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18 Months of Isolation: The Horrifying Reality of Reality Show(A true story)

The Horrifying Journey of Nasubi on Japan's Most Infamous Reality Show

By KamyaPublished about a year ago 4 min read
Photo by Nothing Ahead:

"Susunu! Denpa Shonen" is a Japanese reality show which aired between 1998 and 2002, and gained a great deal of recognition. The show is known for placing comedians in extremely difficult situations, with each season presenting a unique and challenging experience.

For instance, in one season, two participants were tasked with constructing a raft and surviving on a deserted island for four months. Similarly, in another season, a contestant was confined to a room with a television to watch his favorite baseball team play. But, there was a catch; he would only receive food if the team won. Otherwise, he would be left hungry, and the electricity in his room would be turned off.

The program's most infamous season follows the story of a man named Nasubi. Nasubi is a hopeful comedian who is given a challenging task. He must remain naked and isolated in a small apartment with nothing but piles of magazines to survive on until he wins a total of one million yen from various magazine sweepstakes. Nasubi's only source of income is the money he receives from these contests.

Initially, the producers informed Nasubi that the show might not air on television, but he was recording his daily activities for a future broadcast. However, they broadcasted all of his recordings, including his private moments, for Japan to watch and ridicule. Nasubi spent 18 months of his life writing letters to enter the contests he found in the magazines.

The show's ratings soared, with an average of 17 million viewers tuning in every Sunday night, the television program smashed records and doubled HBO's Game of Thrones average ratings. However, these viewers were unaware that they were witnessing a man's life deteriorating before their eyes in real time.

The man known as Nasubi is actually named Tomoaki Hamatsu. The producers called him Nasubi because he was always naked, and they had to cover his private parts with an eggplant sticker. Additionally, his long face also contributed to the nickname. Nasubi's daily routine was very monotonous. He lived in a small apartment and spent his time writing letters to enter sweepstakes to win prizes.

Once, he won a bag of rice, which he was thrilled about. However, he soon realized that he did not have a rice cooker and had to eat the rice raw. Eventually, he figured out a way to cook the rice using a can he won from a previous contest. After he finished the rice, he was forced to eat dog food to survive, which he did not enjoy.

He was aware of his upcoming appearance on a show but was misled into believing that it would be at a later time. As a result, he had not given his consent to being broadcasted, and this meant that he had no privacy since his every move was being aired on TV and live-streamed continuously.

A team was assigned to follow him everywhere to ensure that his genitalia was censored. In some instances, the producers played pranks on him by sending people to have him sign papers under the guise of winning something. Once, a delivery man brought Ramen to his door, but it turned out it was intended for someone else. After spending 11 months and one day in confinement, Nasubi finally achieved his goal by winning enough products worth a million yen. To celebrate his victory, he traveled to South Korea.

He had a meal and visited a theme park before being blindfolded and taken back to an apartment. Though the environment seemed familiar, his mission had changed - he needed to accumulate enough money to buy a plane ticket back to Japan. Nasubi was heartbroken by this news. Despite his initial emotional breakdown, he eventually resolved to go all out and, within just two months, he succeeded in winning enough prizes to cover the cost of the ticket.

He managed to secure a flight back to Japan, but once again, he was blindfolded and taken to a distant apartment. Upon realizing his whereabouts, Nasubi promptly began removing his clothes, expressing his discontent.

However, the walls of the apartment abruptly collapsed, revealing a live broadcast studio filled with a crowd of exuberant audience members. Nasubi appeared visibly taken aback, likely because he had no idea that millions of people had been watching his every move for the past 18 months, and that his daily routine had been on display for all to see.

The problem with the show, and reality television in general, is that it depends on exploiting an individual's experiences for the sake of entertainment ratings. It's a distressing truth that we derive pleasure from other people's struggles, and possibly even their traumas. It's incredibly wrong to imagine someone being stripped of their clothes, deprived of food and water, isolated from the outside world, and subjected to unimaginable humiliation.

The journey that Nasubi went through during the entire ordeal is a truly frightening experience to behold. The transformation that his body and mind underwent was simply terrifying. Due to his extended period of isolation and the absence of human interaction, Nasubi's speech became considerably slower. In addition, he became accustomed to being naked for a prolonged period and felt uncomfortable wearing clothes.

Equally troubling is the producer's reluctance to publicly acknowledge any remorse about the show's impact on Nasubi's well-being. The producer did not make any comments on this topic, and it's unsettling. Instead, he chose to justify his actions by glorifying the show's success, stating that every experience was a miraculous moment captured on camera.

By 法務省ホームページ, CC BY 4.0, (This is NASUBI)

The one silver lining from this experience is the crackdown on the show's explicit content. As a result, the show was ultimately canceled in 2002.

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We should enjoy every moment fully, fall in love, make the most of our time, and live without regret. We should cherish the fact that there are still many moments in life that we have yet to experience for the last time.

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    KamyaWritten by Kamya

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