A Japanese variety show is an entertainment television program made up of a variety of original stunts, musical performances, comedy skits, quiz contests, and other acts.
Japanese television programs such as Music Station and Utaban continue in an almost pristine format from the same variety shows of years before. The only major changes have been the increasing disappearance of live backup music since the 1980s.
A once popular host Kyosen Ōhashi said, "Weird shows that are called Variety only exists in Japan."
One of the more well circulated clips is a segment in Gaki no Tsukai, hosted by the comedy duo Downtown. In one part, if the male contestants fail to say a tongue-twister correctly, they get struck in the crotch by a spring-loaded pole (The Chinko Machine, or, literally, the Penis Machine), causing great pain. Hitoshi Matsumoto attempted to withdraw but the host - his comedy partner and co-host Masatoshi Hamada, cajoled him back on the platform.
Japanese game shows have gained popularity around the world in recent years. Hole in the Wall or Brain Wall have sold rights to countries like Russia, China, Argentina and Australia. America has even caught on to adapting some of these quirky style game shows. Both FOX and ABC have purchased rights to different versions of some popular Japanese Games Shows set to air in the Summer and Fall of 2008.
ABC has been sued by TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) for their Wipeout program allegedly copying Sasuke and Takeshi's Castle.
The BBC also has its own version of Hole in the Wall in the United Kingdom, while Cartoon Network has the American version of Hole in the Wall with Teck Holmes.