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The 30-Second Rice Ball Challenge (Japanese: おにぎり30秒チャレンジ, Onigiri Sanjuubyou Challenge) refers to a social media game in which participants attempt to eat an entire onigiri or rice ball within 30 seconds (similar to the Cinnamon Challenge and the Saltine Challenge). This speed-eating challenge became popular among Japanese YouTubers and their fans in 2015 and also became the subject of public concerned due to the health risks associated with the challenge. In April 2019, a participant died attempting the game.
The challenge has roots in a rumor "None can finish eating a rice ball being sold at convenience stores in 30 seconds without taking a drink," which was already known among people since late 2000s. One of the earliest known mentions of the challenge online was posted on May 27th, 2008, when a Japanese user on Yahoo! Answer  asked about the challenge (shown below)
The question continued to appear online and in rumors over the next decade. In August 2010, the blog Zendora posted the question, claiming to have covered it on television in the past. They wrote:
I did this story a long time ago on TV. I think most people are unreasonable.
I did this story a long time ago on TV.
I think most people are unreasonable.
I was asked to put on the mother of Uchi "I will give you 10,000 yen if possible." The result is "Hmm, I can't do it, what's this, eh?"
Laughter does not stop here (laughs)
Then the challenge is that Uchi's kami's also loses and is fished for 10,000 yen.
The result is again the same. "Muri"
can't you eat such a small rice ball for 30 seconds? . .
It may seem easy.
first of all, that dried nori
sucks all the water in the mouth and the
rice does not go to the back of my throat.
In addition, it
is not possible to go through the throat unless it is mixed with saliva and chewed rice of rice ball .
I'm free to try it, but please do not be foolish
so as not to get
stuck in my throat .
(Please at your own risk)
if you do not overdo it, it will be understood in a single shot, "If it's impossible!"
How to drink often
Buy a convenience store rice ball and go to the store.
You will definitely be challenged, "It's so easy."
There is no doubt that it swells! Kana (lol)
Meanwhile, this rumor began spreading on the Japanese internet in December 2014 by famous Japanese YouTuber Hajime (はじめしゃちょー, Hajime Syacho), who introduced and challenged the rumor in his video titled "[Rumor] None can eat convenience store's rice ball in 30 seconds" (Shown below). This video was posted to YouTube on December 16th, 2014 and has been watched over 5.8 million times as of April 2019.
Although Hajime warned people not to try it in that video, many Japanese YouTubers and their fans inspired by him began posting their own videos of trying the rumor. Then, a series of those videos grew into the "Rice Ball 30 Seconds Challenge" around 2015. This name was also used as a hashtag for the challengers on Twitter. Led by its popularity on the social networking service, a Japanese TV show featured this challenge with the title "A big deal about Onigiri!" in November 2015.
In 2018, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, a former member of Japanese popular idol group SMAP, who became YouTuber after the group's disbanding, posted videos of the challenge on January 30th and April 21st (shown below). The latter one in which his fellows Shingo Katori and Goro Inagaki joined to the challenge together had earned 2.8 million views within its first year.
As same as the first one by Hajime, almost all of the videos in this series on YouTube have a ritual warning about the risk of this challenge and tell viewers not to attempt it.
On April 8th 2019, a Japanese woman who used a handle "sola Channel" choked herself by eating a large rice ball at a once during the challenge in her YouTube Live. According to media reports and witnesses, the 43-year-old woman remained in unconscious over 20 minutes until rescue crews, who were dispatched by viewers' emergency calls, stopped the livecam to take her to the hospital (NSFW Images Below).
I'm her son.
She took her last breath at a hospital on April 10th, 2019 at 6:20 PM.
Thank you for your concern about her. My mom would be happy
As to funeral, I and my aunt decide to hold it only for our relatives.
 Twitter – 空ハートさんのツイート: "息子です 平成31年4月10日午後6時20分に病院で息を引き取りました。 心配してくださった方々ありがとうございます母ちゃんも幸せだと思います。 お葬式の件ですが叔母といろいろ相談した結果身内だけでやることにしました。" / Posted on 04-11-2019 (Japanese)
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