Shōten

Shōten (笑点) is a Japanese TV comedy program, continuously broadcast on Sunday evenings on Nippon TV since 15 May 1966, the second-longest running TV show in Japan.

The show gathers a group of six Japanese rakugo comedians wearing variously colored kimono sitting in a row, where they compete to make the best jokes, on topics suggested by the host. The person judged to be the most funny by the host gains more and more zabuton (Japanese cushions), until he may be sitting on a stack five, six, or higher. Comedians whose jokes are judged to be not funny, or whose responses are not quick enough, may have one or more zabuton removed and end up sitting on the floor. The zabutons used are supposedly extra-heavy ones weighing 4 kg (9 pounds), so even a stack of ten or more will not topple. When a person gains 10 zabutons, he wins a special prize. The prize is usually related to a famous quote, such as 'Boys Be Ambitious'. Since the host judges the one who has close to 10 zabutons very hard, the stack of 10 zabutons can only be seen once or twice a year.

The show is also famous for its catchy theme music written by Hachidai Nakamura. This music has been continuously broadcast since 1969. The titles are written in edomoji, but were originally written to show an animated smiling face.

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