Cracked Goes To Japan: 4 Drastic Differences Of Japanese Television
Just hearing the phrase “Japanese TV” fills your mind with weirder and more disturbing images than literally rolling up John Wayne Gacy’s dog-crap art and shoving it right up your nose and into your brain. If you go by just what you can find online, you probably assume that Japanese television is all daytime borderline-porn anime, nighttime straight-up-porn anime, live-action porn, and gameshows that are porn or involve, like, a person in a bikini salmon suit having to apply makeup to a horse. So also porn, albeit a (hopefully…) niche one. The reality, though, is nowhere near as boobly, so you may want to pull your pants back up. But keep on reading because “not porn” isn’t necessarily synonymous with “totally normal and boring.” For example…
Japanese TV Can Be… Creatively Interactive
One of the most popular anime currently playing in Japan is Butt Detective, and I know I’ve just said that TV here isn’t all porn, but it’s not what you think. It’s not a show about a detective who finds clues inside suspects’ butts, using only his determination (and Vaseline) to get to the bottom of the case. It’s actually a cartoon about a detective who has a butt for a face. And farts—or would it technically be a burp?—on criminals to incapacitate them. But he always says, “Pardon me while I poot you in your place” first because it’s important for cartoons to teach kids good manners. See you in 20 minutes when you come out of the watching-this-on-loop coma:
And, yeah, this actually is aimed at children. It’s literally a Saturday morning cartoon, and it even comes with its own minigame. All modern Japanese remotes have a “Data” mode that allows you to access special features for certain shows. So every week, you can tune in to Butt Detective, push “d” on your remote, and activate an interactive menu where you press “OK” in rhythm with the super-catchy Butt Dance opening to fill your sweet potato meter, seen here on the left:
The reason why it’s sweet potato desserts, which are also Butt Detective’s favorite snack, is because they apparently give you gas. Hence the famous Japanese rhyme “Sweet potato, the magical spud, the more you eat, the more you butt-thud.” And once you fill the meter up, at the end of the opening song, you can activate the Special Attack, where pressing OK fills the screen with sounds and images of farts.
It’s weird, though, that while discussing all the amazing scientific advancements that Japan has made, no one ever mentions their discovery of the only good reason to get up early on a Saturday.
It may surprise you to know that the Data function wasn’t originally invented for flatulence-related TV games (but what’s important is THAT we got here, not WHY). It’s actually pretty useful for getting the latest updates about earthquakes or typhoons because those hit TV airwaves way before they’re available online. Oh, did I not mention that? This feature has nothing to do with the internet. Our TV isn’t connected to Wi-Fi or anything like that for reasons explained in this scientific presentation:
The thing is, even now, more people in Japan have TVs than they do home internet. This is mostly due to the country’s aging population, a large percentage of which feels more comfortable operating a TV set, so the older tech got a few bells and whistles you normally don’t find in Western countries. Most shows with Data menus just allow you to answer quizzes to try and win prizes, but some make it more fun, like Mezamashi Janken, a morning segment that allows you to play rock-paper-scissors with people on the TV. Win a few times to get enough points, and you can enter into a raffle to win anything from a vacuum cleaner to a tableware set. Yeah, it’s cornier than Butt Detective’s “vomit,” but … it’s also weirdly fun.
Very Little, Very Normal Porn
Is there porn on Japanese TV? Yes, obviously. It’s also incredibly tame: stuff goes into stuff, sometimes leaves some other stuff behind, and never involves live calamari. For truly weird content, you have to go online like everyone else. That’s also where you will find all those “WTF real bizarre Japanese gameshow” videos where, I dunno, a bunch of guys stick their d (which here does NOT stand for “Data”) through holes in a sheet, then some woman does a taste test on them to determine which one slept with her mom last night?
I feel dumb even having to say this but what I’ve just described is porn. Porn made specifically for pornographic purposes, with a script that was just a Xeroxed dictionary definition of “Pornography” and a note saying, “just improvise the rest.” Everyone involved in those types of videos is a professional porn actor (well, at least the women are; the guys are probably being paid ~$7 if they’re lucky.)
But apparently, because it’s from Japan, people just assume this sort of thing plays right after the evening news like “--and interest rates are expected to go up the following year. Up next, stay tuned for the latest episode of Yummy Yummy Who Slept With My Mommy.” Now, that being said, there is one thing that I’d like to discuss in more detail.
Some years back, the internet went wild over a video called “Orgasm Wars,” where a gay man was tasked with fellating a straight porn actor to orgasm. He suc(k)ceeded. The entire mouth hug was obscured from view, so it definitely wasn’t porn-porn, but it sure seemed to fit the definition of an erotic Japanese gameshow, meaning that they ARE real, right? It’s … complicated. The challenge was one never-again-repeated segment on Yoshimi Tokui's Let Me Unzip You, a comedy variety show that DID feature porn actors/escorts but rarely doing anything more explicit than going down on a melon. (whether this link is SFW or NSFW depends on your boss’ stance on the sexiness of fruit.)
Also, the Japanese title of the segment was Poko x Tate, clearly parodying a real TV show called Hoko x Tate that pitted people with amazing abilities/inventions against each other, like an expert falconer trying to get his bird to catch an RC car driven by a professional RC car racer. It was pretty awesome. Until it came out that the show faked a few of these challenges and it got canceled.
So… was “Orgasm Wars” just tongue-in-cheek instead of actual-d-in-mouth parody of that show? Nobody can say for sure what definitely went down (*ba-dum-tish*) during that segment but Takuya, the gay man in the video, appears to be a real escort (in Japan, non-vaginal prostitution between adults is mostly legal). He later even capitalized on the popularity of “Orgasm Wars” by releasing a Fleshlight version of his mouth.