BY GEOFF WEISS
After the mukbang—or “eating show”—phenomenon took off in South Korea and eventually became a popular content format across the globe, yet another YouTube genre looks to be making serious waves in Asia.
Kotaku reports that a slew of benkyou douga—or so-called “study clips”—are taking YouTube by storm in Japan. The videos feature creators quietly studying for as much as an hour at a time, and are intended to be consumed by viewers who are also doing homework—with audiences primarily consisting of middle and high school students. One such video by the popular Japanese creator Hajime Shacho (6.1 million subscribers), for instance, has racked up more than 3 million views. Over the course of the hourlong clip (below), Shacho doesn’t utter a single word but can be seen with his head buried in a book, taking notes.
Kotaku notes that American YouTubers are also producing “study with me” clips. For instance, a 1-year-old channel dubbed the Strive Studies is completely dedicated to the genre, with 80,000 subscribers and 2.6 million lifetime views.
And while study clips may draw comparisons to eating shows—given their emphasis on a seemingly mundane task being documented in real-time—one might also liken the format to autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). In the same way that study clips are intended to impart focus, ASMR videos feature soft and repetitive sounds—including the crumpling of paper or the clicking of a computer mouse—that are intended to trigger relaxation.
You can check out some other study clip samples—some of which include background music and talking, and some of which are intended for adults working office jobs — over at Kotaku.