This week, the members of Kis-My-Ft2 continue to try to make their way up a staircase while trying to remember how to read various obscure kanji compounds. Those familiar with HamaKisu (濱キス) might think this is a relatively easy task compared to what they’ve taken on in earlier episodes, including kissing scorpions and forest survival. However, it turns out that Hamaguchi-san, tormentor . . . I mean, mentor . . . of Kis-My-Ft2, has not lost his touch.

HamaguchiThe Torment

The ordeal requires them to descend the staircase every time they make a mistake, and to go through all the kanji compounds over again. There are a hundred compounds in the challenge, and they seem to have trouble with every third question, so they’ve been up and down a lot already. At the base of the stairs, they have sheets of compounds to study from, and from which they can get the answer if they don’t know. Each member is responsible for a certain section of the full list of 1000 possibilities.

Study Time 1Study Time 2

We begin with their fifteenth attempt up the stairs, and they’ve climbed a total of 2180 stairs so far. They are on compound #50 out of 100.

Number 50

Okay, I know the first kanji is “bad” (normally read “waru-i”) and the second kanji is “cold/lame” (normally read “samu-i”). A dictionary lookup reveals that the two put together means a chill or the shakes, which makes sense, and that’s why you can understand kanji without knowing how to pronounce it. The correct answer, coming from Fujigaya-kun:

Fujigaya's Answer

“Okan.” I would never have guessed that. Of course, I only know the most common readings of kanji, when I know any reading at all. There’s no way I could have gotten from “warui” and “samui” to “okan.”

Well, if that was tough, the next 25 compounds are a level higher:

Progressive Difficulty

Here’s number 51 for a taste:

Number 51

Okay, that second kanji is insect (mushi), and I think it’s safe to say that this compound has to do with a creepy crawler/flier. Looking up the dictionary, I find out that it means beetle (yay!). But does the reading have “mu” or “shi” anywhere in it? Well, the answer that Tamamori-kun gives, marked correct, surprisingly does:

Tamamori's Answer

That’s “kabutomushi,” which makes sense. My trusty dictionary app gives an alternate reading of “kouchuu.” It looks like “kabutomushi” is a specific reading for the infamous Japanese rhinoceros beetle. If you were speaking of beetles in general, I guess you’d use “kouchuu.”

I have no clue about 52. Number 53 makes one of the members (I don’t know which one) go “wow!” and Kitayama-kun blasts right through it.

Number 53Kitayama's Answer

Take a look how far up they are when they get to 54:

It's a Long Walk Down

Will they have to come all the way back down after quickly getting through 50, 51, 52, and 53? I’d like stats on who did the best remembering their slate of kanji, but I’ll settle for finding out how many steps they go up and down during this challenge, and how many times they have to abort and go back to base camp.

Trying to remember and getting distracted

One thing’s for sure: they’ll have become slightly more literate by the end of it. But will that benefit offset all the bitter tension?

Nikaido's Not Happy With Kitayama

Even Hamaguchi-san gets tired of all the ups and downs, with his forty year-old frame getting taxed with more than forty more questions to go.

They Put a Red Arrow on Him

The forest is dark, and more than eight hours have passed, before the last ten are in sight. You’ll be wondering whether the stair counter needs more than four digits before they’re through. Their legs, already conditioned to take hours on stage, must have been in serious pain the day after this challenge.

Trudging Along

While fun for anyone who wanted to play along, this challenge was a bit slow if you were just watching without getting engaged. No matter what, though, it’s easy to appreciate the struggle the Kis-My-Ft2 members faced, and to marvel at their endurance. Heck, if someone asked you to go up and down around 10000 stairs answering 100 questions over and over again until you got them all right sequentially, how would you feel?

Maybe Something Like This?

Oh, and what if, like Hamaguchi-san, he was a sadistic fellow who had a surprise waiting after the hundredth question?

Bakayaro!Lookee Here

I don’t think we got a full explanation of this surprise, but it seems ominous for the Kis-My-Ft2 members.

The next episode looks like a recap special dubbed ダメ出し (damedashi – finding fault/urging improvement). So, we’ll be looking through some old video, but it might be more than just a highlight reel.