|Born||August 3, 1975|
|Known for||Reality Television|
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Denpa Shōnen teki Kenshō Seikatsu
Nasubi was challenged to stay alone, unclothed, 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 challenged 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 the magazines he combed through for sweepstakes entry forms. After spending 335 days to reach his target, he set the 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 (save for basic utilities such as running water, heating and electricity), and the stacks of postcards and magazines required for entering the sweepstakes. Due to his nudity, an eggplant cartoon graphic covered his genitals when Nasubi was standing on camera. Nasubi is a Japanese word for "eggplant"—the nickname was chosen due to his 30 cm long face shaped like a Japanese eggplant. Nasubi believed that he was being recorded and the show would be re-broadcast later once the footage had been gathered. In reality, the experiment was being livestreamed, with footage compiled and re-aired each week, complete with sound effects present at frequent intervals, especially to highlight his sadness and frustration. At first, he received no food at all, drinking only water and losing weight. Eventually, he won some sugary drinks from his sweepstakes entries, then a bag of rice, and eventually survived for weeks on dog food he won. He carried on conversations with a stuffed animal he adopted as his sensei. He never won clothing he could wear (only ladies' underwear, that was too small), nor did he ever win anything to trim his growing facial hair. He also won other prizes he was unable to use, like movie tickets and a bicycle (both of which would have required him to exit the apartment to utilize). When he won a television set, it was initially useless as there was no cable or antenna hookup in the apartment (intentional by the producers out of fear he would discover he was already on TV), but it became useful when he later won a VCR (for the two videotapes he had won previously) and a Sony Playstation (for the games and controllers he had won previously).
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 prize for his year of hard work. After they removed his blindfold, he found himself in South Korea where he was shown around town and taken to another apartment. He was once again asked to take off his clothes and challenged to enter sweepstakes, this time to win enough money to afford a flight with Japan Airlines to return home. When Nasubi quickly met this goal after several weeks of entering competitions, it was revised, this time to afford a ticket in first class, and this goal was also met in a matter of weeks. When he had won enough to return to Japan he was blindfolded, clothed and taken to another apartment in Japan. When the blindfold was removed, he looked around, sighed, and took all of his clothes off. At which point the walls of the apartment fell away to reveal that he was in a TV studio with a huge live audience. Nasubi was confused by this, because he thought the show had not yet been broadcast.
The entire ordeal lasted some 15 months, during which time his diaries on his experience of being locked away from the outside world became a best seller in Japan, and the TV show broke all records with 17 million viewers each Sunday night.
He reported being hot and sweaty wearing clothing after his ordeal, and for the first six months had difficulty carrying on conversations.
After the rigors he went through in order to become a famous comedian, Nasubi was unable to succeed in the variety TV world. Instead, he became a local talent in his native Fukushima, as well as a dramatic stage actor, founding the stage troupe Eggplant Way, performing across Japan. He has starred in Densha Otoko, Trick, Atashinchi no Danshi, and portrayed the character Watcherman in Kamen Rider W. He also appeared in the game 428: Shibuya Scramble.
Nasubi reports that he is grateful for his experience and that the producer apologized to him. The producer, Toshio Tsuchiya, says he has no regrets and confirms that he did apologize, and states that his goal is to produce miracles on film, and with Nasubi, that is what happened.
- Za Gaman, another popular Japanese game show that also focused on the suffering of contestants.