Matsumoto on the current state of television of Japan

Discuss everything Gaki no Tsukai here.
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I know that this isn't strictly related to Gaki, but while surfing the net, I came across this article: http://news.livedoor.com/article/detail/8397156/

Basically, using what little Japanese I know, Matsumoto made his regular appearance on 'Wide na Show' on New Year's Day, a weekly show that he commentates on certain issues with Higashino Koji as his main anchor. He and the three other guest commentators (one of whom is SMAP's Nakai) started talking about the state of television in Japan. During this point, this conversation started:

小倉智昭
「いま面白いのはドラマだけ」
「バラエティは『同じ』だよね。同じ人が出て、同じ事をしていたら先が見えちゃって飽きるじゃないですか」

松本人志
「現場で面白くても、オンエアで伝わってないことも、やっぱすごくある」
「昔なら十分使えた話が、完全に自主規制というか、局規制というか」
「もう『カットしとこう』っていうのがすごくあって」
「だから僕、あんまり自分の(番組の)オンエア見たくないんですよ」
「現場では俺、もっと面白かったのにな、ってのがすごく多くて」
「視聴者はそんな事知らないので、『なんか松本、最近おもんないぞ』とかいう奴がいて」
「それはそうかもしれんけど、それだけが理由じゃないぞって言うのがあってね」


If someone with better Japanese knowledge can provide a translation that'd be great, but I think Ogura-san has stated that the only interesting thing on TV right now are dramas and that nowadays, variety shows do the same thing over and over with the same people and Japanese people are getting sick of it. Then I think the general gist of Matsumoto's speech is that there used to be a lot more freedom in variety shows for performers like Downtown to do their own stuff but now they are forced to use generic material for their shows and that a lot gets cut off the final version of what goes on air. There are also apparently some people who had said 'Matsumoto hasn't been funny for a while now' and he responds that although that may be the case, he thinks there's been more to it than just not being as funny as before.

Again, I think someone needs to provide a better translation, given my Japanese isn't good but I thought it was pretty fascinating to see what Matsumoto had to say, given he is one of the big performers in Japanese television. I think it is also fair to say that Gaki has become a little repetitive in the past couple of years, given they have started stopping some projects over the years that were once mainstays, like the Absolutely Tasty series.

So given all that, my question is where do you think television is at in Japan? Do you agree with the above? Are variety shows in Japan becoming tamer? Or do you think everyone is giving television too much of a hard time in Japan and that it's perfectly fine at the moment? If you haven't watched other variety shows, you can comment on GNT only and whether you think the show is still good or is getting a little repetitive.

If you wanna watch the show and hear what they had to say (they talk about ratings as well in the show), the link is here: http://downtownlaugh.blog76.fc2.com/blog-entry-16135.html
I think Matsumoto has a really good point, and it takes a powerful figure like him to change the tide of things. As we've ALL seen with the last several new years 24 hours batsu game the themes may be different, but the jokes, stunts, and gags are ANNOYINGLY repetitive. I really wish that isn't the case, but, sadly, it is. One of the things I miss the most about those batsu games were the impersonations. That was where the best comedic moments were at! Kuwata keisuke? Who's that? I truly miss the impersonations of him.

Anyways, to not go off on a tangent here, let me get back to the main point. It seems that a lot of Japanese television is too redundant at present. And, as Matsumoto says, it's due to a lack of freedom in what a comedian can do. When you have higher ups that primarily care about the fiscal aspect of things and not the ideas, well, not much is going to be done. Sucks, but that's how it is. I really hope that changes though. Japanese television is one the quirkiest, funniest, and most interesting thing I've ever seen.
Downtown-san needs to do a kickstarter and begin their own network. That is the only way to freedom.
Whackjob is ironically probably the one with the sanest idea here.
Shappuri Agemaaasu!!
There seems to be more regulation on Japanese TV, but I suppose it's not all cut and dry. Some things did need to change... like how animals are treated for example. Things are definitely tighter on that front because a variety show recently got cancelled after it became apparent they were tying transparent fishing wire around monkeys necks with the other end tied to a fast toy racing car. The idea being to give the illusion the monkey was following it with pinpoint accuracy when it was actually being dragged. :(

There was one controversial episode Gaki did involving a prank on Yamazaki getting raped. For those haven't seen it here's a description:
They got him drunk at a nightclub, then when he went to go to the toilet a foreign black man who only spoke English and two helpers suddenly grabbed him without warning and held him down before he could make it to the door. The man pulled down his trousers revealing he intended to sexually abuse him, when he kept shouting "no!" with the little English he knew and tried to struggle free, the man brandished a knife on him. Fearing for his life he relented, letting them hold him down and blindfold him, after which they simulated anal rape on him. Downtown then came in and continued it until eventually they took off the blindfold and when he saw Downtown in the toilets with him he was relieved to discover it was a joke. Before that Downtown had done other pranks on him like destroying his apartment, pretending he was being dismissed from the show after being tricked into exposing himself naked on live uncensored TV and pretending the Yakuza were going to kill him.


Anyway it's a shame but the video on Youtube that had a million views and a ton of Japanese comments has been taken down for copyright. It was interesting seeing the Japanese opinion of it. I do remember a big split in opinion though, ranging through "this was too much", "this kind of thing isn't funny", "this is hilarious", "wish they could still do things like this" etc. And of course it being Youtube a heated debate on country politics and racism :^) So opinion does seem split in the general public. Here's the thread on this forum for it which also has a divided opinion:
viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3825

There's still quite a lot of "crazy" things that happen on Japanese variety shows but I suppose Japan's "tame" can still appear surprising to us. Hamada's New Years Entertainer Rating Check show for example has him dumping people on a hot plate, spraying hot sparks on them, flipping them over in a speeding bus, swinging a wrecking ball at them and putting them in with a tank of crocodiles so ehh I dunno. :rofl: What was weird is, it's an afternoon show and they could do all that but Hosei spitting out potato chips and fizzy cola on the same show was censored with yellow sparkles and a haze.... I was like wtf? :drunk: Gaki is late-night so less restrictions on that, Hosei spewing out fizzy cola goes uncensored on Gaki and other late night shows, honest I've seen it! :rofl:

I guess an interesting question might be, what exactly is regulated and what specifically can they not do anymore? It'd be fascinating if someone revealed what the regulations are on Gaki.

There are also apparently some people who had said 'Matsumoto hasn't been funny for a while now'


Hmmm it's tough for me to discern not knowing Japanese but... the brief glance into comment boards for Japanese TV (in general) I experienced was kind of like bathing in fire. :lol: If you want to get depressed you can check out the 431 comments on the Yahoo Japan TV comment board for Gaki :^)
http://tv.yahoo.co.jp/review/415/?&o=1&s=1
But basically nothing gets over a 2 star rating out of 5 there! The latest batsu got their highest audience rating ever compared to any previous batsu though at 19.8%, so not bad. 8) But the annual big event show, Kouhaku, got a 44.5% viewer rating and that STILL has 2 stars out of 5 and a load of 1/5 score reviews in the 1000+ comments:
http://tv.yahoo.co.jp/review/6100/
Ouch!! Tough crowd :rofl:

Honestly it's the same in the Western world when a new episode of a popular show airs. A lot of negative comments probably means it's so popular that people get more emotional about it :rofl: Meanwhile those who simply enjoy stuff usually do so quietly, like Matsumoto's 1.3 million followers on Twitter: https://twitter.com/matsu_bouzu

I don't know much about Matsumoto's current work but I think it's more Hamada who works on variety comedy shows outside Gaki anyway. Generally Matsumoto seems more focused on his movie work and has mentioned wanting to be taken more seriously as a proper film director, Japan expects him to be the funnyman so he's been going outside Japan. A couple of interviews in English that reflect this:
http://www.indiewire.com/article/locarn ... _tv_comedy
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/culture/201 ... ants-more/

given they have started stopping some projects over the years that were once mainstays, like the Absolutely Tasty series.


Perhaps they felt Absolutely Tasty had run its course. The last episode they tried to change it up but opinion was mixed on here and maybe also in Japan?: viewtopic.php?f=25&t=4040
Maybe Endo ran out of stuff to make out of mints and Matsumoto probably couldn't top the giant fish head. :lol:
Kiki seems to be still going strong though since there's that unknown element to it.

In 2013 they introduced a new series, Retro Gaming, where they play SNES games so I'm pretty happy! I hope it carries on for a long time and also onto other consoles or game genres. Just wish some group would pick it up to sub, since it's about video games there was some hope a sub group who don't currently sub Gaki might take an interest in it but... :( I also like the hidden camera challenge series and such.

Though maybe I'm just easier to please. Here I get to pick from a variety of shows like celebrities dancing and celebrities dancing but this time on ice. Reality TV like Big Brother where at any moment someone might be seen sleeping in a bed. Or home improvement shows where the only thing really different is the house number. :| There's a few gems here and there but I basically don't really watch TV... I get pretty much all my entertainment online where I get to pick what I want to see even if it's not what the majority of viewers in my country want to see. 8)
Personally, I think that Japanese variety shows have created such a high standard of quality for Japanese people in the past that they are disappointed that the shows are becoming redundant with their content. But the other side of the argument could be that performers like Downtown are getting older and it would get harder for them to recover weekly from the physical strain that their old projects would give them. They are 50 after all :D

I also agree with soudou's point regarding the tighter restrictions on what is broadcast on TV. For example, the Yamasaki prank you spoke of would probably not be broadcast on TV today due to how extreme the prank was done. In fact, quite a few old episodes of old variety shows, not just Gaki would be aired on Japanese TV today.
I've seen a lot of japanese varaety and gaki is still the best comedy show. they are some of the little few who make comedy and not just funny things. after more than 20 years gaki is in some ways still fresher than most of other shows.

but downtown are getting old and have of course less energy. they habe a place in the entertainment business now and they have power and money. they have already said what they had to say and I hope they keep doing it but the question for me is: where are the new downtown? the young comedians who make what downtown did in the 80's and 90's? who want to make the best commedy, make things that no one did before, to take risks and brake the rools.

I think is a matter of freedom as matsumoto sais. and this lack of freedom comes becuase there is now more control than never before and that doesn't happen just in japanese varaety but in the media everywhere.

I think in the 80's and begging of the 90's there were still holes that young people could use to get in but now young people decide anymore what they do, big bosses of big companies say what they do and these people just care about money. they don't care about comedy and even less about new stuff. unknown things are a risky bussines, thats why, I think, you see idols everywhere and the same comedians doing the same things and thats why the no-laughing series are in the last years always the same. and they will keep doing this way till the show gives no money anymore.

after that, will have downtown the energy to make a change on it? and if it so, will be heard their idea?
I hope we don't see arashi in the next no-laughing;)
In a french interview, Matsumoto's say he will focus more on cinema because he think TV is dead and have no future. Most young people now are on internet.

And about his work, most japanese people i know dont like at all his movies and are very divised about gaki no tsukai, I was very surprise because i thought it's very popular but many think it's stupid and sometimes very violent and many hate Hamada!
I will just past what one of them replyed me no longer ago:

"Unfortunately I don't like downtown Hamada because his joke tend to be rude."

And most of them say they don't watch TV anymore coz it's stupid. (yes even the japanese ad. SPECIALLY japanese ad wich they say it's childish and infantilizing)
andylau-fr wrote:
many hate Hamada!
I will just past what one of them replyed me no longer ago:
"Unfortunately I don't like downtown Hamada because his joke tend to be rude."


I think the "Sadist Hamada" character probably has appeal amongst certain people because on spinoff shows such as Hamachanga he would hunt down and attack different entertainers/celebrities to force them into confessing something, even tieing an AKB48 member to the top of a car so I guess the act is good in terms of viewer ratings if a famous idol agrees to be featured with it.... :^)

Hamada's ability to play softer characters has come out via dramas he's acted in but I guess those don't get people talking as much (either positively or negatively) compared to when he's kicking butt. :lol:

But there'll definitely be people who despise it... We once had a thread on this forum where someone thought of not watching Gaki because of Hamada:
viewtopic.php?f=72&t=4763
What could be interesting is to make a survey about downtown or japan tv and send it to japanese peoples.
I just want to add that I can't see "real" violence on hamada. I'm not a violent person at all but I see there just comedy and acting.

in japanese comedy they play with the limit a hard game. there is a lot of hitting, punishment, sadism and humiliation. and everyone has his role.
hamadas has for me the best of them and do it better than everyone else.
he takes his job serious and want to be the best and they are.
he plays his character and he does it great. it's so good that you can doubt how much of that is real but he creates with it a great tension on the air.
he is the most energetic and powerfull of all. I think he is the heart, the machine of downtown and gaki.

and if you saw a lot of the downtown work and hamadas work outside downtown you can see that he is actually specialy thoughtful with others.
he is the host of the party, who takes care of the group and the one who most touches and huges others. something that you don't see too much in japanese TV. that is for me a sign of care, openness and affection. most of times I see hamadas slap on the head more like an ice breaker and an open contact with others than an aggression.

letter of a hamada's fan, jeje :P

sorry, I wrote too much today :bow:
sebas-chan wrote:
I just want to add that I can't see "real" violence on hamada. I'm not a violent person at all but I see there just comedy and acting.


Same. Some will see it as just an act and others will get offended at how serious it seems. I just laugh at it considering it's all consensual. :lol:

Sorry it's not Downtown related..... but on a sort of related note someone in Japan posted an image of Hosei doing one of his "smug expressions". I said to them (in my broken Japanese) "Haha he looks funny. Some people take his moments of self-assertive aggression (picking fights, arguing loudly etc.) or smug confidence seriously but I can tell it's a gag". They said "Ahh, it happens. They just don't have a sense of humor." :rofl:

"Humor" really is sense-itively subjective.

letter of a hamada's fan, jeje :P
sorry, I wrote too much today :bow:


I need someone to beat how much rambling I've been posting recently, you need to post longer posts! Longer I say! :rofl:
Plus it's nice to hear from a Hamada fan :nod:
soudou wrote:
There was one controversial episode Gaki did involving a prank on Yamazaki getting raped. For those haven't seen it here's a description:
They got him drunk at a nightclub, then when he went to go to the toilet a foreign black man who only spoke English and two helpers suddenly grabbed him without warning and held him down before he could make it to the door. The man pulled down his trousers revealing he intended to sexually abuse him, when he kept shouting "no!" with the little English he knew and tried to struggle free, the man brandished a knife on him. Fearing for his life he relented, letting them hold him down and blindfold him, after which they simulated anal rape on him. Downtown then came in and continued it until eventually they took off the blindfold and when he saw Downtown in the toilets with him he was relieved to discover it was a joke. Before that Downtown had done other pranks on him like destroying his apartment, pretending he was being dismissed from the show after being tricked into exposing himself naked on live uncensored TV and pretending the Yakuza were going to kill him.


Just to be clear - he wasn't actually raped, was he? I know you said it was revealed to be a joke at the end, but I just couldn't read the rest of what you wrote, since sexual assault is an extremely trigger-y subject for me.

I hope to god that isn't the case. Though, even if it was "just" a joke, joking about sexual assault is beyond tasteless.
nazgul wrote:
Just to be clear - he wasn't actually raped, was he? I know you said it was revealed to be a joke at the end, but I just couldn't read the rest of what you wrote, since sexual assault is an extremely trigger-y subject for me.


Hi nazgul, that's totally understandable, I'm sorry to of not put a "trigger warning" or similar note due to the sexual nature.
He was not actually raped by men, the blindfold was so they could pretend :sweat:
Umm I hope I was of some help, I see this is your first post and I hope you'll still enjoy it here, take care nazgul.
How come people get sick of Variety Shows but they don't get sick of Reality shows, Home Improvement shows, etc.? Most of the Drama's audience are girls, so I don't think boys like Dramas. I don't watch a lot of TV anymore, since most programing sucks nowdays and I met the world of the Internet time ago.

Now, GNT doesn't deserve to die because it's one of the few shows I love (and also many people love), yeah, it had some controversial things (not like Strip The Girl) that aren't allowed to be aired on TV today, but still it's one of the funniest shows Japan has to offer.

Overall, I think Japanese people are giving a hard time to Variety Shows because of Drama Shows. Like I said, there are other TV genres that are too repetitive, Dramas are boring (at least for me).

Downtown, Cocorico and Yamasaki have a strong worldwide fanbase supporting them, so they soudn't worry about that, the fanbase will keep them alive even if other people doesn't like them.
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Kawaii~
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