Some viewers complained in 2012 - when Japan's territorial dispute with China was at its recent peak - to ask why a TV station dropped a news programme to broadcast a mere rock, paper, scissors competition.
It was because Japan is really weird. On the other hand, this doesn't seem any more stupid than X-Factor:
(You need to watch the video at the top of the story for full impact.)
this was a contest that decided which member of wildly popular Japanese girl group AKB48 would get to front the band.
"For the last decade, I didn't get to do much TV work or didn't stand in the front row of our performance at the AKB theatre," Tanabe told the BBC.
There are some 130 girls, not 48, in AKB48, and not all of them get to be part of their songs or TV appearances.
While Tanabe is a 10-year veteran of the band, it's safe to say she hasn't really enjoyed the spotlight. Her best performance was when she came 71st out of 296 girls in 2014 in the popularity contest.
At that time it seemed to be the best outcome she could hope for so for the last two years, she didn't even stand in the AKB general election.
She appeared to have given up becoming identified as a successful member of the group.
But seven years ago the selection took an unusual twist when the management began holding an annual competition of rock, paper, scissors, or scissor, paper, stone, as it is otherwise known.
"This competition gives an opportunity to any members, so when I first heard that I could grab an opportunity to be selected by winning at rock, paper, scissors, I was excited and was very motivated," she told the BBC.
For six years, she didn't come close to winning this game of chance. In 2010, she came 12th in the rock, paper, scissors competition. Then it got to October 2016.
"When I got to the final match, when I realised I might actually win, I was actually more scared than being thrilled," she recalled.