In the previous episode of HamaKisu, we left Kis-My-Ft2 in the midst of a particularly vexing challenge: they had to find people who knew all seven of their names. If they were doing this among schoolgirls, it would probably not have been too difficult, but they had to clear three of five demographic groups, and the first group was the elderly.

The Groups

As you might expect, that didn’t turn out very well. In fact, after dozens of street interviews, the only member who was recognized at all was Kitayama-kun. Considering how many elderly there are in Japan, that’s good news for him, but bad news for the group’s attempt to complete the challenge.

Kitayama SuccessfulKitayama Success 2Kitayama Success 3

But that was the most difficult of the five, so they decided to pass on the elderly, and instead try their luck on the other four groups in this episode. I won’t tell you whether they succeeded or failed, but let’s just go through the groups, and then I’ll round things up with some thoughts.

First, they tried to find a salaryman who recognized all of them. This was almost as frustrating as their experience with the elderly, except even fewer of the salarymen actually stopped to talk. There was a wide range of results, but the funniest had to be when one of the salarymen, trying to guess Kitayama’s name, said “Chinen.” The clip was also shown in last week’s episode, but it doesn’t really get old. After all, Chinen-kun is one of the most distinctive personalities in Johnny’s, and very different from Kitayama-kun.

Hunting for a SalarymanChinen-kun!That's Hey Say Jump!

Anyway, the groups got progressively easier after that. They went to a shopping district next.

Shopping District

The fourth destination was a Shibuya intersection:

Shibuya Intersection

And finally they interviewed young working women in Ebisu (the easiest demographic for them out of the five):

Young Women in Ebisu

Putting it bluntly, the show was a laugh riot, and you really sympathize with the poor Kis-My-Ft2 members getting their sense of popularity pounded on like this. The challenge had a real point – they have a long way to go before they’re major personalities in Japan, despite being able to fill Tokyo Dome with fans. And boy, did they get that point.

Tamamori UnhappyShock and LaughterSuccess

I loved their reactions. The despair at not being recognized felt real, and the joy at having someone correctly name them was almost moving. The ordeal was toughest on the four that are always in the background, I think. Kitayama, Tamamori, and Fujigaya have far more exposure, and that definitely showed up in this episode. However, this show really gives the other four a platform to develop their public persona – to introduce themselves to the public in a way that Kitayama, Tamamori, and Fujigaya have already done. I think it was good that the goal was to find someone who could name all of them for that reason.

So, another great episode of HamaKisu. I hope episodes keep getting shared – it’s among the shows I can appreciate with my iffy Japanese skills.