Can hypnosis keep us from tasting spiciness? We try to find out!!

Hypnotists were all the rage in Japan at the end of the Showa period (the ’70s and ’80s). They’d be on TV swinging a coin on a string in front of various celebrities, saying, “You are getting very sleepy,” and audiences would watch as they slowly began to fall asleep. Naturally, kids who grew up watching that would have loved to try it, and that included our Japanese-language reporters.

That’s why, knowing nothing at all about hypnosis, we invited a professional hypnotist to our office to work his magic on us!

Our guest was Hayato Mugen, a super famous hypnotist who has hypnotized over 20,000 people on TV and at live events. Joining him were Don-chan and Reina-chan, YouTubers from the channel Zecchou After School Hokago Fantasy Club.

Like the serious and dedicated scientists that we are, we decided to set up an experiment to see if Mugen’s hypnosis would really work on us. The test was to see whether Mugen could change the way our reporters perceived taste. Mugen would hypnotize them, and then they would eat a bowl of Extra Spicy Peyang Yakisoba noodles. If they made it through the meal easily, then the hypnosis would be considered a success.

Now, you may think of hypnosis as part of the occult, but it actually isn’t. Hypnosis is actually used as a medical treatment in Europe and the U.S, done through communication based on psychology. It’s even used in childbirth to relieve pain and anxiety.

Some people are more susceptible to hypnosis than others, though, with the ratio of those who fall asleep to those who remain awake at about 50-50. That’s probably partially what makes people look at it somewhat suspiciously.

Mugen first demonstrated on Don-chan and Reina-chan, who both seemed to fall asleep.

However, when it came to the effectiveness of the flavor-altering hypnosis…

Their responses were different. Don-chan happily munched away at his extra spicy yakisoba, seemingly unbothered by the extreme level of spiciness, but apparently it was difficult to change Reina-chan’s sense of taste, so she did not enjoy her spicy noodles.

By the way, as a control, our reporter Seiji Nakazawa tried the yakisoba without being hypnotized

And he really did think he was going to die from how spicy it was.

With their responses so evenly divided, we weren’t exactly convinced at this point, but now it was our reporters’ turn to experience the magic of hypnotism. To avoid having too many people in the office at once, our reporters were divided into two teams. The first team included Go Hatori, Yuchiro Wasai, and Mr. Sato. Before starting, Mugen warned them that those who work with words, like writers, tend to be more difficult to put into a state of hypnosis.

Apparently, workplace bosses are also hard to hypnotize. For example, they want to avoid embarrassing themselves in front of their subordinates, so they tend to resist more. In other words, it’s much easier to be hypnotized if you want to be hypnotized.  And as it turned out, of our three reporters in Team 1, the easiest one to hypnotize was apparently…

Mr. Sato!

He swayed on his feet with an empty expression, as if he’d traveled off into his own world. For those who were observing, this was pretty shocking to see.

▼ And maybe a little funny.

But Mugen wasn’t satisfied with a one in three success rate, so he singled out Go, saying, “You will not be able to open your eyes”…

But to the amusement of the office, it didn’t seem to work. Perhaps Go had put up a subconscious resistance to hypnosis since he’s the head of the Japanese editing department. Apparently, your susceptibility to hypnosis is also related to how compatible you are with the hypnotist, as well as how you feel on that day.

But Go still had to eat the spicy yakisoba, despite not being properly hypnotized, so we were all concerned about whether he’d be able to handle it.


Both Go and Yuichiro, who both happen to like spicy food, chomped away at their yakisoba, finishing it off easily, while Mr. Sato, who had quickly succumbed to the hypnosis, couldn’t finish his. In a way, it was a very normal result, one we might have expected without any hypnosis at all.

As such, they decided that for the second team

They would double the amount of spicy sauce!

We’ll see if hypnosis works now!!

Team 2 was composed of Yoshio, Seiji Nakazawa, Ahiru Neko, and Masanuki Sunakoma. Many theorized that Yoshio, the founder of SoraNews24, would be less susceptible to hypnosis as the big boss.

Right away, the four were hypnotized into being unable to open their eyes. The success rate was…

Three out of four! Everyone but Yoshio was completely hypnotized! Perhaps Yoshio, despite having a reputation for being exceedingly unconcerned with looking silly, still resisted hypnosis. Meanwhile, the other three were completely out of it. They looked like they’d been knocked out cold.

Masanuki later reported that, while hypnotized, he basically felt like he didn’t care about anything.

He could hear everything Mugen was saying, but at the same time, he felt like he was taking a nap, and it felt pretty good. But he also felt like he didn’t mind whatever Mugen did. He felt a bit like a fish on a chopping board.

Having successfully hypnotized most of this crew, Mugen then offered our intrepid reporters the super extra spicy Peyang yakisoba, which had been secretly doused with double the sauce (the only one who knew this was Masanuki).

To our reporters’ surprise, they had no problem eating the yakisoba at all!

Everyone, or almost everyone, was enjoying it like a regular bowl of yakisoba! Yoshio, however, hadn’t been fully hypnotized…and he really suffered.

In this state, Masanuki tucked into his extra spicy Peyang like it was nothing special. He said that it wasn’t as if the spicy flavor was completely absent; it was more like the part of his brain that told him his food was good was more active than the part that told him it was spicy. 

Mugen said that, other than Yoshio, Team 2 was able to enter into a fairly deep state of hypnosis, but Masanuki says that he and his hypnotized comrades weren’t aware that they were hypnotized. They felt normal. It’s possible that Mugen was exaggerating, but what happened next was pretty revealing.

Mugen picked out Ahiru Neko, who was quite thoroughly hypnotized, for one last demonstration.

He laid him down across three different chairs…

And made his body super rigid.

Then he took out the middle chair!!

Wait a minute!!


Ahiru Neko basically became a human bridge!!!

By the way, when Mugen woke them up, all he had to do was snap his fingers, and their eyes snapped right open. Like waking up from a good night’s rest! Very mysterious, but very cool.

After all this, our reporters were very impressed. If asked whether hypnosis was real, they would honestly say yes. But there are people who are not susceptible to it, so that’s something to keep in mind. Still, if you want to witness something cool, don’t skip out on the chance of a hypnosis demonstration!

Images © SoraNews24
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