Japan's real-life Truman

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"Japan's real-life Truman: 'You are a star." The Guardian. Rpt. The Cincinnati Post, Monday, 29 March 1999: 1A, 8A.

Confined in a small apartment from January 1998 through March 1999, "Nasubi, a 23-year-old comedian" has been trying "to eke out an existence until he won $8,000 worth of prizes in magazine competitions," while living totally on the prizes he had won. "Unbeknownst to him, Japan's top variety program—'Susunu Denpa Shonen!' ('Don't Go For It, Electric Boy!')—has broadcast his progress," using "two hidden cameras" (1A). Nasubi eventually went naked, "his genitals covered with an eggplant icon" in the video transmitted. To end the show, the producers took Nasubi, still naked into what they called "'a waiting room,' where he was sitting . . . when the walls collapsed around him to reveal a studio full of guests," for the most part laughing. Nasubi was angered to be observed naked and said more generally that he "suffered mentally every day" and felt "trapped between sanity and madness" (8A). Note real-world instance of motif of total surveillance, and a kind of superimposition of media technology on a human body. Note complexities, ironies, and cruelties of the situation, including the visual covering/replacement of a man's genitals with a CGI vegetable, while he is (un)dressed au naturel, while in a totally human-made environment, "hunting and gathering" in magazines. See under drama, THE TRUMAN SHOW and EdTV. See in this Category, "DotComGuy."