View previous topic | View next topic

Mistake in QI "Illumination"

Page 1 of 1

867825.  Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:37 am Reply with quote


I have never posted here before, but I became a forum member because I searched the website to find a way to contact "the elves", but there is no "contact us" section, or at least not one that is easily found.

I have been watching QI online (sorry about it) for the past few months now and have burned through several seasons in a very short period of time. I live in Japan, and sometimes there's not a lot to do.

In the most recent episode, titled "Illumination", one of the panelists is buzzed for falling into a trap and saying "ninja". Then, behind the panelists appears a picture of bunraku puppetiers. Of course, Mr. Fry is on the money when he says that they wear black to appear invisible, but he mistakenly accredits it to kabuki theatre, which consists of an all-male cast and the stories deal with Japanese folklore. Bunraku is specific to puppet-theatre and all of the "actors" are dolls.

Furthermore, the puppet masters (sometimes 4 for each doll; arms/hands, legs, head and body) are only somtimes positioned behind a dark surface which would make them appear even more invisible. The invisibilty effect comes from them gradually disappearing from view the more you focus on the puppet. In a sense, the puppets appear more humanoid than the black figures and hence you kind of get the feeling the puppet masters are objects in the background and the puppet is a human.

Sarry bout it.

867832.  Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:00 am Reply with quote

Hi there and welcome to the site.

You're right that it was a bit confusing when Stephen was talking about kabuki and then they showed a picture of bunraku puppeteers. However, as far as we know, attributing it to kabuki was not necessarily a mistake.

In the course of the research for this series, we came across this article which claims that stagehands in kabuki theatre were also dressed all in black, so the audience were used to ignoring them as they weren't part of the play. So, when one of these stagehands then "killed" someone in the play, it came as a complete shock to the audience, in the same way that a stealthy ninja would surprise people.

In the article, it refers to "Edo period theater", though our Japanese contact assures us that that means kabuki theatre.

However, the elves at QI are not infallible, so we welcome any input from people who know more about these things.

950624.  Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:28 am Reply with quote

Oh no, you don't use Cracked articles as information sources do you? ;)

950882.  Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:44 am Reply with quote

Hey, we're not proud - we take information from anywhere. But we do check it out! Welcome to QI, jsaonline :-)

950884.  Tue Nov 13, 2012 11:47 am Reply with quote


Thanks for the welcome. I LOVE the show, and recently went to two live recordings ("Jump" and Xmas). I look forward to seeing them on TV.

Great job to all involved!



Page 1 of 1

All times are GMT - 5 Hours

Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group