Kunoichi (TV series)
|Narrated by||Keisuke Hatsuta (2001–2009)
Wataru Ogasawara (2004–2007)
Fumiyasu Sato (October 2009)
|Country of origin||Japan|
English subtitles and dubbed contestant profiles in US broadcast
|No. of seasons||8|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Executive producer(s)||Higuchi Tide|
|Location(s)||Midoriyama, Aoba-ku, Yokohama-shi, Japan|
|Running time||30 minutes (US)
20 minutes (UK)
|Original release||December 22, 2001 – October 7, 2009|
Kunoichi (クノイチ; stylized as KUNOICHI in Japan) was a women's obstacle course competition held in Japan and broadcast on the Tokyo Broadcasting System. It is a spin-off of Sasuke, another obstacle course series. Kunoichi is different from Sasuke in that the competitors are exclusively female. It is also broadcast as Women of Ninja Warrior on the American G4 channel. KUNOICHI has been renewed for a 9th tournament after an 8 year hiatus for 2017. It will tape at the end of January, 2017, and will take place at the Makuhari Messe Convention Hall, unlike past tournaments taking place at Midoriyama Studio City.
- 1 Participants
- 2 Stages
- 3 Obstacles
- 4 United States and United Kingdom broadcasts
- 5 Results
- 6 External links
Participants compete for a prize of 2 million Yen($25,497 U.S. dollars).
Each competition starts with 100 competitors from a range of backgrounds such as actors, comedians, housewives, and athletes, amateur and Olympians alike. The competitors are mainly Japanese, but many international competitors have participated.
Ayako Miyake (三宅 綾子 Miyake Ayako?) - This three-time consecutive Kunoichi champion has earned her the nickname "Queen of Kunoichi". Weighing only 90 pounds (41 kg), Ayako is also an acrobatic dancer, who used to work for Muscle Musical. She achieved total victory in the 4th, 5th, and 6th competitions. In the 7th Competition however, she fell on the last obstacle of the Second Stage, the last part of the Swinging Beams, which was a metal beam without a rope support like the last two. Her failure left the other competitors in visible shock because, in the words of the narrator "She was the competitor everyone was counting on!" As of 2008, she has cleared the first stage four times in a row and the second, third and final stages three times in a row. Recently Ayako and a few other Muscle Musical members including the creator and Sayaka Asami broke away and created their own group, so it is now rumored that she will no longer compete. (This seems to be confirmed as she did not compete in Kunoichi 8.)
Rie Komiya (小宮理英 Komiya Rie?) - This is one of the top competitors on Kunoichi and is notable for advancing all the way to the Third Stage in her first tournament, and failing Domino Hill(4th Competition). In the 5th Competition, she looked better than Miss Perfect herself, however by the time she reached the Skyway Pole in the final stage she looked defeated and her time ran out. She is a Japanese newscaster and went into modeling after her appearance on Kunoichi, before joining the Muscle Musical by the time of the 7th competition. Her run in the 6th competition was cut from the broadcast, but it is known that she failed stage 1. She was one of only four competitors who defeated the First Stage in the 7th competition, but she failed on the Monkey Bars in the Second Stage. As of 2008 she has cleared the first stage three times,the second stage twice,and the third stage once. Rie Komiya also competed in SASUKE 22, SASUKE 23, SASUKE 24 and SASUKE 26, being disqualified on the Jumping Spider and then failing the Half-pipe Attack, the Log Grip and the Rolling Escargot respectively. In Kunoichi 8 she became the second woman ever to beat the Final Stage.
Yuko Mizuno (水野 裕子 Mizuno Yuko?) - After almost completing the Final Stage in the 2nd and 3rd Competitions, she was thought to be the most likely competitor to complete the Final Stage, and was once thought to be the "Queen of Kunoichi". In the 3rd Competition, Yuko missed the button by 0.12 seconds. That was similar to Makoto Nagano in Sasuke 12 (he reached the top of Final Stage's tower and missed the red button by 0.11 seconds). Since then, she has only made it to the Third Stage once (in the 5th competition), and hasn't passed the First Stage in the 4th, 6th and 7th competition. Besides being a Kunoichi competitor, she is also a celebrity athlete, and a regular Sasuke competitor. Fans also call her Ms. Kunoichi, for her similar status to Mr. Sasuke, Katsumi Yamada. As of 2008 she has cleared the first stage three times,the second stage three times and the third stage twice.
Maho Tanaka (田中真帆 Tanaka Maho?) - She is a professional snowboarder/wakeboarder. Maho was considered an All-Star of Kunoichi by the second time she has competed. She is known for her impressive speed nearly matching Ayako Miyake's records. Also she made it to the Final Stage during her second appearance, in the 6th tournament, where she completed the Third Stage most difficult obstacle, Domino Hill, at a very quick pace, that exceed any competitors' time who attempted or completed that obstacle (including Ayako Miyake). As she made it past the first three stages, it seems that she wasn't nervous about any obstacles standing in her way, but by the time she reached the Final Stage, she was unsure about her footing, constantly looking down, and began to lose speed on the Brick Climb, which by the time she completed time was already up. In the 7th tournament, she was the only competitor to reach the Third Stage, however she was defeated by the obstacle that she had defeated in the previous tournament, Domino Hill. In Kunoichi 8 she was eliminated when she wasn't one of the top two in her group to finish the first stage. As of 2010 she has cleared the first stage twice, the second stage twice and the third stage once.
Kunoichi has several competitors who compete on a regular basis. Some of these include:
Yuko and Rena Higashi (Higashi Yuko/Rena) - A mother-daughter team. Though the mother, Yuko, has yet to complete the First Stage, Rena is the second 13-year-old to complete the First Stage (the first was Saki Suzuki in the 3rd competition), but she is the youngest to complete the Second Stage. Rena has also competed in the juniors division of Sasuke where she ran out of time just a few inches from the buzzer of the Final Stage. Yuko is a housewife, and her daughter is a tomboy and an athletic student, who joined the track and field team in order to train for Kunoichi. Rena also competed in Kunoichi 8, but she failed 1st stage's Swinging Jump.
Sayaka Asami (Asami Sayaka) - Was the women's group leader in the related series, Muscle Musical. Before the Muscle Musical, she was part of the dance team DIG. Recently she broke away from Muscle Musical and formed her own group with Ayako Miyake. She competed from Kunoichi 3-5 and made it to the third stage all 3 times, but unfortunately failed Domino Hill all three times in exactly the same spot, in the same way. Asami's performances have earned herself a spot as one of the best competitors to date, but she will probably never compete again.
Mika Izumi (Izumi Mika) - is a Jazz Dance Instructor hailing from Tokyo. She first appeared in the 3rd competition and wowed everyone by making it all the way to the final stage. Izumi managed a great run but ran out of time just a few feet short of the buzzer. In the following tournament, Izumi was the only finalist from the previous tournament to clear stage 1, however in stage 2 she failed the Triple Hurdle (a common casualty in Kunoichi 1 and 2). Since competing in Kunoichi, Izumi has married and her married name is Mika Watanabe. She also participated in SASUKE 12 and SASUKE 13, failing stage 1's Jump Hang and Prism Tilt respectively. She returned after SASUKE was renamed SASUKE RISING. In SASUKE 28, she failed the Rolling Escargot. In SASUKE 29, like SASUKE 12, the redesigned Jump Hang (Jump Hang Kai) was her downfall.
Hiromi Satake (Satake Hiromi) - A professional sumo wrestler who, due to her large and overweight body, fails on the first obstacle in the First Stage every time. Since the start of Kunoichi, she has participated in all but the 5th Competition.
Kunoichi has a more diverse competition than Sasuke; in the 6th competition, over 20 different nations were represented.
A few foreign competitors include:
Sara Jean Underwood - the American model, 'Playboy Playmate of the Year 2007' and host of Attack of the Show competed in the 8th competition and made it to the Second Stage but she failed the Dancing Stones.
Other notable participants
At least four Sasuke all-stars - Shingo Yamamoto, Toshihiro Takeda, Katsumi Yamada, and Makoto Nagano - are known to be training Kunoichi competitors. Each of them competed in the 7th competition, with their mentors (except for Yamamoto) present.
- Yamamoto's trainee, Sayaka Okamoto, who is an employee at his service station, advanced to the Second Stage of the 6th Competition (where Yamamoto was present) at just 16 years of age. She failed in the Second Stage, however, falling on the last segment of the Swinging Beams. In the 7th Competition, Okamoto failed on the First Stage's Log Jam. In the 8th, she failed the Second Stage's Swinging Beams again. Like Yamamoto, Okamoto competes in her maroon Mobil 1 uniform shirt.
- Takeda's trainee, Mieko Oshima, who fights fires alongside Takeda, competed in the 7th Competition and failed the First Stage's newly redesigned Hop Rocket.
- Nagano's trainee, fitness instructor Kaori Anraku, failed the Flying Pillar in the 7th Competition's First Stage.
- Yamada's trainee, walking instructor Nobuko Onoda, also went out on the Yellow-posted Hop Rocket in the 7th Competition. It was said that they met through Onoda's father, who is a medical expert that Yamada once consulted about a shoulder injury.
- Nagano's wife, Asami Nagano competed in the 8th competition and actually timed out on the Net-Wall Climb but she won the Turntable-Balance Beam Challenge. In Stage 2, she failed the Barrel Roll.
Nagano has also trained his older sister, Taeko Uchida, who has yet to complete the First Stage.
Narumi Kitagawa, a professional surfer, holds the record at age 41 for being the oldest competitor to complete the First Stage, doing so in the 6th competition. She completed the Second Stage that day as well, but did not advance to the Third Stage because she did not turn in one of the 6 fastest times of that stage, a special rule implemented for that competition only. She returned for the 7th competition, but failed the Balance Bridge by ripping it and dropping out of contention.
Mio Fukuzumi, who is also notable for her role as Windenu in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger (adapted into Power Rangers: Ninja Storm in the United States), competed in the 2nd competition, where she failed the First Stage after her foot slipped off the Dancing Stones.
J-Pop singer Asami Abe competed in the 7th competition, but failed on the very first obstacle, the Stepping Stones.
Chie Nishimura, a veteran stunt woman and the only woman to have completed the First Stage of Sasuke, has also competed in Kunoichi. Her first appearance was in the 3rd competition but she failed in the Third Stage after a misstep on the Pole Vault. She initially did not plan to compete again due to her plans of having a baby, but she competed in the 4th competition just three months after having her second baby. She failed the Hop Rocket on the First Stage. She later competed in the 5th competition, where she failed the First Stage's Angle Run, the 6th competition where she failed the Barrel Roll (mentioned in the 7th competition) and then in the 7th competition, where she managed to complete Stage 1, but just missed completing the 2nd Stage by a few seconds. She also competed in the 8th competition, but she failed the First Stage's Swinging Jump.
Gravure model and BeForU member, Megumi Fukushita participated in the 7th competition, where she failed the First Stage after she fell on the Barrel Roll.
Gravure model Harumi Nemoto competed in the 3rd competition, where she failed the Dancing Stones.
Former Japanese adult model and AV star turned TV personality and singer Nao Oikawa appeared in the 5th competition, where she failed the Balance Bridge.
Japanese adult model and AV star Sora Aoi has competed twice. In the 6th competition, she timed out just as she reached the Escape Ladder. In the 7th competition, she fell at the Log Jam.
Nami Ichinohe, an actress, has competed three times. In the 3rd competition, she failed the Barrel Roll, in the 4th, she failed the Balance Bridge and in the 7th, she cleared the Log Jam, but couldn't reach the Flying Pillar in time and failed there. Ichinohe also competed in Sasuke 11, where she failed the Rolling Log.
Actress and TV regular Aya Hirayama, has competed twice. In the 2nd competition, she failed the Dancing Stones and in the 3rd, she failed the Windmill Cross.
Two members of the G-Rockets acrobatic dance troupe, Airi Yoshihama and Tomomi Hanzawa, have competed in KUNOICHI. Yoshihama competed in the 3rd competition, where she failed Stage 3's Domino Hill. Hanzawa also competed in the 3rd competition, where reached the Final Stage, failing by a couple of metres. Hanzawa returned for the fourth competition, but lost too much time on the first stage's Windmill Cross and ran out of time just as she was reaching for the stage clear button. Hanzawa and Yoshihama both still dance for the G-rockets.
Kazue Watanabe, a track and field star at a Japanese University, was one of the earlier competitors and former all-star. She was one of 2 people (the other being Yuko Mizuno) to make the final stage in Kunoichi 2. She was the last women standing, but lost her focus and failed the Balance Walk several feet from where Yuko failed. She returned for Kunoichi 3 where she failed Domino Hill's Yellow Zone leaving the competitors in visible shock, in Kunoichi 4 she was the 1st woman to clear stage 1 and made it to her nemesis Domino Hill again only to fail this time in the red zone. Kazue left Kunoichi as the only finalist to never clear stage 3 but was also the only one to clear the 1st and 2nd stages in all of her attempts. Kazue has moved to London in order to advance in her career. As of 2010, she has cleared the First Stage 3 times, the Second Stage 3 times, and the Third/Final Stage none.
Miho Yamada, a gymnast who competed in the Barcelona and Atlanta Olympics, has competed three times. She is best known for being the first women ever to complete Stage 1 of Kunoichi. She would go on to fail the Super Jump in Stage Two. In Kunoichi 2 she failed the Barrel Roll and in Kunoichi 4 she was disqualified on Domino Hill when she slipped and used her hands.
Masami Yusa, a beach flag champion and known for being the first women to reach the Warped Wall (in Sasuke 14), was a well known competitor in the first 2 competitions where she completed Stage 1 but both times failed the Super Jump in Stage 2. In Kunoichi 3, she failed the Dancing Stones, shocking everyone. In Kunoichi 4 and 5, she would fail the Windmill Cross both times. She has not competed since.
Fumie Nakajima, an actress, model and member of the 'Shape UP Girls' fitness group, has competed twice. In the 5th competition, she failed the Balance Bridge and in the 7th, she failed the Log Jam.
Yoko Mori, a model and member of the C.C Girls has competed five, possibly six, times. She timed out on the final obstacle in Stage 1 of the first 2 competitions. In the 3rd tournament, she cleared Stage 1 with just over 9 seconds left and made it to Stage 3, failing at Domino Hill. After missing the 4th competition, she is presumed to have competed in the 5th tournament, (although this is unconfirmed). She did however compete in Kunoichi 6 and 7, where she failed the Flying Pillar and the Log Jam respectively.
Ayako Inada, a gymnast who placed fifth in Rhythmic Gymnastics in the Sydney Olympics when she was just 18, and is now part of the Muscle Musical, has competed twice. In the 6th competition, she failed the Flying Pillar when she slid off the landing mat. In the 8th, she made it to stage two, but failed Domino Hill.
Kayo Haga, a dancer and formerly part of the Muscle Musical, has competed five times. In her first 3 competitions (Kunoichi 3-5), she timed out on the escape ladder within sight of the button. Her run in the 6th competition was cut from the broadcast (although it is known that she failed the First Stage), but she was shown on the sidelines with Rie Komiya supporting Ayako Inada. In the 7th competition, she failed the Log Jam. Haga is now 31 and recently broke away from the Muscle Musical to be part of the group formed by Ayako Miyake and Sayaka Asami, so she will probably never compete again.
The eighth Kunoichi competition featured singer Makoto Ogawa of Morning Musume, actress Mikie Hara, and Idoling!!! members Hitomi Sakai, Hitomi Miyake, and Erika Yazawa (in the costume of Dogu-chan in The Ancient Dogoo Girl) as competitors.
Professional wrestler Momoe Nakanishi took part in the third competition, where she made it to the Third Stage, before failing on Domino Hill.
Kunoichi is composed of four stages, with the exception of the 1st and 2nd Competitions which consisted of only three stages each. Competitors must complete a stage in order to continue to the next stage.
|Comp #||First Stage Obstacles||Time Limit|
|1||Dancing Stones||Windmill Cross||Barrel Roll||Tornado Run||Triple Jump||Escape Ladder||80.0|
|2||Dancing Stones||Windmill Cross||Barrel Roll||Gateway Bridge||Triple Jump||Pole Climb||90.0|
|3||Dancing Stones||Windmill Cross||Double Hurdle||Barrel Roll||Balance Bridge||Hop Rocket||Angle Run||Escape Ladder||85.0|
|4||Dancing Stones||Windmill Cross||Balance Bridge||Barrel Roll||Angle Run||Hop Rocket||Vertical Limit||Slippery Slide||Escape Ladder||105.0|
|5||Dancing Stones||Windmill Cross||Balance Bridge||Barrel Roll||Double Angle Run||Hop Rocket||Conviction Hill||Slippery Slide||Escape Ladder||100.0|
|6||Float Run||Prism Tilt||Flying Pillar||Balance Bridge||Barrel Roll||Double Angle Run||Falling Pole||Escape Ladder||95.0|
|7||Stepping Stones||Log Jam||Flying Pillar||Balance Bridge||Barrel Roll||Hop Rocket||Double Angle Run||Escape Ladder||90.0|
|8||Floating Hurdle||Log Bridge||Hanging Logs||Iron Prison||Swing Jump||Raft Pull||Exhausting Wall||120.0|
Second Chance Round
|Comp #||Second Chance Round Obstacles||Time Limit|
|8||Dizzy Dummy + Suspended Bridge (Turntable Bridge)||Untimed|
|Comp #||Second Stage Obstacles||Time Limit|
|1||Super Jump||Spinning Slopes||Pendulum Bridge||Floating Bridge||50.0|
|2||Super Jump||Ledge Walk||Pendulum Bridge||Floating Bridge||45.0|
|3||Super Jump||Hill Climb||Spinning Log||Floating Bridge||40.0|
|4||Super Jump||Triple Jump||Spinning Log||Floating Bridge||35.0|
|5||Super Jump||Hill Climb||Spinning Log||Swinging Hammers||Floating Bridge||50.0|
|6||Super Jump||Triple Hurdle||Two Pole Bridge||Net Cross||Swinging Beams||70.0|
|7||Super Jump||Dancing Stones||Spinning Log||Monkey Bars||Swinging Beams||65.0|
|8||Super Jump||Triple Hurdle||Dancing Stones||Domino Hill||Barrel Roll||Swinging Beams||210.0|
(There was no 3rd stage in Kunoichi 1 & 2)
|Comp #||Third Stage Obstacles||Time Limit|
|3||Double Super Vault||Domino Hill||Pendulum Bridge||90.0|
|4||Double Super Vault||Domino Hill||Pendulum Bridge||90.0|
|5||Unforgiving Wall||Domino Hill||Dreamer's Road||15.0 (For Final Obstacle)|
|6||Peg Jump||Domino Hill||Pendulum Bridge||Unlimited|
|7||Peg Jump||Domino Hill||Magic Wall||Unlimited|
|Comp #||Final Stage Obstacles||Time Limit|
|3-4||Ladder Climb||Pole Climb||35.0|
|5||Double Ladder Climb||Pole Climb||35.0|
|6||Brick Climb||Pole Climb||30.0|
|7||Net Climb||Pole Climb||40.0|
|8||Steel Ladder||Climbing Boards||60.0|
Participants are given 80 to 105 seconds to complete First Stage.
In the 1st Competition, the First Stage proved to be a difficult course, as only two people were able to move on to the next stage. This caused a major change in the First Stage, making it less difficult than in the 1st Competition.
- Dancing Stones
- 9 vertical poles, each topped with a rounded pad, are arranged in an offset pattern. The competitor must step from pole to pole, balancing on the rounded mound, to cross the obstacle. From the 4th Competition onward, the mound on a central pole near the beginning of the obstacle is on a spring, making it somewhat more unstable than the others. Along with the "Hop Rocket", the "Dancing Stones" are responsible for most contestant eliminations. In the 7th and 8th Competitions, the "Dancing Stones" are a Second Stage obstacle.
- Stepping Stones
- A set of five small floating pads in a pool of water that alternate sides. The contestant must hop across these five bullet-shaped pads to the other side. This has a similarity to Sasuke's "Sextuple Step".
- Windmill Cross
- A sloped carousel spins slowly. Three narrow fins radiate from the center, providing a narrow place to safely walk. The contestant must walk across a fin to reach the center of the carousel, and across another fin to reach the opposite side before jumping to safety. Contestants who fall off the fin onto the carousel rarely can avoid sliding down the sloped sides and into the water below. In the 1st Competition, the obstacle was composed of three small windmills rather than the one big windmill used in later competitions.
- Log Jam
- Two stationery round "logs" are placed above a pool of water. The logs are separated forcing the contestant to maintain balance while walking across the logs, but also while jumping to the second log. The second log is about three quarters the size of the first, and is also placed lower and to the right. In the 7th competition, the buzzer that starts the "Flying Pillar" was placed at the start of the Log Jam. The buzzer, when hit, sounded a horn and started the "Flying Pillar"'s downward journey, forcing contestants to move quickly while maintaining balance.
- Balance Bridge
- A long, flat plank stretches between two risers. The plank can rotate along its long axis. In the 3rd Competition, a fin-like protrusion running along part of the long axis was in center of the Balance Bridge making it similar to the version in Sasuke in the first 7 competitions. In the 4th Competition and onward, 3 large rectangular holes are cut along the long axis. Each of these served to make running straight down the middle difficult. This obstacle was also on Sasuke for eight competitions (1st-7th and 11th).
- Cylinder Walk / Barrel Roll
- Contestants must balance on the side of a steel barrel as it rolls down a slow incline, similar to the "Balance Tank" on Sasuke.
- Tornado Run
- Contestants must cross a set of three balance beams, each only 7 inches wide, while a wind machine blows at 55 miles per hour (89 km/h) against them in an attempt to throw them off balance. The first beam is positioned directly against the wind machine, thus creating a headwind; the second beam is at a 45-degree angle against the fan, and the third beam runs alongside the wind machine, resulting in a crosswind.
- Gateway Bridge
- Contestants must use balance to tiptoe their away along a bridge, about 5cm wide and 60cm long, and then turn 90 degrees and tiptoe along a second bridge.
- Angle Run
- The contestant runs along a riser tilted at a 45-degree angle. At the end of the obstacle, the contestant must jump across the water to a small cushion to continue the course. Starting in the 5th Competition, the contestant would run across one angled riser, then jump to and run across a second angled riser facing the other direction before reaching the end of the obstacle.
- Hop Rocket
- Assisted by the bounce from a mini-trampoline, contestants try to jump across a large gap and land on a padded riser on the opposite side. In the 3rd competition, it had a small yellow post located in between the trampoline and the other side.
- Yellow-Posted Hop Rocket
- The competitor must bounce form a mini-trampoline, to a large yellow post in the center of the water. The competitor must then pull herself up and jump to a floating pad and then proceed to the next obstacle.
- Vertical Limit/Conviction Hill
- The Vertical Limit is a combination between the "Hill Climb" and the "Warped Wall" where the contestants must climb a hill with two ropes available. In the 5th competition, it was remade into the Conviction Hill where the contestants ran up two ramps decreasing in height, that is similar to the "Crooked Wall" on Sasuke.
- Slippery Slide
- Contestants ride a zip-line over a pit of water. Before reaching the end, the contestant must let go of the zip-line and drop to a small cushioned island in the water below. The contestant then crosses a series of narrow balance beams to reach the "Escape Ladder".
- Escape Ladder
- The contestant climbs a rope ladder (or a metal ladder, as used in the 1st competition) to reach the upper platform and hit the buzzer to complete the stage.
- Escape Pole
- The contestant most climb up a pole to reach to upper platform and hit the buzzer to complete the stage. Very similar to the "Skyway Pole".
- Float Run
- The contestant must run across five foam floats, two large squares and three narrower rectangles.
- Prism Tilt
- The contestant must run across a prism-shaped object that is on an axle. Used for only one time on Sasuke.
- Flying Pillar
- The contestant must hit a buzzer to start a soft yellow pillar's downward journey, then use a springboard to catch and hang from the pillar, then hold her feet up avoiding a pool of water to land on a floating platform.
In the seventh tournament, the buzzer that started the Flying Pillar's movement was placed before the preceding obstacle, the "Log Jam", forcing the contestant to get across the "Log Jam" quickly enough to be able to catch the pillar.
- Double Hurdle
- Used only once, this obstacle consists of a pair of hurdles, the second of which is about double the size of the first.
- Falling Pole
- The contestant must slide down an inclined pole over the water to a floating platform, then follow a balance beam to the "Escape Ladder".
- Floating Hurdle
- The contestants must leap a hurdle that is attached to a floating raft positioned in the water. There are two hurdles, that are positioned side by side.
- Log Bridge
- The contestants must cross a stationary round log. There are three logs positioned side by side; so the last of the four contestants to reach the obstacle must wait for the other competitors to finish it.
- Swinging/Hanging Logs
- The contestants must cross a series of three swinging logs that are suspended in the air on chains.
- Spider Cage/Iron Prison
- The contestants must cross a pool of water on an obstacle similar to Sasuke's Spider Walk, but the frame is made of metal wires instead of glass panels. There are four columns, one for each contender.
- Swing Jump
- The contestants must use a playground-style swing to reach a raft that is positioned in the water below. There are four swings and rafts; one for each contender.
- Raft Transfer/Raft Pull
- The contestants must use a rope to propel themselves (and their raft) to the next obstacle.
- Net-Wall Climb
- The contestants must climb a large net, identical to the final obstacle on the current Sasuke course.
In the first five competitions, a competitor only had from 30 to 50 seconds to complete the entire course.
In the 6th Competition, it was turned into a time trial, with only the six fastest competitors (assuming more than six complete the course successfully) advancing to the Third Stage. In addition, the 6th Competition's Second Stage carried a 70-second time limit. By the 7th Competition, the course used the original rules, which the competitors must complete the Stage under a certain time limit. The 8th Competition permitted a maximum of 12 competitors to advance (basing it on fastest time if more than 12 completed the course), and there was a time limit of 210 seconds to complete the course.
- Super Jump
- Contestants stand on a mattress-like platform that slides down a slope that ends in a ramp. Before the platform hits the end of the ramp, the contestants must jump off it in order to land on the small cushion. For the 8th competition, wheels have been added to the underside of the platform.
- Spinning Slopes
- There are two sloped round platforms that rotate. The contestants have to jump from one to another to get to the next obstacle.
- Spinning Log
- The contestant must cross a spinning log in order to reach the other side. Also used on Sasuke for the first two competitions, before returning in the 17th competition as the Log Slope.
- Ledge Walk
- The competitor must cross two sections of ledge at the bottom of a wall, with water below. The second section has two short strips sticking out of the wall at about knee height to increase the difficulty. This obstacle once was on Sasuke.
- Floating Bridge
- The competitor must cross several floating logs that gradually sink when stepped on.
- Triple Hurdle
- The competitor must clear three hurdles of varying height. In the 4th Competition, the hurdles are positioned over water, with trampolines between them to reach the next hurdle.
- Swinging Hammers
- The competitors must cross a bridge while avoiding four swinging hammers. This obstacle is similar to Sasuke's "Hammer Dodge".
- Two-Pole Bridge
- The contestant must balance a foot on each of two parallel metal poles and traverse them to the next obstacle.
- Net Climb
- The contestant must climb a cargo net. The netting design is similar to SASUKE's "Jump Hang", The function is similar to SASUKE's "Net Bridge". This was one of the two final stage obstacles in the 7th competition, but was much larger.
- Swinging Beams
- The contestant must cross two beams that are suspended by rope, with ropes hanging above the middle of each beam to assist in crossing. The first beam is made of a wood. The second beam is made of bamboo. The contestant must then cross a third beam made of metal that is supported by metal poles and lacks the middle assist rope.
- Hill Climb
- The competitors must scamper up a 60°, 16 feet (4.9 m) hill. Also used on Sasuke in the first four competitions.
- Climbing Bars/Monkey Bars
- A set of monkey bars must be crossed by the competitors. The monkey bars are set on a pivoting mount on the scaffolding above. This is later used on Sasuke as the "Swing Ladder".
- The 8th Competition Obstacles
- In the 8th competition, the course involves several obstacles from other stages: the Dancing Stones and Cylinder Walk from Stage 1, and a section of Domino Hill from Stage 3.
A third stage was placed before the Final Stage beginning in the 3rd Competition. Like the previous stages, the Third Stage is composed of balance-based obstacles. In the 3rd-4th Competition, each competitor was given 90 seconds to complete the course. For the 5th Competition, the time limit to complete the first two obstacles was eliminated. The contestant starts the timer during the final obstacle. This timer was removed in the 6th Competition to make it similar to the men's third stage.
- Super Vault
- The competitor pole vaults over two bodies of water. The second landing area has an upward incline, making it harder for competitors to land on it without falling into the water behind them. Removed in 5th Competition. This obstacle was also on Sasuke except that there was only 1 platform instead of 2.
- Domino Hill
- The competitor balances and walks across 40 upright, foam dominoes. If a competitor loses her balance and touches a domino with her hand, she is disqualified. In the 7th tournament, it appears that the red zone of dominoes has been changed to something that looks like the "Dancing Stones". In the 8th tournament, a shortened version of Domino Hill was used in Stage 2. Based on both Kinniku Banzuke's "Sponge Bridge" event (although there is no blue zone), and the Takeshi's Castle game 'Dominoes'.
- Pendulum Bridge
- The competitor walks across a 4 inches (10 cm) wide, plank-like bridge that moves back and forth, like a pendulum, when walked on. It was removed in the 5th Competition, but reinstated in the following one. This was in the 1st and 2nd Competitions in the Second Stage as the "Swinging Beam".
- Unforgiving Wall
- It is a combination of the Cliff Hanger and Ledge Walk. The women are given a footholes in addition to 4 handholes. The wall is tilted backward about 10 degrees every gap, meaning the women must cross it leaning backward. There are four sections, with the second and third each rising 1 foot (0.30 m), and the fourth going down 1 foot (0.30 m). Replaces the "Super Vault" in the 5th Competition.
- Dreamers Road
- "Dreamers Road" is a long balance beam over a chasm of water. Before the competitor begins crossing, she must hit a button to begin the 15-second timer. To complete the stage, she must cross the balance beam and hit the final buzzer at the end before the 15-second timer runs out. Replaces the "Pendulum Bridge" in the 5th Competition. It is similar to the original Final Stage, the "Balance Walk", but smaller, and no cylindrical bumps.
- Peg Jump
- Added for the 6th Competition and replacing the "Unforgiving Wall", the competitor must jump across to five small platforms of differing heights. Similar to Sasuke's Pillar Path but is spread apart.
- Magic Wall
- A wall that must be scaled using rock-climbing equipment. To increase the difficulty the second third is leaning backward.Replaces the "Pendulum Bridge" in the 6th Competition.
- High Jump
- Contestants attempt a classic athletics High Jump, with the three contestants achieving the highest heights advancing to the final stage.
In the first two competitions, there were only three stages. The Final Stage became the fourth stage beginning with the 3rd Competition.
Nobody made the Final Stage in the 1st Competition. The Final Stage in the 2nd Competition involved a long balance beam with cylindrical bumps, over a pool of water. The competitor was supported by a harness. There was no time limit.
The Final Stage was revamped for the 3rd Competition, making it similar to the Final Stage of Sasuke. The competitor has 30, 35, 40 or 60 seconds to complete two obstacles. In the 3rd and 4th Competitions, it was to climb up a 10 metres (33 ft) tower using ladder rungs attached to the sides of the walls, then climb a 5 metres (16 ft) pole to a landing and the finishing button. In the 5th Competition, the ladder rungs alternated, making it more difficult for the competitor to reach the end, since they would have to climb the opposite wall every few steps. For the 6th Competition, the tower was replaced by a 10 metres (33 ft) Climbing Wall.In the 7th Competition, the wall tower was replaced with a 12 metres (39 ft) Net Climb.In the 8th Competition competitors must complete 10 metres (33 ft)Survival Climb (consisting of a series of metal bars), before climbing two vertically aligned (and opposite) Climbing Walls (3m+3m) to reach the goal. Unlike Sasuke, Kunoichi's Final Stage competitors are not dropped into a free fall if they fail to finish before time runs out. However, they are still supported by a safety line. The ladders and net slide out of the way when the competitor transitions to the "Pole Climb", but are not timed like Sasuke's "Spider Climb". To date; only 9 competitors have ever attempted the final stage and only Ayako Miyake, Yuko Mizuno and Rie Komiya have attempted the final stage more than once.
|1-2||Balance Walk (10m)||Unlimited|
|3-4||Double ladder climb (10m) > Skyway Pole (5m)||35 seconds|
|5||Ladder climb (10m) > Skyway Pole (5m)||35 seconds|
|6||Wall Climb (10m) > Skyway Pole (5m)||30 seconds|
|7||Net Climb (12m) > Skyway Pole (5m)||40 seconds|
|8||Survival Climb (10m) > Climbing Board (6m)||60 seconds|
United States and United Kingdom broadcasts
The program can be seen in the United States as Women of Ninja Warrior on Esquire Network. Just like in the regular version, 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.
It is also broadcast in the UK on the channel Challenge. The first seven competitions were dubbed by Stuart Hall, while Kunoichi 8 was dubbed by Jim North. Kunoichi has now removed Hall's commentary and re-dubbed the first seven competitions with new commentary by Jim North.
Episodes also feature segments such as "Ninja Killer" (an obstacle from a stage that took out the most contestants), and "Warrior Wipeout" (the best wipeout from a Women of Ninja Warrior contestant). As of now, all 8 competitions have aired in the USA and UK.
The following is a list of people who advanced the farthest and reached at least the third stage in each competition. Under each competition, the results are listed in order of who went the farthest first.
Aired: December 22, 2001
|No. 83 Miho Yamada||Second||Failed Super Jump|
|No. 100 Masami Yusa||Second||Failed Super Jump|
NOTE: Nobody cleared the second stage in this competition.
Aired: December 21, 2002
|No. 81 Yuko Mizuno||Final||Failed Dreamer`s Road|
|No. 89 Kazue Watanabe||Final||Failed Dreamer`s Road|
|No. 100 Masami Yusa||Second||Failed Super Jump|
Aired: September 24, 2003
|No. 100 Yuko Mizuno||Final||Failed Pole Climb (by 0.12 seconds)|
|No. 95 Tomomi Hanzawa||Final||Failed Pole Climb|
|No. 92 Mika Izumi||Final||Failed Pole Climb|
|No. 97 Nao Watanabe||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 85 Kazue Watanabe||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 81 Yoko Mori||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 78 Sayaka Asami||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 70 Airi Yoshihama||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 5 Momoe Nakanishi||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 84 Ruo||Third||Failed Double Super Vault|
|No. 71 Chie Nishimura||Third||Failed Double Super Vault|
NOTE: In Stage 1 Kazue Watanabe went after Nao Watanabe, indicating she was the 97th competitor to go.
Aired: December 25, 2004
|No. 58 Ayako Miyake||Final||Completed Final Stage (4.14 seconds to spare)|
|No. 50 Kazue Watanabe||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 70 Rie Komiya||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 81 Saori Yoshida||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 90 Miho Yamada||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 95 Sayaka Asami||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
Aired: January 7, 2006
|No. 100 Ayako Miyake||Final||Completed Final Stage (7.72 seconds to spare)|
|No. 72 Rie Komiya||Final||Failed Pole Climb|
|No. 91 Yuko Mizuno||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 95 Sayaka Asami||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 83 Yuriko Imamura||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
Aired: September 20, 2006
|No. 100 Ayako Miyake||Final||Completed Final Stage (0.66 seconds to spare)|
|No. 81 Maho Tanaka||Final||Failed Brick Climb*|
|Mizuho Maeda||Third||Failed Pendulum Bridge|
|Tomoka Iwai||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|Erin Jessica Dolty||Third||Failed Peg Jump|
|Rena Higashi||Third||Failed Peg Jump|
|Mikari Matsumoto||Second||Timed Out Swinging Beams|
|Narumi Kitagawa||Second||Timed Out Swinging Beams|
- Tanaka completed the wall climb but her time ran out as she began the skyway pole.
NOTE: Numbers were not given out in this tournament but the producers had the order in which the competitors went. Only Miyake's and Tanaka's numbers were revealed because they made it to the Final Stage.
Aired: September 5, 2007
|No. 91 Maho Tanaka||Third||Failed Domino Hill|
|No. 100 Ayako Miyake||Second||Failed Swinging Beams|
|No. 92 Chie Nishimura||Second||Time Out Swinging Beams|
|No. 80 Rie Komiya||Second||Failed Monkey Bars|
Aired: October 7, 2009
|Satomi Kadoi||Final||Completed Final Stage (21.4 seconds to spare)|
|Rie Komiya||Final||Completed Final Stage (3.7 seconds to spare)|
|Tomomi Arimatsu||Final||Disqualified on Climb Boards^|
|Sachiyo Yamada||Third||Failed Flying Roll|
|Yuka Kato||Third||Failed Flying Roll|
^Arimatsu cleared the final stage with 5 seconds on the clock but she grabbed the edge of the 2nd wall on the Climbing Board