SASUKE is a Japanese sports entertainment television special where 100 competitors attempt to complete four obstacle course stages. An edited version, Ninja Warrior, is screened in the United States by G4, in the United Kingdom by Challenge and Virgin 1 and in New Zealand by C4 (TV channel).
It airs on the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) between Japanese television drama seasons. Each 3-hour special covers an entire competition, and there have been 22 specials, approximately one new special per season (twice per year), since September 26, 1997. The show is produced by Monster9 and is one of the spin-offs of Template:Nihongo, another sports entertainment competition (which currently airs on G4 under the name Unbeatable Banzuke). Until the 10th Competition, Sasuke was broadcast as a special part of the Muscle Ranking series but became an independent program when the Muscle Ranking series was discontinued. The first competition in 1997 was held indoors, marking the only time Sasuke did not take place outside. Competitions generally start in the daytime, and continue, rain or shine or into the darkness, until they are over.
There have been several programs related to Sasuke. Kunoichi, perhaps the most well-known spinoff, is a version of Sasuke restricted to female competitors only and consisting of obstacles focused more on balance and speed. There have also been special competitions for children and the elderly.
Through an interview or audition as well as trial rounds to test physical ability, the field of applicants is narrowed to 100 who will be allowed to compete in the 1st Stage. Sasuke consists of four stages of increasing difficulty that the competitors must complete. For the purposes of fairness, in the 18th competition, a 1200-meter run was held before the event. This run determined the competitors' numbers. Each competition is taped prior to the air date and broadcast as a 3-hour show edited for time.
An online game based on the show has been made by G4 in the United States and is available on the network's website.
Main Artical : Noticable Participants
One particular point of interest is the broad spectrum of participants. Most are amateur athletes hailing from Japan, although some national television personalities and Olympians from other countries (including the USA, Bulgaria, China, Korea, Australia and Iran) occasionally take part in the competition. Some of the more enthusiastic competitors dress up in costumes, bring props to the starting stage, or show off some of their talents.
The Sasuke All-Stars are a group of a favored competitors who in many people's eyes possess the greatest opportunities to clear all four stages. This group was supposedly established by the TBS network. The list includes:
Kazuhiko Akiyama -- a 37-year-old massage therapist and former crab diver from Tokoro, Hokkaidō. He is the first competitor to have completed Sasuke, doing so on his third try in the 4th Competition. He is the only competitor to have attempted the final stage, but never failed it. He has had varying levels of success since, primarily due to failing eyesight. Before becoming a crab fisherman, he was in the Japan Self-Defense Forces where he took up Greco-Roman wrestling. In 2005 his height and weight was recorded at 5 feet, 3 inches and 123 pounds. He made his debut in the 2nd competition, and between then and the 17th competition, he only missed the 5th. Akiyama announced a retirement from Sasuke after the 17th competition to focus on his fatherhood and work, but then he returned to Sasuke to compete in Sasuke 20,and 22 ultimately failing on the First Stage's Halfpipe Attack. As of 2009, Akiyama has completed the First Stage 6 times, the Second Stage 3 times, the Third Stage and the full course once.
2nd 100 Failed Wall Lift Second
3rd 99 Failed Wall Lift Second
4th 86 Total Victory (6.0 seconds to spare) Final
5th did not compete
6th 100 Failed Jump Hang First
7th 99 Failed Jump Hang First
8th 99 Failed Jump Hang First
9th 100 Failed Quintuple Step First
10th 981 Failed Warped Wall First
11th 99 Failed Body Prop Third
12th 97 Failed Pipe Slider Third
13th 91 Failed Crooked Wall First
14th 71 Failed Warped Wall First
15th 81 Failed Warped Wall First
16th 71 Failed Metal Spin Second
17th 71 Failed Circle Slider First
18th did not compete
19th did not compete
20th 1901 Failed Halfpipe Attack First
21st did not compete
22nd 20 Failed Halfpipe Attack First
23rd did not compete
24th ?? Failed Warped Wall First
25th Failed Warped Wall First
Makoto Nagano -- a 38-year-old fisherman living near Kagoshima and the second man to ever complete the course. He spends 300 days a year at sea captaining his ship, the 28th Konpira Maru, where he works as a commercial fisherman as well as trains for the competition. Clips of him training are shown frequently during the broadcast and include him doing sit-ups off the side of the boat, handstands on the top mast, and hanging off a bridge crossing it like the Cliff Hanger obstacle. In 2005 his height and weight were recorded as 5 feet, 3 inches and 134 pounds. He debuted in the 7th competition, where he failed to scale the Warped Wall. After failing to scale the Warped Wall again in the 8th Competition, Nagano made it to the Third Stage's Pipe Slider in the 9th. He failed the Jump Hang in the 10th competition and since then has reached the Third Stage in every competition except the 15th in which he failed on the Metal Spin (Second Stage), the 19th where he failed on the Flying Chute (First Stage), and 20th where he failed the Downhill Jump (Second Stage) and the 22nd where he failed the Slider Jump (First Stage). He has reached the Final Stage four times (in the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 17th Competitions), more than any other competitor, and finally completed it in the 17th Competition. His three consecutive Final Stage appearances are a record shared with Akira Omori, who accomplished the feat in the first three competitions. As of 2009, Nagano has completed the First Stage 11 times, the Second Stage 9 times, the Third Stage 4 times, and the full course once. Nagano will be making his first US appearance at the Chibi-Pa Festival in September of 2008.
7th 87 Failed Warped Wall First
8th 41 Failed Warped Wall First
9th 61 Failed Pipe Slider Third
10th 999 Failed Jump Hang First
11th 96 Failed Rope Climb Final
12th 100 Failed Rope Climb (miss the button by 0.11 seconds)& Final
13th 100 Failed Rope Climb Final
14th 100 Failed Jumping Bars Third
15th 100 Failed Metal Spin (jump and quickly fell) Second
16th 100 Failed Devil's Swing Third
17th 99 Total Victory (2.5 seconds to spare) Final
18th 96 Disqualified himself on Cliff Hanger^ Third
19th 100 Failed Flying Chute First
20th 2000 Failed Downhill Jump Second
21st 100 Failed Gliding Ring Third
22nd 100 Failed Slider Jump First
23rd 100 Failed Rope Climb Final
24th 100 Failed Jumping Spider First
^Nagano grabbed the ledge of the third gap instead of the bar; instead of continuing, he admitted his mistake and disqualified himself.
&Although Nagano reach the final stage, but he miss the button by 0.11 seconds.
Toshihiro Takeda -- a 35-year-old fire rescue worker from Ibi District, Gifu Prefecture. He has reached a level of fame both in Sasuke and in his career that he became the poster boy for Japan's firefighting recruitment drive for 2006. Takeda always competes in his orange firefighter trousers and a black, blue, or white fire rescue t-shirt. Since his debut in the 5th competition, Takeda has passed the First Stage in all except the 7th Competition where he timed out on the Rope Climb, the 10th Competition where he fell on the Jump Hang, the 19th Competition where he timed out after the Warped Wall, and the 20th Competition where he timed out on the Rope Ladder. He is the only All-Star not to compete in the final stage. He had considered retirement after the 17th competition, but his son convinced him to return to Sasuke. As of 2009, Takeda has completed the First Stage 13 times and the Second Stage 11 times.
5th 74 Failed Spider Walk Second
6th 93 Failed Body Prop Third
7th 96 Failed Rope Climb First
8th 71 Failed Pipe Slider Third
9th 97 Failed Globe Grasp Third
10th 997 Failed Jump Hang First
11th 97 Failed Body Prop Third
12th 95 Failed Pipe Slider Third
13th 98 Failed Cliff Hanger Third
14th 97 Failed Cliff Hanger Third
15th 96 Failed Devil's Swing Third
16th 98 Failed Cliff Hanger Third
17th 91 Failed Pipe Slider Third
18th 86 Failed Salmon Ladder Second
19th 96 Failed Warped Wall First
20th 1995 Failed Rope Ladder First
21st 98 Failed Ascending Climb Third
22nd 92 Failed Jumping Spider First
23rd ?? Failed Spider Flip Third
24th ?? Failed Spider Flip Third
Shingo Yamamoto -- a 35-year-old gas station manager from Tokyo, he is the only person to have competed in every Sasuke competition, and the only person to have attempted the first and second version of the Final Stage. During his first attempt in the 3rd Competition he was only about 3 meters short, but his second appearance in the 7th Competition ended almost immediately when he dislocated his shoulder just seconds after beginning the Spider Climb. He usually competes in his gas station uniform shirt and cap (always with Esso/Mobil branding); he has only competed without it twice (1st and 4th competitions). Much note is made of his career and personal successes, including his promotions at the Hasegawa service station, where he started as a gas jockey in the 1st Competition, manager at the 6th, and was announced as a district manager at the 17th; his marriage after the 5th; and the building of his home in Tokyo, complete with a Sasuke training course. In the 22 Tournaments he has entered, he has passed the First Stage 12 times, the Second Stage 10 times, and the Third Stage twice. In the 20th competition, he almost completed the Halfpipe Attack but lost his balance off the platform, making it the third tournament in a row where he has failed the First Stage.
1st 7 Failed Hammer Dodge Second
2nd 20 Failed Pipe Slider Third
3rd 13 Failed Rope Climb Final
4th 98 Failed Balance Bridge First
5th 98 Failed Pipe Slider Third
6th 96 Failed Rolling Log First
7th 97 Failed Spider Climb$ Final
8th 98 Failed Rope Climb First
9th 98 Failed Rumbling Dice Third
10th 998 Failed Rope Climb First
11th 98 Failed Cliff Hanger Third
12th 96 Failed Cliff Hanger Third
13th 76 Failed Wall Lift Second
14th 98 Failed Curtain Cling Third
15th 95 Failed Body Prop Third
16th 97 Failed Jump Hang First
17th 98 Failed Body Prop Third
18th 61 Failed Flying Chute First
19th 81 Failed Jumping Spider First
20th 1981 Failed Halfpipe Attack First
21st 71 Failed Flying Chute First
22nd 31 Failed Halfpipe Attack^ First
^Yamamoto Completed the obstacle but fell off the plank that connected the Halfpipe Attack to the Warped Wall. After being interviewed about it he says that he had no idea that the narrow plank was slanted failing between the flat platform at the end of the Halfpipe Attack and the flat platform at the start of the Warped Wall.
$When the final stage starts off the time, Yamamoto slip off the "Spider Climb" and down on the floor in the few feet.
Bunpei Shiratori -- a 42-year-old health-services government employee from Inba Village, Chiba Prefecture. He is a track and field athlete specializing in the triple jump; he even competes in his track uniform. He debuted in the 9th competition, but did not compete in the 10th because he wasn't one of the 100 contestants selected. In 2005, his height and weight were recorded as 5 feet, 9 inches and 145 pounds. He reached the Final Stage in the 12th competition, his only time doing so, and timed out on the Rope Climb. During the 15th Competition, Bunpei overcame heat exhaustion to complete the First Stage and advance to the Climbing Bars (Bridge of Destiny) in the Third Stage; temperatures that day were reportedly at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. He has built a full-sized model of the course in his backyard known as the Shiratori Shrine, where he trains. He invites the other Sasuke All-Stars to train there, and even invited the first G4 American Ninja Challenge finalists, Colin Bell and Brett Sims, to his course in 2007. Unfortunately, due to a back injury, Shiratori was unable to compete in Sasuke 20 and he dropped out of Sasuke 22 due to a knee injury. As of 2009, Shiratori completed the First Stage 8 times, the Second Stage 5 times, and the Third Stage once.
9th 79 Failed Warped Wall First
10th did not compete
11th 66 Failed Wall Lift Second
12th 77 Failed Rope Climb Final
13th 99 Failed Pipe Slider Third
14th 96 Failed Balance Tank Second
15th 94 Failed Climbing Bars Third
16th 96 Failed Pipe Slider Third
17th 81 Failed Body Prop Third
18th 95 Failed Jumping Spider First
19th 82 Failed Flying Chute First
20th did not compete (injured)
21st 83 Failed Downhill Jump Second
22nd did not compete (injured)
Katsumi Yamada -- 43 years old from Harima, Hyōgo Prefecture, he is known as "Mr. Sasuke" and "Mr. Ninja Warrior(US)" . Due to Yamada's success in the earlier competitions, he was once thought to be the most likely to complete the entire course. Yamada, whose profession used to be that of a propane tank delivery driver, debuted in the 1st competition and failed the Hammer Dodge in the 2nd Stage. The only time he reached the Final Stage was in the 3rd Competition, when he timed out just a few inches from the buzzer. In the 6th and 10th Competitions Yamada reached the end of the Pipe Slider only to fail the jump to the final mat. He is particularly notable for his unusual devotion to the Sasuke competition; many times he has sworn to retire from the competition only to resurface again, at one point alienating his family in the process. Despite his frequent claims that he will never compete again, Yamada has only missed the 13th Competition. After failing on the Pipe Slider in the 10th Competition, he never returned to the Third Stage. Since being disqualified in the 12th competition on the Second Stage (for finishing the Second Stage wearing gloves that contestants start with, for safety reasons on the Chain Reaction, but are required to remove before the third obstacle, the Spider Walk), he has never completed the First Stage. Since the factory where he once worked has closed down, he never acquired another full-time job, and spends the rest of his time training. There is a rumorTemplate:Fact that Yamada is training his son to compete in upcoming tournaments he trained Takuya Miyagi for Sasuke 21. As of 2009, Yamada has completed the First Stage 10 times, the Second Stage 4 times (5 if he removed his gloves), and the Third Stage only once.
1st 92 Failed Hammer Dodge Second
2nd 91 Failed Spider Walk Second
3rd 89 Failed Rope Climb Final
4th 100 Failed Cliff Hanger Third
5th 100 Failed Spider Walk Second
6th 99 Failed Pipe Slider Third
7th 100 Failed Rope Climb First
8th 100 Failed Warped Wall First
9th 99 Failed Wall Lift Second
10th 1000 Failed Pipe Slider Third
11th 100 Failed Balance Tank Second
12th 98 Disqualified on Spider Walk^ Second
13th did not compete
14th 99 Failed Jump Hang First
15th 99 Disqualified on Bridge of Blades@ First
16th 99 Failed Rope Climb First
17th 100 Failed Warped Wall First
18th 73 Failed Rope Ladder First
19th 91 Failed Jumping Spider First
20th 1999 Failed Jumping Spider First
21st 96 Failed Warped Wall First
22nd 81 Failed Jumping Spider First
^Although Yamada completed the Second Stage, he was disqualified for wearing gloves on the "Spider Walk" obstacle.
@Although Yamada made it pass the Bridge of Blades in the first stage but Yamada slip off the platform and downs.
Many world-class athletes who have attempted Sasuke include American gymnasts (and twin brothers) Paul and Morgan Hamm, American decathlete Paul Terek and Bulgarian gymnast Jordan Jovtchev. Jovtchev reached the Final Stage during the 8th Competition, but became the first and only competitor to suffer a 15-second timeout on the initial Spider Climb portion, falling when it spread apart. It might be noted that it was raining during this attempt. He also started 2 seconds late, resulting in further disadvantages. He then made the Third Stage three more times (competitions 12, 14, 16), failing the Cliff Hanger each time. He later returned after a lengthy absence for Sasuke 20, where he failed on the First Stage obstacle, the Warped Wall. Paul Hamm made it to the second stage in the 14th and 16th competitions but failed to make it further (in the 14th he cleared the Wall Lift but forgot to hit the button at the end before time ran out, and in the 16th he was eliminated by the Metal Spin), and Morgan made it to the third stage in the 15th competition, failing there on the Curtain Cling. Terek made it to the third stage in the 17th competition, failing on the "Cliff Hanger", and returned in the 19th, failing on the first stage on the "Jumping Spider". Terek did not compete in Sasuke 20 because of his training for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing (however, Terek had to drop out of the running after suffering a torn meniscus in his left knee)he failed the Slider Jump in Sasuke 22.
Several world-class Japanese athletes have competed, with one of the most notable being trampolinist Shunsuke Nagasaki. This 22-year-old is one of the most promising of recent competitors. This skilled trampolinist who is called "Prince of the Trampoline" has won several medals in the Trampoline World Cups and Doha Asian Games. Shunsuke first appeared in the 14th Competition at age 17 and made it to the Second Stage, where after struggling on the Spider Walk he timed out on the Wall Lift. He shares the distinction of being the youngest competitor to reach the Third Stage, which he did at age 18, during the 15th competition (Takayuki Kawashima had also reached the Third Stage at age 18, during the 1st competition). In the 18th competition, due to the modifications in the Cliff Hanger, he failed the Third Stage. In the 19th competition, he was eliminated in the First Stage by falling off the Flying Chute; this was his first time failing the First Stage. In 2007 his height and weight was recorded as 5 feet, 8 inches and 152 pounds. Shunsuke did not compete in the 20th SASUKE competition due to his training for the 2008 Olympics (though he was seen training G4TV's American Ninja Challengers on the trampoline a couple of days before the competition), although he ultimately did not qualify for the Olympics. As of 2009, Nagasaki has completed the First Stage 5 times in a row, the Second Stage 4 times, and the Third Stage once.
Lee Enchi(incorrectly listed as Lee Yen Chi in the US versions)has competed 4 times in Sasuke 17 he made it to Stage 2 but failed the Metal Spin. In Sasuke 18 he failed the Jumping Spider. He failed the Wall Lift in Sasuke 21 after having difficulty with the Salmon Ladder. In Sasuke 22 he finnaly broke through Stage 2 but failed the Shin-Cliff Hanger in Stage 3.
Shunsuke's younger brother, Takamasa Nagasaki, who is also a trampolinist, made his debut in the 18th competition. Takamasa was the first to reach the Second Stage in that tournament, where ultimately he failed the Salmon Ladder. In the 19th competition, like his brother, he was eliminated by the Flying Chute. In the 20th Competition, he timed out after he completed the Flying Chute.
Two more of Japan's most-recognized athletes are gymnast Naoki Iketani and trampolinist Daisuke Nakata, both of whom have reached the Third Stage numerous times, but never the Final Stage. Both Iketani and Nakata are performers on the Muscle Musical travelling show; Shunsuke Nagasaki made a guest appearance on the show with Nakata in 2003, when Shunsuke was only 15. Nakata, known to many as the "King of the Trampoline," has performed at the Olympic Games in the past. He debuted in the 8th competition and has only failed the First Stage once (that being in the 12th competition when he failed the Rolling Log). Nakata was the victim of a hit-and-run accident in 2004, an incident that severely damaged his hands and wrists. He missed several tournaments due to this injury before coming back in the 16 Sasuke and timed out on the Rope Climb. In the 17th competition; due to the weakness in his hands, he failed on the Third Stage's Arm Rings in Sasuke 21 he returned(still injured) and failed the Salmon Ladder. Iketani debuted in the 2nd competition and failed the Spinning Log and first made it to the third Stage in the 4th competition. in his other 5 trys at Stage 3 the Cliff Hanger stopped him twice(10-11),and the Body Prop Stopped him 3 times(13, 14, 16) He recently returned to Sasuke in the 20th competition, his first since the 16th, but failed on the First Stage's Jumping Spider, in Sasuke 21 he failed the Flying Chute, in Sasuke 22 he failed the Warped Wall. Iketani usually starts his run with a backflip.
Iketani's brother, Olympic medal-winning gymnast Yukio Iketani, who had also completed Hand Walk 1 on Kinniku Banzuke, debuted in the 1st Competition and made it to the second stage but failed the Hammer Dodge. He returned in the 20th competition, but he failed on the Log Grip in the first stage.
Japanese cyclist Masaki Inoue, who took the silver medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, competed in the 17th competition. He grabbed onto the netting of the First Stage's Jump Hang, but was disqualified when his foot hit the water as he tried to clear the obstacle.
Japanese surfer Kiyomi Inoue is the oldest contestant to ever past the first stage, doing so at age 44 during the 1st competition; however, he then failed the Spider Walk in the 2nd stage, he also competed in Sasuke 2 but failed the Rapid Descent.
Gymnast Takayuki Kawashima, who placed sixth in the Acrobatic Gymnastics World Championships in 1995, made it to the Final Stage in the 1st Tournament when he was only 18, making him the youngest person to attempt the Final Stage. He made it back to the 3rd Stage in the 4th Tournament, ultimately failing the Cliff Hanger. Recently, he has come back to compete in Sasuke. He returned in the 18th Tournament, but ultimately timed out on the Great Wall. He also competed in the 19th Competition, but his footage was cut from the TBS broadcast. In the 20th Competition, he failed the Halfpipe Attack. In the Sasuke 21 Kawashima failed the Jumping Spider. In the 22nd Competition he failed the Slider Jump.
Other Japanese gymnasts, including Hikaru Tanaka and Yoshiaki Hatakeda, have competed on Sasuke. They both competed in the 1995 World Artistics Gymnastics Championships, and Hatakeda has competed in the Olympic Games in the past (in Barcelona 1992, he won the bronze medal). Tanaka was one of two men to make the Final Stage in the 2nd Competition, ultimately timing out on the final Rope Climb; in the 3rd Competition, however, he was defeated in the First Stage by the Rolling Log. Hatakeda competed in the 6th competition and made it to the Third Stage, where he failed on the Cliff Hanger.
Former track star Yoshiyuki Okuyama, who participated in the 1991 World Championships in Athletics - Men's 200 metres, debuted in the 20th Competition, and was one of only three competitors to make the Second Stage. There, he cleared the Salmon Ladder only to fail on the Stick Slider immediately after, he also competed in Sasuke 21 and failed the Warped Wall, in Sasuke 22 he was one of four competitors to reach the Third Stage failing the Shin-Cliff Hanger.
Japanese team handball players have also challenged Sasuke. In the 20th competition, Daisuke Miyazaki, who earned the title of Pro Sportsman No. 1 in 2006 ,2008,and 2009 competed but failed the Halfpipe Attack in the First Stage, in Sasuke 21 he made it to Stage Three but failed the Devil Steps ,in Sasuke 22 he timed out on the Rope Ladder. Another handball player, Kenji Toyoda, also competed in the 20th competition but failed on the First Stage's Log Grip. Sho Inagawa failed the Flying Chute in Sasuke 21. Izuma Masakatzu competed in Sasuke's 20, 21 ,and 22 failing the Halfpipe Attack, Rope Ladder, and Slider Jump.
Underwater hockey player and finswimmer Kosuke Yamaguchi, who participated in the 2006 CMAS Underwater Hockey World Championships in Sheffield, competed in the 12th, 13th and 14th competitions. In the 12th competition he failed the Rope Climb in the First Stage, in the 13th he made it to the Second Stage but ran out of time on the Wall Lift, and in the 14th he made it to the Third Stage but went out on its first obstacle, the Rumbling Dice.
K-1 mixed martial artist Genki Sudo (6th, 12th and 13th tournament) has also competed. He only made it as far as the Jump Hang though. Fellow mixed martial artist Sanae Kikuta competed in the Eighth and Tenth tournaments but fell off of the Rolling Log in the first stage. Then he competed in the Twelfth tournament and fell on the Plank Bridge in the First Stage. Other K-1 fighters who have competed include TATSUJI (19th competition, failed the Jumping Spider), Yudai (20th competition, failed the Sextuple Step), Andy Ologun (18th competition, failed on the Rope Glider; 20th Competition, failed on the Log Grip),Bobby Ologun (22nd Competition failed on the Log Grip), and Bernard Ackah (19th competition, failed on the Jumping Spider).
Several professional wrestlers have also competed including Tiger Mask IV, The Great Sasuke (referred to as Great Ninja Warrior in the US and UK versions), Minoru Suzuki and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Both Suzuki and Tanahashi were the All Japan Triple Crown champion and IWGP Heavyweight Champion respectively during their runs in the course.
Several Japanese or Japan-based entertainers have taken part in Sasuke such as action movie star Kane Kosugi and his brother, Shane--sons of Sho Kosugi. Shane timed out on the Second Stage's Wall Lift in the 2nd competition, then failed the First Stage's Rolling Log in the 3rd Competition. In the 4th he came close to completing the First Stage but timed out on the Rope Climb. He then made the Third Stage twice (6th and 7th competitions, failing both times on the Body Prop), but then shocked everyone in the 8th competition when he failed to get past the First Stage's Warped Wall. Kane made the Third Stage in the 1st, 4th and 6th Competitions, failing on the Pillar Path, Cliff Hanger and Body Prop, respectively. In the 7th competition he made the Second Stage but failed on the Spider Walk. He finally reached the Final Stage in the 8th Competition (and alongside Jordan Jovtchev, was the first foreigner to make it that far). That day, heavy rains were falling on Midoriyama, and Kane timed out on the rope climb; he has not competed since. Shane competed one more time without his brother, in the 9th Competition, but failed the Big Boulder in the First Stage.
Other entertainers include Hiromichi Sato, host of several NHK children's programs, as well as Shigeyuki Nakamura (who was a champion of the Muscle Gym event in Kinniku Banzuke), actor-singer Kazumi Morohoshi (a former member of the band Hikaru Genji; now a solo artist), actor/announcer Kenjirō Ishimaru and actors Masaki Nomura and Shōei. Nakamura made it to the third stage in the 2nd competition, failing there on the Pipe Slider, but in the 6th competition he was eliminated by the First Stage's Jump Hang. Ishimaru has never made it past the First Stage, and his two closest chances had him timing out on the Rope Climb in the 16th and 17th competitions; Shōei made it to the Third Stage during the 8th competition, ultimately failing on the Body Prop. Sato debuted in the 18th Tournament and failed on the First Stage obstacle, the Flying Chute. In the 19th Tournament, he failed the Log Grip, in the 20th Competition he timed out before he attempted the Tarzan Rope, in the 21st Competition he failed the Warped Wall, and in the 22nd competition he failed the Metal Spin in Stage 2. Morohoshi debuted in the 20th tournament, but failed on the Log Grip in the First Stage.
Several Japanese comedians have taken part in Sasuke. Some of them include Akira Omori ("The Monkey"), Koriki Choshu ("the most famous gut in Japan"), Passion Yara ("screaming wacko"), Masaki Sumitani ("Razor Ramon H.G."), Yoku Hata ("Guitar Samurai"), Tetsurō Degawa, and Kinnikun Nakayama. While most of these are mainly for entertainment value and do not represent serious challenges (for example, Choshu's only accomplishment was being the first person to clear the Rope Glider in the 18th competition), some have seen success. Most notably, Omori made it to the Final Stage three times in a row (1st-3rd competitions, but since then has not been able to clear the First Stage), and Nakayama made it to the Second Stage in the 9th and 11th competitions; in the 9th, Nakayama failed the Spider Walk, and in the 11th, he just missed hitting the Second Stage's final button by a split-second.
Other notable competitorsEdit
Some other participants notable for their success in Sasuke - not really fitting into any notable category - include Shinji Kobayashi, a 37-year-old garbage man from Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture, who has competed nine times and made it to the Third Stage in the 11th Competition (failing there on the Pipe Slider) as well as the 14th (where he failed on the Devil's Swing). In the 15th tournament he failed the First Stage's Crooked Wall, and then in the 16th he was one of 16 contestants who made the Second Stage, but was also one of several contestants who was eliminated by the Metal Spin. Since his debut in the 11th Tournament, he has only missed the 17th Tournament. However, much of his footage has been cut from the TBS broadcast. He was shown in Sasuke 20 and wore #1985, but failed on the Jumping Spider in the first stage. In 2005 Kobayashi's height and weight was recorded as 5 feet, 5 inches and 132 pounds. He usually competes in a blue or gray garbage man's uniform.
Former elementary school teacher Hiroyuki Asaoka, previously known as the "Sasuke Sensei" (in America: "Professor Ninja Warrior", in the UK: "The Professor"), has also competed in several tournaments. Asaoka was also one of the three men to have reached the Final Stage in the 12th competition, failing on the Rope Climb. He also reached the Third Stage in the 4th, 10th, and 14th competitions. He also cleared the first stage in the 11th Tournament but then stunned the crowd when he failed on the Second Stage's first obstacle, the Chain Reaction. In the 15th Tournament, which was his last, he failed the First Stage's Rope Climb. Currently, Asaoka works on his career as an illustrator for graphic novels.
Kenji Takahashi, a 31-year-old delivery man from Saitama Prefecture, has competed 7 times, with a 5-year break between his first and second attempt (7th competition to 16th competition, respectively); he has reached the third stage on each attempt except his 4th attempt (where he failed the First Stage's Jumping Spider in the 19th tournament) his 5th attempt (where he failed the First Stage's Flying Chute in the 20th tournament)his 6th attempt (where he failed the First Stage's Jumping Spider in the 21st tournament) and his 7th attempt (where he failed the First Stage's Slider Jump in the 22nd tournament). Takahashi was one of three competitors to reach the third stage in the 18th competition, ultimately failing on the redesigned Cliff Hanger.
The only woman to have completed the 1st Stage is former Super Sentai stuntwoman Chie Nishimura, who did so in the 2nd Competition; she attempted to do the Second Stage's Spider Walk in a very unoptimal fashion resembling the proper method of the later obstacle, the Third Stage's Body Prop. Consequently, she failed the Spider Walk. It was noted that this was because her legs were too short to reach across as is normal for the Spider Walk.
American Navy salvage diver Travis Schraeder made his debut in the 4th competition, and impressed many by making it all the way to the Third Stage. There, he reached the Pipe Slider, but unfortunately pushed it too hard to the point that it fell off its tracks, thereby disqualifying Schraeder. He did earn the distinction of being the first American competitor (not counting Kane Kosugi since he's half Japanese) to reach the Third Stage. In the 5th competition, he stunned many when he ran out of time on the First Stage's Rope Climb (this could be attributed to the fact that he was tangled in the Jump Hang for a good portion of the time). These were his only two appearances.
Another notable competitor is Tomihiro Tatsukawa, aka the Japanese "Clark Kent." He is an insurance salesman who usually dressed like Superman. He competed in the first ten tournaments and never cleared the first stage, getting as far as the Jump Hang. Tatsukawa has also competed on Kinniku Banzuke's Daruma 7 event, but failed it after knocking out the first three blocks.
A dancer who goes only by the stage name of Goku has also competed in many of the earlier competitions. He is commonly seen for the fact he takes off almost all his clothes except for a white old-fashioned thong before he begins. He has never made it past the first stage. The furthest he has made it is the Warped Wall.
61-year-old Minoru Kuramochi a.k.a the Octopus (as he usually brings an octopus with him every time), who is the owner of the Edokko Izakaya octopus bar in Tokyo, is one of the oldest competitors. He has competed several times, but never made it very far into the first stage (the furthest he has gone was the Pole Maze in the 19th competition). Despite this, he seems to be a fan favorite. In the 20th Competition's preview special, he welcomed the G4 American Ninja Challengers to his bar, served them his special octopus meal, and showed off to them his physical skills. Kuramochi also competed on Viking where he made it as far as the Math Parley in the 1st Marine Stage.
46-year-old Masami Harashima, a businessman who is also an avid hang glider (earning him the nicknames "Hang Glider Man" and "The Butterfly"), has also competed several times, but has never made it far into the first stage. The furthest he made was reaching the Bridge of Blades in the 16th tournament. He appears to be good friends with Kuramochi.
52-year-old Yasuo Aoki, a 3-D artist and sculptor, has also competed in several tournaments. He always wears a helmet and protection pads but never makes it past the first obstacle of the first stage (In Viking, he made it as far as the second obstacle). He usually brings a sculpture or two to the start. However, due to his weak stature (he weighs only 84 pounds), he's never made it to that obstacle that he made a sculpture of. (In the 19th competition, he brought in a sculpture of the Barrel Climb, a obstacle from the first 7 competitions.)
Hiromitsu Takahashi, a former ballet dancer, always competes in nothing but a black thong. Though he has competed in several competitions, he has never made it past the first stage. The furthest he has progressed is the Warped Wall. He has, however, cleared the 1st Marine Stage in Viking twice, both in 2005. However, he failed the 2nd Adventure Stage twice; the first time, he failed the Galleon, while the second time he failed the Rope Maze. Takahashi returned to Sasuke for the 20th and 21st Tournament, ultimately failing the Halfpipe Attack.
Kazuhiko Akiyama's brother, scallop fisherman Kimihiro Akiyama, competed in the 11th Competition but failed the newly-redesigned Balance Bridge in the First Stage.
Toyohisa Ijima, a martial arts dance instructor and former member of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, competed in the first several tournaments. He was known as the "Japanese Bruce Lee" because of not only his resemblance to the late action star, but because he also dressed and acted like him. He has only made it past the first stage in the 1st tournament; the 11th tournament was his closest chance to defeat the First Stage once more, but unfortunately he just missed hitting the final button on the Rope Climb by a split second because he wasted so much time posing for the crowd after completing each obstacle.
Hibari Igano, a transsexual who is a former dancer-turned-action star usually referred to as simply Hibari and known as the "World's Toughest Transsexual," also competed in several tournaments in the earlier years. She never made it past the first stage though; the farthest she has made it was the Warped Wall (at least twice).
The youngest competitor to pass the 1st Stage, Kota Honma, was 16 years old during the 17th Competition. He was also the youngest to participate in Sasuke at 13 years old in the 13th Competition. Kota has built a model of the full Sasuke course from numerous tournaments including a qualifing round. He has also demonstrated his hobby of juggling on the First Stage starting platform. Before the 17th Competition, Kota trained six days per week with his school's track and field team. Kota Honma returned in the 20th Competition, but failed the Pole Maze when he made it to the other side and tried to land on the platform but slipped and fell into the water.
Tien Dinh, a background dancer for Ashanti who appeared on the Soul Train Music Awards, competed on SASUKE in 2004.
Ken Yasuda, coach of the Tokyo Sabres of the IFL, competed in the fourth fifth and thirteenth tournaments, failing the Balance Bridge in the fourth Competition, in his other 2 attempts he fell off the Rolling log and took the log with him into the water both times.
Koji Yamada (not related to Katsumi Yamada) is a 34-year-old fireman from the Gifu Prefecture (like Toshihiro Takeda) with just three percent body fat. In his debut in the 12th Competition, he wore No.1 and became the first and only person to wear that number and make it to the third stage, (however, he's not the first No.1 to make it to the second stage). In that competition, he made it all the way to the third stage obstacle, the Cliffhanger, before failing. In the 13th Competition, he failed on the redesigned Jump Hang and in the 14th Competition, he timed out on the Warped Wall. He made it to the third stage in the 15th and 16th competitions failing the Jumping Bars and the Pipe Slider, respectively. In the 17th Competition, he failed the second stage obstacle, the Metal Spin. He was also one of the only two competitors to pass the first stage of the 19th competition, ultimately timing out on the Salmon Ladder. Like Takeda, Yamada competes in a pair of orange firefighter trousers, but unlike Takeda, he competes shirtless, presumably to show off his muscular upper body. Also, Takeda is from Ibi in Gifu Prefecture, while Yamada comes from Gujō in Gifu. Note: While he is originally named Koji, G4TV dubs his first name as Yasushi possibly to avoid confusion or due to translation issues.
Yuji Washimi, a 31-year-old who is a former international motocross star-turned-mechanic, first appeared on Sasuke in the 17th competition as its top qualifier, failing on the Warped Wall, but then he made it to the second stage in the next two tournaments (18th and 19th competitions), but failed on the Salmon Ladder both times. After failing the Salmon Ladder in the 18th competition, it was shown that Washimi built one at his home to practice on, hoping to get past the real obstacle in the 19th competition (to no avail, ultimately). Besides Koji Yamada, he was the only other competitor to pass the first stage in the 19th competition. Washimi usually competes in his mechanic uniform (the only time he competed without it was during his debut in the 17th competition). In 2008, Washimi's height and weight was recorded as 5 feet and 130 pounds. In the 20th Competition, Washimi failed the Halfpipe Attack.
Tomokazu Tanaka is the show's very first competitor. He put on an impressive run but had trouble at the Wicked Wall and ran out of time at the Subduction Zone.
American Ninja ChallengesEdit
In Fall 2007, the G4 network held a contest called the American Ninja Challenge, with the grand prize being a trip to Japan to compete in Sasuke's 19th competition. Ten semifinalist videos were selected on August 3 via internet poll to determine three finalists who would appear on G4's Attack of the Show! on August 28-30 to demonstrate their Ninja Warrior skills. On August 31, Michigan State University student Colin Bell and the runner-up, Greenville, South Carolina native Brett Sims, were both selected, and they became the subjects of an hour-long G4 special on November 14 during G4's Ninja Fest. Ultimately, both Colin and Brett qualified for the course thanks to their impressive physical abilities, but they both failed on the Jumping Spider. The second contest by G4 wrapped up in March 2008, and it aired as part of G4's Ninjafest 2 on May 18, 2008. Levi Meeuwenberg from Ann Arbor, Michigan and Brian Orosco of San Francisco, California were both chosen to compete in Sasuke's 20th tournament.. Both competitors, listed as free runners, competed alongside surprise guest Brett Sims (who was given the opportunity to return by G4). Brett failed the First Stage's Warped Wall this time, while Brian failed the Flying Chute. Levi, however, made it to the Third Stage (the only competitor to do so in the entire tournament) before he ultimately failed on the Cliff Hanger. Currently G4 is holding a third contest.
Stages and ObstaclesEdit
See article List of SASUKE Stages.
The program can currently be seen in the United States as Ninja Warrior on the G4 channel every weeknight at 6:00 and 9:00 PM EST and every Sunday at 12:30 EST. In each schedule mentioned, two episodes are shown (except the Sunday airings, in which three or four episodes are shown-- though sometimes there are no episodes-- and during the 8:30 airings, where it's a part of G4's new Duty Free TV Block), although Women of Ninja Warrior sometimes airs in its place.  There have also been occasional marathons of the program on weekends. The play-by-play commentary and interviews with participants are subtitled in English while the introduction, player profiles, and replays have been dubbed by voice actor Dave Wittenberg. Each episode is a 30-minute portion of the Japanese broadcast. Episodes also feature segments such as "Ninja Killer" (an obstacle from a stage that took out the most contestants in a single episode) and "Warrior Wipeout" (the best wipeout from a Sasuke contestant). As of March 2009, all 22 competitions have been aired.
The American-edited Ninja Warrior episodes began broadcasting in the United Kingdom on Challenge on October 1, 2007 covering Sasuke competitions 9-17 and Kunoichi 4. These have been re-edited again to remove the subtitles. The on-screen graphics have also slightly changed by the red box in the corner being made smaller for the Challenge logo. The whole show is voiced-over by Stuart Hall. The "Ninja Killer" and "Warrior Wipeout" sections also remain but there is only one advertisement break halfway through the show.
The second UK series began on March 17, 2008, again on Challenge, starting with Kunoichi 5 and 6 (although on 17th March they broadcast the last episode of series one, probably by mistake, instead of a new episode) then covering Sasuke competitions 6-8 and finally showing Kunoichi 1 and 2. Initially they broadcast one episode each day from Monday to Thursday at 7pm with a catch up session on the following Saturday. On 7th April 2008 Challenge started broadcasting two shows each evening Monday to Friday, the first being the expected episode of the second series and the second being a show from series one. The initial showing of series two seems to have ended on 15th April because on 16th April at 7pm they showed part one of Kunoichi 5, thus appearing to have started airing series 2 over again.
Series 3 is planned for October 2008.
The following is a list of currently available information of people who managed to reach at least the Third Stage in each competition. (Note: Since no competitor made it to the Third Stage in the 19th competition, that list therefore mentions the two competitors who made it to the Second Stage in that competition.) Under each competition, the results are listed in order of who went the farthest first. Their names are listed along with their number (1-100) from the competition, and the obstacle/stage they failed to complete. In the 10th competition the number system ran from 901-1000 to indicate that 1000 competitors had attempted the First Stage, and then ran from 1901-2000 in the 20th competition to indicate that 2000 competitors had attempted the First Stage. The obstacles used in each competition as well as a description of each obstacle are listed in the sections above. All air dates are of the Japanese broadcast on TBS.
Aired: September 26, 1997
No. 97 Akira Omori Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 49 Takayuki Kawashima Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 96 Ken Hasegawa Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 72 Tadashi Yo Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 89 Kane Kosugi Third Failed Pillar Path
No. 18 Yoshihito Yamamoto Third Failed Pillar Path
Aired: September 27, 1998
No. 97 Hikaru Tanaka Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 99 Akira Omori Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 95 Shigeyuki Nakamura Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 83 Hiroaki Yoshizaki Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 20 Shingo Yamamoto Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 70 Masakazu Ebihara Third Disqualified on Pipe Slider†
No. 65 Ken Hasegawa Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 30 Eiichi Miura Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 42 Tatsuya Yamamoto Third Failed Pipe Slider
† Ebihara pushed one side of the pipe harder than the other, causing the pipe to fall off the tracks.
Aired: March 13, 1999
No. 89 Katsumi Yamada Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 13 Shingo Yamamoto Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 100 Akira Omori Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 49 Minoru Matsumoto Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 54 Tatsuya Yamamoto Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 10 Ken Hasegawa Third Failed Pipe Slider
Aired: October 16, 1999
No. 86 Kazuhiko Akiyama Final Completed Final Stage (6.0 seconds to spare)
No. 40 Eiichi Miura Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 3 Hiroyuki Asaoka Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 81 Naoki Iketani Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 94 Travis Schraeder Third Disqualified on Pipe Slider*
No. 100 Katsumi Yamada Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 97 Kane Kosugi Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 95 Hiroaki Yoshizaki Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 71 Takuyu Ueda Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 48 Takayuki Kawashima Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 64 Shusuke Sato Third Failed Super Vault
- - When Schraeder tried to get the pipe across the tracks, he pushed one side harder than the other, causing it to fall off the tracks.
Aired: March 18, 2000
No. 98 Shingo Yamamoto Third Failed Pipe Slider
Aired: September 9, 2000
No. 99 Katsumi Yamada Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 83 Yoshiaki Hatakeda Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 93 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Body Prop
No. 98 Kane Kosugi Third Failed Body Prop
No. 97 Shane Kosugi Third Failed Body Prop
Aired: March 17, 2001
No. 97 Shingo Yamamoto Final Failed Spider Climb
No. 46 Kenji Takahashi Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 40 Hironori Kuboki Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 81 Shane Kosugi Third Failed Body Prop
No. 95 James Okada Third Failed Propeller Bars
Aired: September 29, 2001
No. 91 Kane Kosugi Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 59 Jordan Jovtchev Final Failed Spider Climb
No. 71 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 81 Shōei Third Failed Body Prop
Aired: March 16, 2002
No. 61 Makoto Nagano Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 97 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Globe Grasp
No. 71 Daisuke Nakata Third Failed Globe Grasp
No. 98 Shingo Yamamoto Third Failed Rumbling Dice
Aired: September 25, 2002
No. 1000 Katsumi Yamada Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 961 Naoki Iketani Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 940 Daisuke Nakata Third Failed Globe Grasp
No. 954 Hiroyuki Asaoka Third Failed Body Prop
Aired: March 21, 2003
No. 96 Makoto Nagano Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 74 Shinji Kobayashi Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 98 Shingo Yamamoto Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 61 Naoki Iketani Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 95 Daisuke Nakata Third Failed Globe Grasp
No. 97 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Body Prop
No. 99 Kazuhiko Akiyama Third Failed Body Prop
Aired: October 1, 2003
No. 100 Makoto Nagano Final Failed Rope Climb (by 0.11 seconds)
No. 77 Bunpei Shiratori Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 72 Hiroyuki Asaoka Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 95 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 97 Kazuhiko Akiyama Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 99 Jordan Jovtchev Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 96 Shingo Yamamoto Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 70 Manabu Satou Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 1 Koji Yamada Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 92 Masāki Kobayashi Third Failed Body Prop
Aired: April 6, 2004
No. 100 Makoto Nagano Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 99 Bunpei Shiratori Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 98 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 97 Masāki Kobayashi Third Failed Curtain Cling
No. 90 Naoki Iketani Third Failed Body Prop
Aired: January 4, 2005
No. 68 Shinji Kobayashi Third Failed Devil's Swing
No. 100 Makoto Nagano Third Failed Jumping Bars
No. 97 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 91 Jordan Jovtchev Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 80 Hiroyuki Asaoka Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 98 Shingo Yamamoto Third Failed Curtain Cling
No. 87 Masaki Kobayashi Third Failed Body Prop
No. 81 Naoki Iketani Third Failed Body Prop
No. 76 Terukazu Ishikawa Third Failed Body Prop
No. 88 Kosuke Yamaguchi Third Failed Rumbling Dice
Aired: July 20, 2005
No. 96 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Devil's Swing
No. 94 Bunpei Shiratori Third Failed Climbing Bars
No. 70 Koji Yamada Third Failed Jumping Bars
No. 65 Shunsuke Nagasaki Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 93 Morgan Hamm Third Failed Curtain Cling
No. 95 Shingo Yamamoto Third Failed Body Prop
Aired: December 30, 2005
No. 96 Bunpei Shiratori Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 91 Koji Yamada Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 100 Makoto Nagano Third Failed Devil's Swing
No. 98 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 95 Jordan Jovtchev Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 89 Shunsuke Nagasaki Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 66 Kenji Takahashi Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 90 Naoki Iketani Third Failed Body Prop
Aired: October 11, 2006
No. 99 Makoto Nagano Final Completed Final Stage (2.5 seconds to spare)
No. 87 Shunsuke Nagasaki Final Failed Rope Climb
No. 91 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Pipe Slider
No. 86 Paul Terek Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 95 Bunpei Shiratori Third Failed Body Prop
No. 98 Shingo Yamamoto Third Failed Body Prop
No. 67 Yuta Adachi Third Failed Body Prop
No. 96 Daisuke Nakata Third Failed Arm Rings
Aired: March 21, 2007
No. 96 Makoto Nagano Third Disqualified himself on Cliff Hanger†
No. 97 Shunsuke Nagasaki Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 98 Kenji Takahashi Third Failed Cliff Hanger
† - When Nagano crossed the second gap of the Cliff Hanger he grabbed the top of the frame with one hand and gracefully admitted his mistake, disqualifying himself.
Aired: September 19, 2007
No. 79 Koji Yamada Second Failed Salmon Ladder
No. 86 Yuji Washimi Second Failed Salmon Ladder
Aired: March 26, 2008
No. 1989 Levi Meeuwenberg Third Failed Cliff Hanger
Aired: September 17, 2008
No. 100 Makoto Nagano Third Failed Gliding Ring
No. 98 Toshihiro Takeda Third Failed Ascending Climb
No. 97 Daisuke Miyazaki Third Failed Devil Steps
Aired: March 30, 2009
No. 77 Yuji Urushihara Final Failed G-Rope
No. 49 Hitoshi Kanno Third Disqualified on Spider Flip*
No. 84 Yoshiyuki Okuyama Third Failed Cliff Hanger
No. 79 Lee Enchi Third Failed Cliff Hanger
- Kanno's Heel touched a metal beam while climbing the Spider Flip, going off course.
Yuji Urushihara Final Total Victory
Kenji Takahashi Final Failed G-Rope
Sasuke executive producer Ushio Higuchi has also co-created Muscle Musical, a live athletic and comedy-oriented performance featuring some Sasuke and Kunoichi competitors (such as Ayako Miyake, Naoki Iketani, and Sayaka Asami), as well as other Japanese athletes and entertainers. Its popularity in Japan and ever-growing popularity in the United States has resulted in it securing a long-term run at the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Every January First TBS also airs the Pro Sportsman No.1 competition, also produced by Monster9. Several people who have competed on Sasuke have participated in this competition. It is a series of events contested by celebrities and professional athletes. In 2007 Paul Terek took the title of Pro Sportsman No. 1, and in 2008, Daisuke Miyazaki earned that title.
On Odaiba island, Monster9 has built Muscle Park, an indoor theme park based on events from Sasuke and other Muscle Ranking related programs. Some well-known Sasuke participants such as Katsumi Yamada have made live appearances there. Sasuke champion Makoto Nagano was honored in a celebration where he participated in the ribbon cutting there. Since April 2007 Monster9 has been airing episodes of Muscle Channel, a show to promote Muscle Park and the Muscle Musical as well as people and events related to Sasuke. Muscle Channel usually airs on BS-i on Thursdays from 8:00 to 9:53 JST and is hosted by Hiromichi Sato. Past guests include Katsumi Yamada and Shunsuke Nagasaki. ak:SASUKE fr:Ninja Warrior it:Ninja Warrior ja:SASUKE fi:Kahjot ninjat th:คินนิคุบังสึเคะ zh:極限體能王SASUKE copied from
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