Nothing says ‘Halloween’ like pranks to terrify your friends and family. And believe me, Japan is no exception. Japanese TV shows love to play all kinds of pranks on people, scary or otherwise, and we’ve selected a few here for your Halloween viewing pleasure.
One thing you may notice when looking at the first and last video, is that Japan has no qualms about scaring the living daylights out of small children. In fact, it seems to be an excellent way to build their confidence as well as make them go to bed on time.
Video 1: Zombie vs. Japanese kids [subtitled]
In this video, watch as a reporter helps a family with small kids fend off a ‘zombie’ attack. I love that this show goes all-out, getting people outside of the home in on it too, just to make it more terrifying for the kids as their neighbors flee in the streets. And who doesn’t appreciate how horrifying it is to get a letter from Zombie-san before he shows up to eat you?
Video 2: Haunted Hospital Prank [subtitled]
This video is more comedy-oriented, sending two guys dressed up as female nurses on missions to retrieve objects in a hospital booby trapped with scary noises and actors. While this doesn’t seem very scary to a Western audience, remember that there are cultural differences at work here, and this is a variety show, so it also isn’t meant to be that scary. (On a side note, I once had a 29 year old female friend who was cover-your-eyes-terrified of the Haunted Mansion ride at Tokyo Disney… definitely some cultural differences there!)
Video 3: Japanese Demon Calms Hyperactive Children [not subtitled]
In one of the most cruel and hilarious of these pranks, this man is dressed up as some kind of demon, attempting to be as frightening as possible, and comes to someone’s house specifically to scare her children into going to bed when mommy says so. Because there’s no subtitles, I’ve translated the gist of it below.
Demon: So the children not sleeping are here are they… [opens door]
[children running and screaming] Who are the children that aren’t sleeping?! (cackle)
[boy in yellow wailing] WILL YOU SLEEP? [boy nods] WILL YOU SLEEP?
Will you listen to what your mother says?!
Sleep! [children getting into bed] Sleep! Sleep!
[demon kneels] Will you listen to what you mother says?
[children nod] Will you listen to what you mother says? If your mother goes to sleep will you go to sleep? [sad noises of affirmation] Say goodnight to your mother.
Mother: Goodnight. Now go to sleep.
Child: [to demon] Goodnight…
Demon: Close your eyes! Close your eyes!
[demon points to mom] Mom, go to bed already.
Mother: Yes, yes.
Have a great Halloween everyone!
Photo by YAXZONE