In one famously controversial [Japanese game] show, an aspiring comedian named Nasubi was locked naked in an empty apartment and forced to live on winnings from magazine sweepstakes until he earned $10,000. When he finally reached his goal 14 months later, the show's producers gave him some clothes, blindfolded him, and took him on a surprise vacation to South Korea, where he was locked in yet another apartment until he won enough money to buy a plane ticket home. While some vehemently opposed the show, most watched it religiously with delightful horror and amusement. Nasubi wrote a best-selling book about his experience and later became a successful stage actor.
It's the type of comedy that only works in a culture where lawsuits don't take precedent over a nationwide commitment to make fun and have fun.
In a nutshell, a real funny Japanese TV show will have you thinking, over and over:
This is embarrassing to watch.
This is so wrong.
I'm so glad that's not me.
This is f-ing hilarious.
--Lisa Katayama, Boing Boing, on real-life Oldboy scenarios broadcast for giggles