I Survived a Japanese Game Show
I Survived a Japanese Game Show (originally titled Big in Japan ) is an American reality show that saw its first season premiere on ABC June 24, 2008. The show followed a group of Americans, who leave the United States for Japan where they competed in a Japanese style game show. The winner takes home US $250,000. The series won both the Best Reality prize and the overall prize at the 2009 Rose d'Or ceremony.
Due to the second season having only half the ratings of the first season, ABC canceled the show in 2010.
In Season One, the contestants are informed that they are to take part in a reality-style competition, but not informed of the nature of the show. They are flown to Tokyo, Japan, and taken to the Toho Studios, where it is revealed that they are to compete on a Japanese game show called Majide (本気で). For Season Two, Majide host Rome Kanda surprised each of the contestants in their hometowns informing them they were going to Japan. They are broken up into teams and competed in games against each other. The winning team was given a reward activity while the losing team was given a punishment activity after their team game. In the second season, the first game played saw the winning team have an advantage into the second game, where rewards and punishments were handed out afterward. In the final episode, the first two games reverted to the rules of Season One. Two members of the losing team are chosen to compete in an additional game known as the elimination game head-to-head where the loser of that game is eliminated. (In general, the losing team chooses its two players as a team, although in the event that they fail to come to a decision, their opponents make the selection for them.) If the losing team has only two players remaining, then both have to compete in the elimination game. In the final part, the teams are broken up and the four remaining players face three elimination challenges in Season One, and final three facing two elimination games in Season Two; in all cases, the losing contestant was eliminated from the show and carried offstage and sent back to the United States by the "sayonara mob" (脱落者决定), dressed in black suits.
The series followed not only the Majide competition, but also the contestants' activities backstage and outside the game show in reality style. The contestants lived in a house together in the suburb of Kasai, with a Mama-san (Kozue Saito), who generally expects the contestants to live in line with Japanese culture and customs. In season 2, they live in the Majide Guest House with Mama-san.
The host of season one was Japanese-American Tony Sano, whose additional television credits include MTV Spring Break Japan and a recurring role on The CW4Kids series Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight. About the show, Sano commented, "It's going to be like nothing American audiences have seen on network television." (Matt Hurwitz, Associated Press) Episodes are narrated by Robert Cait.
The show was produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions (the producers of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares in the USA) with Arthur Smith, Kent Weed of A. Smith and Co. and Tim Cresenti of Small World International Format Television as executive producers and Weed directing, and is distributed by Disney/ABC's Greengrass Productions division. The format was created by Danish producers Karsten Bartholin and David Sidebotham for Babyfoot ApS, and was originally titled Big in Japan.
Majide (which is Japanese slang for "Seriously?!"), the show-within-the-show, was not an actual Japanese game show, but was intended to resemble what a stereotypical Japanese game show is like. The American producers watched hours of these Japanese game shows, took the most common elements and created all of the games, with help from producers in Japan, who also produced the game segments at Toho Studios. In contrast to many American game shows, which are usually based on either trivia (such as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire), mental skill (Wheel of Fortune) celebrity interaction (Match Game or The $100,000 Pyramid) or even dumb luck (Let's Make a Deal), Japanese game shows tend to be more physically oriented, such as Takeshi's Castle. The Nickelodeon game show Double Dare was a hybrid of both the American and Japanese styles, while the reality show format also used a strategy base for who to eliminate, and who to keep such as Big Brother and Survivor.
The first episode premiered on ABC on June 24, 2008. Tony Sano was host for this season. There were ten contestants in the first episode, with only one team game per episode. The season ran for seven episodes (unlike the second season) and the last episode screened on August 6, 2008.
The second season premiered on June 17, 2009. Tony Sano did not return to host. In addition, the number of contestants increased from ten to twelve, and there are two team games per episode instead of one. The team that wins the first team game is given an advantage in the second, while the rest of the format remains the same. It ran for eight episodes and finished on August 5, 2009.
It was announced that ABC did not renew the show for a third season on March 5, 2010.
Besides the USA, fifteen other countries have bought this format. The American version of this show is airing in Australia on 7Two, Denmark on TV3, Hungary on Animax, New Zealand's TV2, Poland's AXN, Singapore's Channel 5, the Philippines' Studio 23, Sweden's TV6, Slovenia's TV3 Slovenia and Portugal's SIC Radical. The Greek version of the show (under the original name Big In Japan) airs on Alpha TV. In Malaysia 8tv, Fridays 10:30pm. And South Africans see the show on Animax. In Indonesia also take this show format with the name "Keep Ganbatte!!" which will be aired soon in NET. TV. FremantleMedia is the license holder of the show.
In 2009 and began airing with the title Big in Japan.The host was Kalomoira, a Greek singer, and Yoshi Amao (Future Host Of Japanizi: Going, Going, Gong! on Disney XD and YTV (TV channel) along with a UK airing on Disney XD (United Kingdom and Ireland)) The show was produced and aired by Alpha TV on 1 February 2009. In the show took part 15 Greek persons and they competing each other.
In 2009, Sweden began airing its own version of the show called Hjälp! Jag är med i en japansk TV-show (Help! I'm in a Japanese television show) with Swedish celebrities competing against each other. The show was produced and aired by TV4.
The Swedish version was also recorded in the Toho Studios but didn't include Tony Sano, Masahiro Hurugori and Rome Kanda. Instead, the show was narrated (and sometimes hosted) by Carolina Gynning. The show-within-the-show was not Majide, but Do Konjo and was hosted by Yoshi Amao with Mr. Fu as the judge.
- Kjell Eriksson (radio host) - winner of "Hjälp! Jag är med i en japansk TV-show"
- Klasse Möllberg (musician, actor) - runner-up
- Regina Lund (actress, singer) - third place
- Sandra Dahlberg (artist) - 5th eliminated after episode 8
- Johannes Brost (actor) - 4th eliminated after episode 7
- Dogge Doggelito (artist) - Left the show after episode 6
- Anna Book (singer) - 3rd eliminated after episode 6
- Marie Picasso (singer, model) - 2nd eliminated after episode 4
- Tore Kullgren (TV-profile) - 1st eliminated after episode 1
The winner of the final episode of "Hjälp! Jag är med i en japansk TV-show" was Kjell Eriksson, against runner-up Klasse Möllberg.
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In late November 2009, Portuguese TV station TVI, aired their own version of the series called Portugal de Olhos em Bico. It only lasted for 2 episodes, and it's unknown if it was canceled or if those 2 episodes were the only scheduled ones.
This version had major changes. The contestants didn't travel to Japan, instead they played the game in a TV studio in Portugal. Also, the contestants consisted of 3 teams of 2 members each, and those members were family/friend related. Every episode the teams were different, and they played several games. In the end of that episode, the team with the most points overall, was the winner.
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