8 Moments From Japanese Game Shows Are Next-Level Insane

American game shows follow a reasonably simple template. Contestants answer questions and they go home with money if all goes well. “Family Feud” and its stateside ilk generally follow this format. However, Japanese game shows are an entirely different beast.

Japanese game shows are about more than just winning money. In more extreme cases, the producers want contestants to answer trivia questions quickly lest dire consequences befall them.

Here are our favorite clips from Japanese game shows, and we’re not expecting to see Steve Harvey host them any time soon.


A scene from a game show features a fully wrapped mummy figure standing upright in a glass case. It is flanked by statues in niches with hieroglyphs on the walls. A caption in Japanese reads: "チャレンジ失敗!" (Challenge failed!).
Best Vines/tore!/Youtube

On “Tore!” one must answer questions while a machine wraps you in bandages like a mummy. It looks like a great way to trigger every game show contestant’s PTSD. Maybe you’re sitting there thinking, “Why is she scared? What’s the big deal about being mummified?” All we can say about that is, better her than us.

‘Candy or Not Candy?’

A man in a suit and tie is biting into the heel of a dress shoe that appears to be made of chocolate. The background has Japanese text overlaid on the image. The man looks serious and focused on the task.
Bonkers tv/ candy or not candy/ youtube

As children on our daddy’s knee, we were taught a valuable nugget of wisdom — don’t bite into inanimate objects in the hope that they’re food. “Candy or Not Candy?” turns that homespun wisdom on its head by challenging contestants to bite into objects like shoes, framed artwork, and office furniture. Some creations that may or may not be food are pretty convincing, but not enough to make us bite footwear.

‘Gaki no Tsukai’

A person in a white shirt is holding and dipping a foot into a chocolate fountain. Another person dressed casually is sitting nearby. The scene appears to be taking place indoors, with a red object partially visible in the background.
because japan/gaki no tsukai/youtube

This show is known for segments in which contestants must keep their composure in various contexts, which they are spectacularly unable to do. Those who fail are given very humiliating punishments. For example, this unfortunate man failed to be quiet in a library setting, so he’s getting the chocolate fondue treatment, which is significantly worse than you imagine.


A person is buried up to the neck in what appears to be grains or small beads, with a peaceful expression on their face. Below this, there is a smaller image of a smiling older man. The surrounding text is written in Japanese.
random acts of comedy/dero!/youtube

“Dero!” takes the concept of escape rooms and makes contestants want to escape from them. They must solve puzzles or answer general knowledge questions while trying to beat the clock and avoid a horrible fate. These fates were intended to qualify as “death” for the contestants, but some seem so unpleasant that they’re barely better than the real thing. If you have a fear of sinking into quicksand, even artificial quicksand, don’t go on this show.

‘Slippery Stairs’

Five people in colorful outfits (blue, green, pink, yellow, and red) and helmets are climbing a set of stairs. Some are struggling, with one person in red almost at the top and others either on the stairs or at the bottom.
jdog484/slippery stairs/ youtube

This one is just upsetting. Contestants try mightily to climb a slightly inclined set of stairs that seem to be covered in some kind of viscous fluid. This, while wearing very sleek costumes makes it nearly impossible to gain purchase. Watch them struggle to reach the very top, sometimes over and over again, only to slide to the bottom of the staircase, taking all the other contestants down with them.

‘Marshmallow Rubber Band’

A person with closed eyes and an amused expression attempts to eat a marshmallow hanging from a string.
mango1502/marshmallow rubber band/youtube

On “Marshmallow Rubber Band,” contestants must eat marshmallows hung by a string without using their hands. While that already sounds pretty difficult, the show goes further by stretching a rubber band over the contestant’s face, keeping their goal just out of reach while also creating some nasty indentations that will probably be on their cheeks for three days afterward.

‘Spread Your Legs’

Three women are seated on knee rollers, laughing and holding their faces, and one is holding onto another's knee. They are wearing colorful outfits with printed skirts. They appear to be participating in a game or activity in a brightly lit studio set.
X zisx/spread your legs/youtube

While this title might suggest something untoward, in the context of this game show, it’s very literal. Female contestants sit in a chair that looks like some form of gym equipment while someone spins a numbered wheel. The numbers correspond to settings on the chair, with one being the most humane and ten qualifying as an Abu Ghraib stress position. Eventually, someone taps out from the agony, and it might just be the viewer.

‘Brain Wall’

Four people wearing silver suits and helmets are trying to form a specific shape to pass through a cut-out wall on a Japanese game show. They are standing on a red platform labeled "PLAY" by a pool of water, with a challenging hole shape approaching them.
brilliant news/brain wall/youtube

Unlike other shows on this list, “Brain Wall” actually has a cool premise. Contestants in unitards stand at the ready as a styrofoam wall with shapes cut out approaches them. They have only a matter of seconds to figure out how to contort their bodies into shapes that the wall will accept. Watching the clip, it may look like the wall is not coming at the contestants very fast, but that’s likely easy to say when the wall’s not approaching you.