A Japanese comedian was stripped naked, locked in a room, and forced to live off prizes he won in the mail for a TV show.
It was January 1998. Nasubi, a 23 year old standup comedian auditioned for a “show-business related job.” The producers of the show wanted someone willing to be locked away in a one bedroom apartment for however long it took to win a million yen (then about 10,000 USD) worth of prizes in magazine contests. The footage was to be edited into a weekly one hour segment called “Sweepstakes Boy” and the ultimate reward would be a potential boost to his career through national exposure.
Nasubi earned the part, and entered magazine sweepstakes by filling out thousands of postcards each month to win prizes. His first prize, after two weeks, was a jar of jelly. His second prize, four weeks in, was a bag of rice. As the series progressed, Nasubi won more and more prizes, eventually getting his only article of clothing- panties. Other prizes included vacuum cleaners, Spice Girls tickets, a TV, and some disappointing duck meat.
His first roll of toilet paper came 10 months into the series. After being locked inside for one year, Nasubi won a bag of rice that earned him his millionth yen in prizes. Instead of being free, he was given clothes, a bowl of noodles, and then sent to Korea to win prizes for airfare back home. Following that, he was sent to one more empty room in Japan. He stripped naked assuming he had to, and it was revealed this third room was just a large box.
The walls were lifted and Nasubi found himself naked on live television in front of 17 million viewers (he had been censored on television before then). Nasubi found out he made quite a bit of money from a soup commercial of him eating noodles, a best selling publication of the diary he kept, and even a website that generated profits due to his newfound fame.