I Survived a Japanese Game Show exclusive
Rome Kanda, host of I Survived a Japanese Game Show, talks about the return of his American hit that salutes the Japanese pop culture icon.
Japanese game show survival 101
Kanda is set to welcome 12 American players to Japan to take their best show at Japanese game show supremacy.
Premiering June 17 at 9 pm, Kanda and his I Survived a Japanese Game Show cast of characters seek to recapture the magic that made the reality TV show a summer staple in 2008.
The final winner will take home $250,000 and the bragging rights to conquering one of the world's most challenging game show institutions.
Kanda is an actor by trade and a huge star in Japan. American audiences should recall his volley with Steve Martin in the first Pink Panther as well as his turn on Saturday Night Live. The actor and host of I Survived a Japanese Game Show is set to star in Academy Award-nominated director Steven Soderbergh's The Informant.
For now, Kanda is all about the Japanese game show. Well then, game on!
Good morning, Japan, it's SheKnows!
SheKnows: Hello Rome, how's things in Japan?
Rome Kanda: I'm great. How are you?
SheKnows: I'm doing great, thanks for taking some time for SheKnows.com.
Rome Kanda: This is my pleasure.
SheKnows: What do think it is about the Japanese game show that is so compelling to American audiences?
Rome Kanda: Same question to you! What do you think it is about the Japanese game show to American people?
SheKnows: I think it's unlike anything we've ever seen.
Rome Kanda: Oh, really, yeah. I think all the Japanese shows are crazy (laughs). Also, you have to be a true athlete to get through all these games. Sometimes we have to use our brain and be smart. I think it's hard to watch in a thrilling way.
SheKnows: What is the biggest challenge as a host of I Survived a Japanese Game Show?
Rome Kanda: This time it is that I have to speak both English and Japanese and I also have to entertain the both Japanese and Americans. So I have to use both sides of my brain all the time. The Japanese part and the English part – my English is not so good.
SheKnows: Are you kidding me? You're doing great! Although as you're doing I Survived a Japanese Game Show, that must keep you on your toes.
Rome Kanda: As you've seen, the show is so hyper.
SheKnows: Yeah (laughs).
Rome Kanda: So I drink alcohol before the show (laughs).
Secrets behind the surprise hit
SheKnows: You have to, right? Last year's show took America by surprise. Kind of the breakout hit of the summer in 2008, were you surprised how much America embraced it?
Rome Kanda: It was very good. Our show is not showing the game. Also, we show Japanese culture. It was very good opportunity for American people to watch more and more and to help get high ratings so we can do season 3 too!
SheKnows: (Laughs) Have you yourself been on a Japanese game show as a contestant?
Rome Kanda: In Japan, a lot, yes.
SheKnows: Oh, boy.
Rome Kanda: I am famous, man!
SheKnows: I know, I know! I'd love to hear a story about an extraordinary experience on one of those game shows.
Rome Kanda: Actually, there have been big hits in Japan – all over Japan. Not only did I do game shows in Japan, but also did kick boxing as a ring runner.
SheKnows: You're kidding? I can hear it in your voice.
Rome Kanda: Oh, thank you so much.
Informing Steven Soderbergh
SheKnows: I see you're featured in Steven Soderbergh's The Informant?
Rome Kanda: Yes.
SheKnows: I just think he's incredible, what was it like working with him.
Rome Kanda: It was such an honor for me. I was not only with Steven -- I was with Matt Damon too. Steven has casted 75 comedians except for Matt Damon. So, which means, this is a dark comedy. I can't go into detail. But, I can say that it's a dark comedy and he was amazing with how much he allowed us to do improv because he casted all comedians. So, after delivering their lines, they just started their improv. Steven really loved that. He's very quiet, silent guy. I can tell he's a genius.