Take Anything You Want

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The Japanese TV show

“Eikaiwa Taisō Zuiikin’ English” was a Japanese television show created in 1992 and aired on Fuji Television and was created by Fernandez Verde. Mostly known just as Zuiikin’ English, it aired on the 5am slot and consisted of 24 episodes.

The name of the show derives from three words:

  • Eikaiwa means English Conversation
  • Taisō means Gymnastics Excersises
  • Zuiikin means Voluntary Muscles

The format of the show was simple: There were native English speakers mixed in with native Japanese speakers and performed a skit like any other language lesson program. When a new English phrase, which was usually useless, was introduced, the skit was paused and switched to a trio of gymnastic women, known as the “Zuiikin Girls” , who chanted the phrase hypnotically and did various aerobic actions to a techno-pop like beat.

The videos themselves

This landmark video below teaches Japanese-speakers how to properly survive a mugging by saying the following essential English phrases:

  • Take anything you want!
  • Spare me my life!
  • I was robbed by two men

In this followup review video, we learn the proper phrases to converse in the inevitable, tramatic, aggressive tone that one may experience following a mugging.

  • How dare you say such a thing to me!
  • You drive me crazy!
  • Don’t make fun of me!
  • It’s your fault that this happened!
  • Leave me alone!
  • I can’t stand the sight of you!
    And bizarrely…
  • Hasta la vista, baby.

There are many more Zuiikin Videos that follow different scenarios, such as what to say after seeing a movie, trying to get to a hospital and being invited to a party.

In the final episode, three English male native speakers formed the Zuiikin Boys and chanted apparently “useful” Japanese Phrases. There are no translations for the Japanese phrases as Verde says himself that you should not understand the Japanese phrases, only memorize them.

The current lone available example is below along with the phrases said:

*Dohmo Dohmo
*Jaa Sonna Wakede
*Kondo Asobini Kite Kudasai
*Oi Oi

International fame

Due to the 5am slot time, it went unnoticed during its original air. However, in November 2005 it was brought back on Japan’s satellite channels and began to attract international attention. It was shown constantly on the program called The Soup during Souper Fantastic Ultra Wish Time! And one segment was featured on the segment “What Were They Thinking? Of the Anderson Cooper 360, a nightly news show on CNN. It was also parodied by various TV shows such as the one below:

Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show spoof.

I’ve got a bad case of exploding

According to Wikipedia, the initial clip from it which hit Youtube got about half-million views by October 2006 before being taken down. it must be noted that several copyright issues have forced Youtube to take down those videos, while new youtube users were still trying to reupload clips from the show, leading to a constant takedown/reupload process.

On Internet, the videos were featured on many websites such as Insuranceanonymous blog, Crackle, Loneleeplanet.com, Facebook and even Ebaumsworld

Despite all that worldwide attention, again according to wikipedia, the Zuiikin Gals, respectively Maiko Miyazawa (宮沢麻衣子), Reiko Saito (斎藤レイ子) and Takako Inayoshi (稻吉貴子) remained quite anonymous in Japan.

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