Susunu! Denpa Shōnen

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Susume! Denpa Shōnen
GenreReality show
StarringAkiko Matsumoto
Opening themeBeyond, "The Great Wall"
Country of originJapan
Original networkNihon TV
Original releaseJanuary 11, 1998 (1998-01-11) –
September 29, 2002 (2002-09-29)

Susunu! Denpa Shōnen (進ぬ!電波少年) is a Japanese reality TV show which aired from January 11, 1998 to September 29, 2002 on the Nihon TV network, and online from October 2009.


The title is a pun. The predecessor of the show was called Susume Denpa Shōnen (lit. Forward! Signal Youth). To depict that the show indeed moved forward, one of the characters of the title was made longer by changing the "me" () to "nu" (), approximately meaning Do not advance! Signal Youth.[citation needed]

The show is known for the extreme situations the participants were placed in. It gained high ratings, and spawned a sister show, Raiha Shōnen (雷波少年), and was controversial due to the sadistic challenges and rule changes made by the television producers if they felt the participants were doing too well. The show also received criticism for some of the show segments being staged [1]

The participants were usually unknown comedians who were ready to do anything to get famous. Upon application, they were chosen randomly, and were not told what the objective of their challenge was. Some of the challengers became more or less famous, while some remained relatively unknown.

The program's initial cancellation was related to a government crackdown on "torture"-themed shows,[2] but has seen a revival on the World Wide Web from October 2009 on the streaming website Number Two Nihon Television (第2日本テレビ). Its first new "challenger" for the webcast was comedian Yoshio Kojima.[3]

Major challenges[edit]

In the four-year course of the original program, participants completed about 20 challenges.

Amongst the best known are

  • Denpa Shōnen teki Kenshō Seikatsu (電波少年的懸賞生活 lit. "a life out of prizes by Denpa Shōnen") is probably one of the most known challenges of the show. Nasubi, a young comedian was forced to live over a year naked in an apartment in both Japan and Korea by living only on commercial sweepstakes.
  • Denpa Shōnen teki Mujinto Dasshutsu (電波少年的無人島脱出 litt. "Escape from a desert island by Denpa Shōnen") and the Swam series. Two comedians were put on a desert island, with no food nor clue about where they were, and were only told that their ordeal would finish if they built a raft and reached Tokyo. After their escape from the desert island, which took them four months, they were given a swan looking pedalo and were told to reach Tokyo with it, and then go with the same pedalo from India to Indonesia.
  • Denpa Shōnen teki Africa Europa Tairiku Odan Hitchhike no tabi (電波少年的アフリカ・ヨーロッパ大陸縦断ヒッチハイクの旅, litt. "Hitchhiking across the continents of Europe and Africa with Denpa Shōnen"). A comedian and a Radio DJ from Hong Kong named Tse Chiu-Yan and Takashi Ito hitchhiked from the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa to Nordkapp in Norway. The two contestants were forbidden to use their travel money and because of this, the pair faced starvation, dehydration and were also exposed to harsh weather conditions. Ito collapsed in the Sahara Desert and was airlifted to a local hospital for treatment.
  • Denpa Shōnen teki Pennant Race (電波少年的ペナントレース) "The Denpa Shonen Pennant Race". This segment tested the loyalties of diehard fans of the Central League teams - the Yomiuri Giants, the Hanshin Tigers, and the Chunichi Dragons. The contestants would be confined to a single room with a TV that only showed their team's baseball games. Their faces would also be hidden from public view. If their team won, they got to eat dinner and a small portion of their face would be revealed to the audience. If their team lost, they would get no food and the lights would turn out, leaving them in darkness until the next day's game. If the contestant's favorite team went on a win streak, the quality of the food they could eat would increase as well as gain public exposure and popularity due to their entire face being shown on TV until their team finally lost. A losing streak would mean that a contestant could go days in the dark without food. At the end of the season, the contestant would win an overall prize depending on how their team placed.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]