Za Gaman

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Za Gaman (ザ・ガマン) "The Endurance" [sic] is a Japanese television program from the 1980s.[1] It is not particularly well-known or remembered in Japan,[citation needed] but it became famous in other countries, particularly the United Kingdom. This is likely due to its appearance on the British television program Clive James on Television and subsequently Tarrant on TV under the name Endurance.[2] [3] [4]

The program was a version of an activity at Japanese universities, the gaman taikai or "endurance contest," where students try to outdo each other in withstanding unpleasant experiences. The TV program featured teams from universities, such as Keio University, who were subjected to various unpleasant ordeals, such as being buried up to the neck in sand or licked by reptiles. The person who endured the longest was declared the winner.

Short segments of the program were used in the British television shows, which humorously examined television programs from around the world. Following Clive James on Television, clips from the now-defunct show were also used in the nineties in Tarrant on TV. A very short-lived British version of the show was also created, hosted by Paul Ross, but it did not feature the extreme conditions of the original program. Only two series of the British version were produced for Challenge TV which first aired from 1997 to 1998, and it saw little success.

The use of the clips on the Clive James show created some controversy, with some[citation needed] Japanese feeling that the show was unrepresentative, and some former British prisoners of war also complained about the contents. James went on to write a novel called Brrm! Brrm! with a Japanese lead character, Akira Suzuki, who was made fun of by his British friends using the word "endurance."

The program made the Guinness Book of World Records for "Most Extreme Game Show."[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Six Game Shows that Used Actual Torture". TVSquad. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
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