese). 2009-12-31. Nippon TV.
  21. ^ "Absolutely no laughing Spy 24 Hours (絶対に笑ってはいけないスパイ24時)". Downtown's Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!! (in Japanese). 2010-12-31. Nippon TV.
  22. ^ Brasor, Philip (December 28, 2012). "Endure New Year's on TV with the rest of Japan". The Japan TImes. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  23. ^ McGeorge, Alistair (March 24, 2016). "Weirdest game shows in the world from Japanese classics to Man Vs Beast". Mirror. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Oddball: The Pain Game". NBC. November 6, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  25. ^ Harkness, Ryan (February 24, 2016). "This Japanese Game Show Tests How Many Shots To The Jewels Contestants Can Take". Uproxx. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  26. ^ "Gaki no Tsukai DVD 13 Matsumoto Chousen". Downtown fanpage. Retrieved 8 April 2014.

External links[edit]