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Airmen from Yokota Air Base participate in a live Japanese game show at Hanger 15 on Friday evening. They were asked to identify Japanese celebrities. The airmen were able to name some of the celebrities, but not all.
Airmen from Yokota Air Base participate in a live Japanese game show at Hanger 15 on Friday evening. They were asked to identify Japanese celebrities. The airmen were able to name some of the celebrities, but not all. (Christopher B. Stoltz / S&S)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — About 25 airmen from Yokota Air Base got the chance to test their knowledge of popular Japanese television personalities during a taping of a Japanese game show on the base Friday.

The show “Geinokai no kibishisa oshiemasu,” or “I’ll teach you how tough show business is,” is broadcast on the Nippon Television Network (NTV). On this episode, a truck carrying a giant TV screen “surprised” a group of airmen at Yokota’s Hangar 15. Via a live satellite feed onto the screen, the host of the show was able to communicate with the airmen from the studio, which is in Tokyo.

One by one, famous Japanese celebrities appeared on screen and had 10 seconds to give hints about who they were. If the airmen didn’t shout out the celebrity’s name within the 10 seconds, the celebrity would have to do a walk of shame that ended with placing their head through a hole in the wall where they and the other “unknowns” would remain for the duration of the game.

The U.S. airmen didn’t recognize some of the Japanese celebrities but a few of the more popular comedians and others like “Bobby,” a non-Japanese celebrity, were recognized quickly.

“It was a pretty cool opportunity,” said Senior Airman Eric Parks, a dental lab technician from the 374th Dental Squadron. “It was kind of confusing at times, but no more than when I watch regular Japanese TV.”

Parks and the other participants were chosen from a group of volunteers based on their ability to speak Japanese. Many of the airmen at the show have Japanese spouses and have learned the language while being stationed in Japan, said Capt. Warren Comer, 374th Airlift Wing spokesman.

Col. James Brophy, director of security forces for 5th Air Force, was another participant.

“I tend to watch a lot of Japanese TV at home,” said Brophy, who has been stationed in Japan a total of 16 years and whose wife is Japanese.

Yokota’s involvement in the show was a chance for the base to be shown to a demographic it normally might not reach, said Comer.

When the episode airs on NTV, a clip showing what goes on at Yokota will be shown.

“This is a chance to show our mission and what we do here during the prime-time hour,” said Comer. “That enables us to reach out to a younger audience who may not watch the news but would watch prime-time TV.”

The show is to air at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 on NTV.

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