Gaijin Smash

Top 5 Most Hated Japanese TV, Part I

Posted in Blog by gaijinsmashnet on June 12, 2009

And now, my Top 5 most hated Japanese TV shows.
I would like to stress again that this list is based purely on personal preference and experience. So if I’ve never seen a show and don’t know of its existence, I can’t really rank it. And while there may be more horrible shows out there, these are the ones that irk me on a personal level. Again, while the shows themselves might not be that terrible, you have to factor in that Japan offers nothing better – this is what passes for entertainment, and almost everything else is an uninspired re-hash of the same concepts over and over again.
While I gave a general explanation of it in the last post, I found that Wikipedia actually has an article about the geinojin/talent, here. So for those who are interested/curious to the point of dangerous obsession, someone has already written more about it than I would care to. So, enjoy.
But anyway, here we go.
#5 – Hey Hey Hey Music Champ
This show tries to pass itself off as a music show, but that’s just a facade for the same ‘ol crap of rounding up a bunch of talent, and having them talk/eat/play games. Except now its music talent, and they justify the “music” portion of the show by having the artist(s) play a 90 second version of whatever new single they’ve recently released.
Hey Hey Hey makes the list because it is exceptionally boring. I cannot overstate how mind-numbingly dull this show is. I can’t even say bored to tears – tears would imply some sort of emotional response, something Hey Hey Hey couldn’t do even if the guests and hosts all spontaneously exploded. You know the phrase “bored to death?” Sometimes I feel like watching Hey Hey Hey actually shortens my lifespan. Like a giant soul-sucking vacuum is placed on my chest for 30 minutes and my lifespan is tragically shortened.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s an example.
Host: (to a famous female artist) So, tell us about your “secret” personal life.
Singer: Well, many people may not know this, but I’m actually really good friends with [some other famous female singer].
(Mostly Female) Audience: …..EEEEEEHHHHHHH?!?!
Singer: Its true! When we aren’t busy with recordings or tours we often go eat cake together.
My Wife: …..EEEEEEHHHHHHH?!?!
Me: …..No. You stop that immediately.
Wife: But, its interesting!
Me: Wow! Normal people do normal things! Yes, that certainly is fascinating.
That isn’t something I just dreamed up, that actually happened.


Hey Hey Hey is hosted by a famous Japanese comedy duo called Downtown. Being how they’re famous comedians, you’d think they bring a little humor or flavor to the show, right? Nope! The guests give a boring talk about something dull, Matsumoto says something stupid and Hamada insults him for it. For the 12,083,098,132th time. Whee.
I dunno, are things that are just repeated over and over and over and over again supposed to be funny or something?
Hey Hey Hey gets the unique distinction of boring me years before I actually came to Japan. When I was still in university, I had the International Channel, and Sunday evenings was dedicated to Japanese programming. We got Dragonball/Z, Hey Hey Hey, and then some random drama (which usually wasn’t that great). At this time, I was in the middle of my Japanophile affliction, so I watched every week in order to practice Japanese, and to pay homage to the holy land.
But I couldn’t hang with Hey Hey Hey. Despite having just watched Son Goku and company save the Earth from over-powered baddies for the umpteenth time, if I tried to sit and watch Hey Hey Hey I invariably fell asleep, to wake up halfway through the following drama. Which puts Hey Hey Hey on the level of entertainment of…say…C-SPAN. And this is supposed to be prime time TV! During Hey Hey Hey’s time slot I had to actually get up and do something productive. Which, I think, is Serious Offense #1 for any TV show. I’m watching TV because I want to sit on the couch and do nothing but be entertained. Isn’t that the point of television?
Plus, how in the holy name of Michael Knight does a Japanese TV show fail to satisfy a Japanophile?
#4 – Live 2009 News Japan
Waitaminute…how does a news program make any sort of worst TV list?? …..is what you may be wondering.
News programs in Japan are sort of a different beast. I remember in America at least, the news seemed fairly centered on things like crimes and accidents. In Japan, the news covers domestic issues, some foreign issues, and then will go into special interest stories. Accidents and crimes are covered, but not to the extent that America does it. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since American news can sometimes be more depressing than a Tim Burton movie.
And hey, this news program just happens to have a pretty cute co-anchor. So, what’s the deal?
Live 2009 News Japan makes the list because, while Ms. Cutie Pie and Mr. Doesn’t Matter are having a conversation about the top international news stories…they tend to have little cartoon animations playing out the scenarios at the bottom of the screen. Well, for the head of the cartoon person, they’ll use an actual snapshot of the person’s head, but their body will be a toon. So, its a little hard to take them seriously talking about the danger that North Korea’s nuclear tests pose to Japan, while cartoon Kim Jong Il flies across the bottom of the screen on a little rocket.
It was especially bad during the American presidential primaries and elections. Ms. Cutie would be talking about the primaries and polling trends, meanwhile below her cartoon Obama would be offering up a bouquet of roses to cartoon Hillary Clinton, while cartoon Bush stands off to the side looking confused and bewildered.
I have to stress, I’m really not making this up.
I would understand the usage of the toon political and world leaders if this was like “News For Kids” or something…but this news program airs at 11:30PM.
The election was also annoying because they tended to over hype every little thing, or at least use misleading language.
Anchor: Today in America there will be a key primary in Ohio…THAT WILL DECIDE EVERYTHING.
Japanese Person: OMG, decide everything? So, America is picking their president now?
Me: …No. This is just a primary. The actual election is in November, still months from now.
Japanese Person: But the news just said…
Me: Okay, who are you going to believe here? The person who was born and raised in America, or the girl on the TV with the cartoon caricatures of Bush and Cheney doing the ho-down below her?
Japanese Person: Well, I guess when you put it that way. So, the presidential election will be between Hillary Clinton and Obama, right?
Me: …No. Clinton and Obama are in the same party. They’re running to decide which of them will be their parties representative to run for president.
Japanese Person: And who is their opponent?
Me: John McCain.
Japanese Person: …Who’s that?
Me: …His face is on the cartoon body that’s playing the music for cartoon Bush’s ho-down.
Japanese Person: Oh, okay, I get it. Wow, so the next president of America will either be Santa Claus, a man in a woman’s suit, or a black dude. America sure is interesting!
Me: …Sigh.
Next time: We break into the Top 3!

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47 Responses

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  1. feitclub said, on June 12, 2009 at 2:17 am

    I used to watch Hey! Hey! Hey! back in the States as well. It gave me a glimpse into what the hell Japan was up to. I agree the talk segments are dry as hell but if they start playing Tetris or goofing around in some way it can be fun. Still, for a show hosted by two comedians there isn’t much to laugh at.
    I rarely watch anything after 11 so I’ve never seen that news show, but I remember Miss Crystal from her days as a reporter. She is super hot, yes.

  2. Lyn said, on June 12, 2009 at 2:50 am

    The news just sounds… weird. And Hey Hey Hey sounds really dull. I think by this point, if I were you, my brain would have liquefied (like the people in the Hulu commercials say they will… if you haven’t seen those, you should)

  3. Ira said, on June 12, 2009 at 2:53 am

    So, both programs are prime time television in Japan? Wow, that is depressing.. if my memory serves, back in the States there would always be something interesting on. I really miss that right now, I’m really bored (on a job hunt after graduating high school in Finland) and all the tv during daytime is sucky home decorating shows or.. well, we have an ultimate trilogy of evil on channel four. That’s three canadian shows about babies, weddings and real estate purchases. In a row. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds, especially because my usual preference hails to shows like Fringe, 24, House MD and Lost.
    I remember when I was kid, we had these cool MacGyver and Knight Rider reruns during the summer and last summer there was that one japanese show that was worth watching, similar to Gladiators. Now it’s all crap. Don’t think I’d swap to the japanese TV, though, it’s all yours Az. 🙂

  4. Reil said, on June 12, 2009 at 3:51 am

    Moused over the link to see the destination. I could have sworn you linked to the article for Toronto for a moment.
    Shush, it’s almost 4 am here.

  5. Xak said, on June 12, 2009 at 3:58 am

    I love the Sisko facepalm.

  6. K.K. said, on June 12, 2009 at 4:14 am

    As much as I enjoyed J-pop even now, I tried to abstain myself from watching Hey Hey Hey with the occasional specials but even that was a few years in the history.
    I think Matsumoto and Hamada s’ heydays had long gone since like the mid 1990s yet they still didn’t get it.
    But they were still very celebrated and idolized in Japan for some mythical reason I supposed.
    By the way do you catch “Down Town DX”?
    Think their kouhai tried too much to emulate their success…

  7. NeN said, on June 12, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Lol. I saw those guys in 24 Hour Tag.

  8. Anonymous said, on June 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I feel this video represents the Hey Hey Hey Music Champ quite well….

  9. Anonymous said, on June 12, 2009 at 8:29 am

    I feel this video represents the Hey Hey Hey Music Champ quite well….


  10. inkawasaki said, on June 12, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Hahaha… I also hate Japanese television, not least because of the audience over-responding to everything, and all the ugly visual clutter on the screen. But I always assumed that my main problem was my lack of Japanese, and that if I could actually understand the shows, I’d get a lot more out of them.
    Perhaps not.

  11. lego said, on June 12, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I guess Downtown are probably taking the concept of ‘tendon’ too far? To tell you the truth, I actually enjoy Hey Hey Hey…but only when it has my favourite artists featured on the show. Then again, I’m not forced to watch these ‘variety’ shows everytime I turn on the TV so they are still alright for me #)

  12. DaiLo said, on June 12, 2009 at 10:11 am

    We need a YouTube vid of the news show!

  13. Give up! said, on June 12, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Which is worse, explaining your frustrations about Japanese TV to Japanese people? Or the part where they just think you can’t understand because you’re not Japanese? I feel very bad for you.

  14. Highwind said, on June 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Oh God, I remember Hey Hey Hey right before DBZ and Slayers on International. It was awful.

  15. Nono said, on June 12, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    You know, TV is one of those relative things.
    You get use to your flavor of crap during your teen years I guess and will always compare the one you can see to it.
    For example, I’ve been living in the US after growing up in France and I just cannot watch TV here. I already wasn’t interested in it much at home, but the abusive advertisement cuts make it unwatchable for me. In France, advertisement is limited by law, so for a 2h movie, you get one, maybe 2 at most ad breaks, which is fine and you can enjoy for a toilet or snack break. Here, you get 30minutes/break/30minutes/break/20minutes/break/10minutes break and at the end of the movie, it seems you get a break every 5 minutes, as they are sure you are hooked and want to see how it ends. You need to pay through the nose for premium movie channels to avoid that.
    Also, in the same way you complain about japan’s variety shows, the US get trash talk shows like Maury or Jerry Springer. Quality TV right there.
    About quality shows, I agree that the US deserve a medal, as many shows are big budget productions with quality sets and acting and really nicely written stories. There is enough choice to find the ones you like, even, with shows like Lost, 24, Desperate Housewives, Heroes and many others.
    On the news, I get really tired of the US news with their “What are you going to die of today” hook. Fear only carry so far…

  16. Anonymous said, on June 12, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    You could probably sell “News for Kids” as “Fox News for Kids” to the most sold-out news station in America….and they’d probably pay you well enough to skip over the whole ‘send my baby to hollywood’ business.

  17. Anonymous said, on June 12, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    You could probably sell “News for Kids” as “Fox News for Kids” to the most sold-out news station in America….and they’d probably pay you well enough to skip over the whole ‘send my baby to hollywood’ business.

  18. otp said, on June 12, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    The only time I watched a non-singing segment from Heyx3 was when Utada Hikaru raged Matsumoto in Tetris. She had the bookish glasses too.

  19. Amber said, on June 12, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    That’s perfect. I’ve lived in Japan for a time as well, and I thought I was the only one who hated Hey Hey Hey like that. It’s just so… dull. Especially when they have hosts who could probably be interesting.
    love your blog, I’m a new reader.

  20. kris said, on June 12, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    heyx3 has been boring for a long time and i doubt there will be any hope for it getting funner. the only time i watch it is if there is a guest whom i particularly like, and if the rest of the guests are pure shit aka(johnnys/breakerz/h!p) then i wont even bother…
    however with the news i assume people need to have the drawings lol. i mean its japan, with their language being so drawn out to say a single thing and their misleading discussions, cute announcers and cute drawings are the only things to keep the attention and to guide them on whats supposedly happening.

  21. Patrick said, on June 12, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    Wow, I think reading those conversations actually hurt my brain.

  22. Starfish said, on June 12, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    One thing I’ve wanted to ask you, Az: how common are earthquakes over there? Do you have any stories about them?

  23. Anonymous said, on June 12, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    before I actually had the chance to experience Japanese TV, I thought Heyx3 was pretty good…and then I realized every other show was pretty much the same thing…
    I need to watch this news show…how can they actually put that up for…normal adults to watch? Oh Japan.

  24. Anonymous said, on June 12, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    before I actually had the chance to experience Japanese TV, I thought Heyx3 was pretty good…and then I realized every other show was pretty much the same thing…
    I need to watch this news show…how can they actually put that up for…normal adults to watch? Oh Japan.

  25. Brandon said, on June 13, 2009 at 2:10 am

    Az,
    Your posts are by far the funniest things ever. Keep up the good work.
    Can’t wait for part 2!

  26. Krystle said, on June 13, 2009 at 3:03 am

    I’ll admit it. I watch hey hey hey occasionally out here. But i have to agree it’s always the same. But it’s a tiny bit more interesting than music station. I wonder if that makes your top 3…
    I agree with you on the news. It always looks like some kind of candyland dream. I can never take it seriously.

  27. locohama said, on June 13, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Your description of hey hey hey is right on! a life force vacuum soul sucker just about sums it up. Your conversation with your wife is classic!

  28. Anonymous said, on June 13, 2009 at 9:52 am

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/4037/
    Um… I’m pretty sure this is the real reason why Az hates Japanese TV.

  29. Anonymous said, on June 13, 2009 at 9:52 am

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/4037/
    Um… I’m pretty sure this is the real reason why Az hates Japanese TV.

  30. wah said, on June 13, 2009 at 10:13 am

    >>Hey Hey Hey gets the unique distinction of boring me years before I actually came to Japan. When I was still in university, I had the International Channel, and Sunday evenings was dedicated to Japanese programming. We got Dragonball/Z, Hey Hey Hey, and then some random drama (which usually wasn’t that great).
    Holy crap! I was totally watching DBZ on the International Channel in middle school. I remember Hey Hey Hey, too. Man. Memories.
    But yeah, I’m in Japan at the moment, and the only good TV is anime or commercials.

  31. Rob said, on June 13, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    “Its true! When we aren’t busy with recordings or tours we often go eat cake together.”
    Az, I think you’re just jealous because – YOU could be on television, YOU could be gossiping with the host, and YOU could be eating cake with, like, Nakama Yukie.
    Very funny stuff, I look forward to your next post. 🙂

  32. Rakuten said, on June 14, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Hey Az, isn’t there a TV show in Japan called “Gamers Koshien”? From YouTube vids it’s about celebrities and pro gamers playing SF4…sure, you might go and think: “Now why the hell would I wanna watch people play when I have a PS3 myself” but at least it ain’t no boring talk shows. Besides, you can hone your techniques by studying the pros. =D

  33. jenny vonbootystein said, on June 14, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Sisko facepalm for the win. Took me 20 mins to explain to my hubby why I was laughing so hard.
    Rofl.
    Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

  34. HWG said, on June 14, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    wow i never knew Hey Hey Hey was primetime TV……omg poor you!! really i do mean that since i find Heyx3 insanely boring and the hosts not funny at all.
    I think for the news programs i guess they’re overdoing the whole “Japan animation” cliche….
    can’t wait for the top 3!
    -X-

  35. greatwolf08 said, on June 15, 2009 at 12:48 am

    well, to be honest that guy did have a point.
    mccain was old as hell
    hilary is by far not the most attractive woman
    and obama is black lol

  36. Robert Patrick said, on June 15, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Actually, the equation is simple : Hey Hey Hey is funny when they get funny guests, like Gackt, Utada Hikaru, Amuro Namie, Hamasaki Ayumi and maybe some others. People they’ve been knowing and working with for years and can answer back.
    All the “new” talents are just saying plain things and shut their mouths when they’re bullied, but the old stars have quite funny interraction with the Downtown guys.

  37. Moe said, on June 15, 2009 at 5:03 am

    > Wow, so the next president of America will either be Santa Claus, a man in a woman’s suit
    Out of curiosity, which of these was Hillary and which was McCain?

  38. soumakyo said, on June 15, 2009 at 7:41 am

    aah, the japanese girls’ “EEEEEEEEEEH ?”, I can still hear it 2 years and 10000 km later.

  39. Kai said, on June 16, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Actually, this sounds quite hilarious. Any chance there’s a news program on youtube? Or you could screencap something? I’d love to see this ‘news in cartoons’ thing.
    I probably wouldn’t be impressed with it on serious issues either, but I have a twisted enough sense of humour to think of all the glorious possibilities. And it just sounds like something that has to be seen to be truly understood.

  40. Jonadab the Unsightly One said, on June 18, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    > I found that Wikipedia actually has an
    > article about the geinojin/talent, here
    I read that article, and then a few hours later at work (I work at a public library), I was editing down some jacket/promo information for some new books that we were going to feature on the website, in order to get it short enough to fit the available space, and one of the books was something called “Hosting As Fast As I Can”, by some guy named Tom Bergeron. The book jacket’s description of the author (which you can see on Amazon under Product Description, if you’re curious) very strongly reminded me of the Wikipedia article about Tarento.
    Does this mean Japanese television styles are coming to the United States now?

  41. PersonMan said, on June 20, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Man, I hate shows like Hey Hey Hey that air over here. I always have trouble finding something to watch when I’m in other countries, partly because of the language barrier and partly because I never have access to decent cable. I usually end up watching whatever cartoon is playing, and reminiscing about my childhood.

  42. Annie from S.Korea said, on June 22, 2009 at 12:42 am

    I wonder if any of you guys have watched “I survived a Japanese Gameshows” on ABC. omg it just tells me how crazy Japanese tv shows are like ahahahaha

  43. Anonymous said, on June 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    News sounds quite good to me. Like Private Eye meets BBC 10’o clock news.
    Better than faux news anyway 😛

  44. Anonymous said, on June 24, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    News sounds quite good to me. Like Private Eye meets BBC 10’o clock news.
    Better than faux news anyway 😛

  45. Kohana said, on July 1, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I bet that the famous singer was Ayumi Hamasaki talking about Utada Hikaru, right? ^_^

  46. Mode said, on July 2, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Dude, I totally remember International Channel, and DBZ/HeyHeyHey/random Drama. But then that channel changed management and became AZN television. After that, they leveled up their programming, and some actually cool dramas/anime/movies were shown for a couple of years. But then comcast pulled the plug on the channel. As to why, I have no idea.

  47. Anonymous said, on November 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I agree that Hey! Hey! Hey! is boring, but Japanese tv is really not that all bad, some is good. I like the dramas and Ainori. Compared to American and Canadian tv the characters on shows are not bitchy


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