Reactions to Shootings and Stabbings

Danny Choo is a guestblogger on Boing Boing. Danny resides in Tokyo, and blogs about life in Japan and Japanese subculture - he also works part time for the empire.

What would happen if you went around your local neighborhood pretending to shoot or stab somebody? Would they shoot you back with a real gun? Slap you in the face with the nearest wet dog?
Or just pretend to be shot or stabbed?

Watch how folks in the Japanese city of Osaka pretend to be shot/sliced by an imaginary gun/samurai sword by a complete stranger...

Photo from Osaka Photos.


  1. Oh, how I hope this is truly representative. A town where people retain enough wonder and imagination to do this has to be a wonderful town, indeed.

  2. Hey, the Kuidaore-ningyou! This is right in my neighborhood! How I miss his drum beating antics.

    I think it makes a difference that this takes place in Osaka as opposed to any other Japanese city.

  3. Reminds of me of Spaced. All males have a deep psychic link when it comes to finger gun battles.


  4. I immediately thought of that episode of Spaced where it was decreed that all men share a subconscious bond that allowed them to conduct pretend gunfights at the drop of a hat.

  5. You know he has a VIDEO CAMERA, right? And a MICROPHONE? That’s the only reason people are reacting that way. Someone from a television station interviewed them, and they reacted. Not that surprising.

  6. Awesome video! But so folks better understand, this might not fly in Tokyo. Osaka is a working class city so they would be more into being a part of the joke.

    Also, can I ask someone out there to point me in the direction of a good CD or MP3 collection of Japanese anime/kaiju/cool sound effects.

  7. Yes! Someone else found this! I remember seeing this on TV. If you’re wondering why this works only in Osaka, it’s because of the reputation the town has- for comedians. Osaka dialect is often said to be the most “manly” and rough sounding Japanese, and it’s a given that comedians almost always mix in some Osaka Japanese in their act.

    So it doesn’t suprise me too much that this works only in Osaka- a town full of “supposed” comedians to most average Japanese. People there are a lot more laid back than a lot of other places, I lived in the suburbs there for a year.

    Props for finding the Kuidaore clown- now retired, he was the mascot for that famous eatery in Osaka’s Dotonbori district since around 1950- everyone loved him.

  8. What lulz! and if the clip weren’t enough, the Spaced links were almost too much!
    Now, this can happen in real life, under the right circumstances…

  9. Fantastic idea, but I really think this “test” is spoiled by being filmed. Whip out a camera and everyone’s ready to act out their own death scene. Still, fun addition to your average day.

  10. @23 if you watch all the way through, they pull the camera back to see if the effect still works (it does)

    Osaka is home to the Yoshimoto Kogyo. It is the largest and most famous agency for comedians (one might think of Osaka as a sort of’Hollywood’ for comedy acts – you have to come here if you want to break into comedy mainstream)

    Osaka television airs comedy programs at all hours of the day, far more than other Japanese cities, including Tokyo… and for those programs aired throughout the country, Osaka sets the tone for them. (which is why the accent is sometimes affected by non-native Osakan comedians)

    Folks here in Kansai grow up on this stuff, and not surprisingly it becomes a part of who they are. Part of being Osakan means thinking of a punchline to the end of everyone’s sentence – intentional or otherwise.

    It makes this city a wonderful and unique place to live!

  11. Brilliant! My wife and I were married in Osaka in 2006 (Shinto style) and remember the clown, a giant blowfish and Cafe’ Absinthe! We spent two weeks there with our friend Junich , eating Osaka style fried noodles, and would watch that guy shown on the end of the clip on television. He was hilarious. Danny’s previous post with all the narrow houses also brings back fond memories. Now we HAVE to go back for the epic gun battles! Thanks Danny!

  12. That video was absolutely charming and it’s nice to know that even as adults we hold on to a part of our childish instincts to just pretend.

  13. I think there was a similar article as this on Japan Probe or Pink Tentacle recently.

    What I want to know is, does this in any way tie-in with the early 90’s GETZ! (or however it’s spelt) phenomenon? I never been able to find anything on the internet about this.
    Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

  14. ZOMG they might only be acting goofy because a camera’s there, so poo-poo on your post!

    That people might be more likely to play along when the camera’s there in no way detracts from how fun this is to watch (for me)!

    The camera makes some people more reticent — what of that? This guy happens to have found and included in the clip a fairly playful sample population, and I think that’s really all you need to read into this if you’re that proud of your skepticism.

  15. Didn’t anyone notice that the women were getting into it too? Daisy got into it in Spaced as well.

    I remember my yoga teacher once asking if we minded if the class went over a little. I replied, “So long as it doesn’t go over Mythbusters.” To my amazement all the other women in the class agreed. After class we discussed our favourite “KaBoom!s”

  16. Twelve Gods, but that guy at 1:48 is awesome! That’s one of the best prat-falls I’ve ever seen! Fell like a disemvoweled sack of spuds!

    Just thinking about it I’m still ROFLing.. =D

  17. The posters who comment on the presence of the cameras affecting people’s reactions clearly did not watch the whole video, did not read the subtitles or maybe not bother to watch it at all.

  18. He fucking bounced!!

    I thought a Dead Cat Bounce (stock market reference) was a funny mental image, but actually seeing a Dead Osakan Bounce is orders of magnitude better!

    (No animals, and only a couple people, were harmed in the making of my twisted sense of humor.)

  19. While indeed the people of the Kansai region are said to have a great sense of humor, I wonder how many of these people are reacting to the camera. And how fast would the police be called in if the camera were hidden? Been living in Japan for ten years, five different prefectures, from the countryside to the big city, and Japanese people don’t interact well with people they don’t know. Then again, I’ve never personally tried the ‘bang’ gag.

  20. I love comedy segments like this that engage the playfulness of average people. Not to take anything away from stuff like “Jaywalking” or The Daily Show, because I do get a kick out of their “man on the street” bits, but I really like comedy sketches where people are part of the joke and not a victim of it.

    The above clip kind of reminds me of a series of short clips by Swedish comedian Henrik Schyffert. This one is my favourite (and one of my favourite YouTube clips ever):

  21. Not sure if it’s in the same segment but the show goes on to compare results with Tokyo where people just react confused.

    I recently moved to Tokyo after many years living in Osaka and while I love Tokyo life, you do notice the humor vacuum, especially when out drinking.

  22. BastardNamban (and others) gave reason why this works in Osaka- it’s a comedy hub. So is Toronto, I understand. I wonder how well it would work there? Canukians have always seemed mellow and game to me; good sports. Anybody there?

  23. yay! this is a continuation of previous tv shows demonstrating the Osaka mindset versus other cities. seriously , it’s a beautiful thing. as of last year I was there and had seen tv shows interviewing Osaka people on the streets or metro. other Japanese explained to me about the famous comedy of Osaka but that this ‘test’ showed the mindset there versus the mindset in Tokyo .

  24. @ #24 BENHUR,

    Ah! I knew it was a funny place when I lived there, and that it set the comedic tone for Japan, but I didn’t know it actually had Japan’s official comedian agency! Thanks! :)

    His explanation also finally helped me realize why Sapporo TV sucks, so, so bad. It’s all commercials for collegen pills, old lady wigs, unfashionable body-fat hiding lingerie, and commentary shows with old people. Occasionally one of my beloved Ogon Densetsu shows pops up, or a jidaigeki samurai drama, but most of the TV here is something I would inflict on people if I was punishing them. TV in Osaka is far better- so many more comedy shows/shows with young people on them. Even the atmosphere of the town was much happier than here.

  25. It probably went something like this:

    “Excuse me sir/madam, we’re filming a segment for . We’re going to pretend to shoot you and we’d like you to react. お願いします.” In reality, if the people weren’t prepped it would take them a few moments to realize wtf you were doing/to notice you and then they’d react (if they chose to).

    Thats not to say that Osakans aren’t friendly and humorous. I’ve lived there for a few years and love the place, but this is dripping with yarase.

  26. “It probably went something like this”

    I’ve seen the whole segment on TV and they did a lot of random stuff with a hidden camera in both Osaka and Tokyo (kids and oji-chan’s reacted the best) so while I think you’re right that some of the people were reacting to the camera, a lot didn’t know it was there.

  27. I am currently visiting a friend in Osaka. I laughed and thought that it was just one of those TV things when I watched this clip. So, to test it out I turned around and said “BANG!” to a nearby friend. To my surprise she dropped over dead! I couldn’t believe it! It was SO funny! I then showed her the video clip. She said, “YES! This is true! As kids we played all the time!”
    Osakans have a great sense of humor and love to eat and have fun.
    I have lived in Osaka on and off for over a year and a half and am always being surprised by it.
    I love Osaka!

  28. Re: #28 (Paul M. Doherty) – Maybe you meant to spell it GOETZ! A reference to a fellow named Bernard Goetz, who in the late 1980s achieved instant notoriety by defending himself against a gang of muggers on a New York subway. They pulled weapons on him and demanded his money. He said, “I’ve got five dollars for each of you,” then pulled out a gun and shot them all. I think one of them died later. He (Goetz) was arrested, but a LOT of people viewed him as a sort of hero. He became known as the “Subway Vigilante,” and was referenced in the media innumerable times.

    I wasn’t aware that there was a game called “GOETZ!”, though. I’m guessing that people playing this would shout “Goetz!” and fire finger-guns at people, who having heard the name, would know to react as if shot. Sounds like fun… unless you were friends of one of the muggers. But most of the criminals I’ve dealt with seem to have a profound LACK of humor/fantasy in their lives. I recommend that a psychologist do a study on this; it might help prevent some crimes in the future.

  29. Not funny in my town, where a bagger took
    a sword to work and removed a few heads
    before being shot by police. Went off
    his meds.

  30. It’s very clear the people who only watched a little bit of the video and then commented with smart-alec remarks. These people didn’t react that way ONLY because there was a camera on them, because if you would have watched more of the video, you’d have seen them hide the camera far away and still get someone to react. What rotten scrooges you must be to immediately look for a reason why this isn’t real. I’m sorry you can’t comprehend it, but some people just like to have fun, regardless of whether or not a camera is on them. Just ask my 80 year old grandparents who still entertain guests at parties by doing mock-tango dances to Spanish bullfighting music, even when no camera is on them.

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