I'm sitting in my room filling out resumes and I'm prompted to think about Nasubi. Have you heard of him? I read about him back in 2000, back in the shocking advent of the upcoming American version of the TV show 'Survivor'. It wasn't so shocking that the Japanese had in 1998, already taken some poor sap and put him in a sadistic survival situation for national entertainment purposes.
Wikipedia - Nasubi
The synopsis above doesn't mention that not only did he have to win his freedom, he also had to win his food with the mail in contests ubiquitous in Japan.Tomoaki Hamatsu (浜津 智明 Hamatsu Tomoaki?, born August 3, 1975), better known as Nasubi (なすび?), is a Japanese comedian who was locked up in an apartment for "Susunu! Denpa Shōnen" (January 1998—March 2002), a Japanese reality television show on Nippon Television after winning a lottery for a "show business related job". He was forced to enter mail-in sweepstakes until he won ¥1 million (about $10,000 USD). During this time, he was made to wear no clothes, was cut off from outside communication and broadcasting, and had nothing to keep him company except magazines.
I remember being scandalized reading about this. It paved the way for easy adoption of the now popular phrase, 'only in Japan'. But, now, thinking about Nasubi, I'm not entirely sure that we haven't done it on American TV on some cable network, maybe more than once already. And it makes me wonder if my, our, attitudes towards what is proper to show happening to seemingly 'real' people on TV has some sort of effect on what we think is acceptable in real life. It makes me wonder what has changed in America since 2000 along with whatever it is that made this kind of entertainment acceptable and commonplace.
Now in 2013, I'm actually able to pull an episode from You Tube, which I'm excited about even though it's not subtitled.