How do they do it?
August 28, 2007 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Why do Japanese game show contestants seem to feel no pain?

We are fans of MXC and Ninja Warrior. But we can't get over how many of the contestants take amazingly hard hits or crash down onto obstacles, then come up laughing! Do they really not get hurt?

Or is it a "saving face," cultural kind of thing, where it's bad form to appear weak/show pain?
posted by I_Love_Bananas to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Probably because they have a lot of adrenaline going and you only see them for about 4 seconds after they take fall or get hit.

I bet they hurt a lot more in a short time after that.

A lot of the falls in those two shows look a lot worse than they are too.
posted by zephyr_words at 11:11 AM on August 28, 2007

I recall seeing one woman in tears after being hit full in the face by a high speed soccer ball. maybe it's mostly editing & padding?
posted by aramaic at 11:23 AM on August 28, 2007

if the whole contestants being disgusted / stressed / etc thing wasn't considered a plus to the show, I'm sure Fear Factor and other such shows could be edited the same way. You have to realize that most of those shows you see on Spike TV and such are re-run clips from 5~10yrold shows, many of which were made with a slapstick comedy-ish appeal in mind.
posted by Muu at 11:30 AM on August 28, 2007

The Log Drop, in particular, looks like a painful portion of MXC. I mean...I have seen some bodies twisted into unnatural positions.
posted by Bud Dickman at 12:32 PM on August 28, 2007

I agree, Bud.

The other one that really can knock the crap out of them is where they jump from stone to stone- "Sinkers and Floaters?"- and if they hit a "floater" they wipe out.

Yet it's always smiles afterward!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 12:58 PM on August 28, 2007

Yes, it always looks like "sinkers and floaters" ends up reaming several contestants pretty hard. In the face. And they seem fine - I have no idea how.

In MXC, I don't think competitors are trying to save face. I would hazard that they play up the comedy (all smiles) because the show has slapstic elements and they feel that that is what is expected of them as contestants.

On the other hand, Ninja Warrior (which is amazing) does show the pain that its competitors go through, particularly in the less comic later stages.
posted by taliaferro at 1:59 PM on August 28, 2007

Maybe something in Japanese culture makes them less likely to be little bitches regarding physical pain? I have no idea, but it's at least a nice Occam's razor answer.

Also, to a certain extent, at least in my experience, more serious injuries seem to hurt less than less serious. For an example I know many share, slicing your finger open with a knife hurts less than getting a papercut. The nerves get cut off, and it sort of makes sense as well - at the minor injury stage, pain serves as a signal to prevent you from injuring yourself more, but when the damage is already done pain hinders your functioning.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:52 PM on August 28, 2007

TheOnlyCoolTim writes "Maybe something in Japanese culture makes them less likely to be little bitches regarding physical pain?"

I think it's that there's something in Japanese culture that makes them less likely to showcase those reactions on competition shows.
posted by Bugbread at 7:17 PM on August 28, 2007

I'll chime in here about Japanese culture.

Basically, you are not allowed to show negative emotions in Japanese culture, particularly not pain. There are stories of families at funerals, all of them with plastered-on smiles, so as not to betray their sorrow to the world at large.

So I suspect it's a combination of adrenaline and having internalized the cultural norm that you simply don't let people see you suffering.
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:11 PM on August 28, 2007

I think it's more like everything on Japanese TV is fake.

Then again, my Taekwondo teacher once broke his wrist attempting to break a brick at a competition. He was just part of a demonstration, but would not give up. The brick (typical cinder block) was setup on the spongy pads that made up the ring and that was probably giving too much to get a good break. That didn't stop him from hitting it over and over, until I finally saw his wrist snap. Crazy.
posted by m3thod4 at 11:54 PM on August 28, 2007

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