Sasuke (TV series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Logo for SASUKE Ninja Warrior (2018–present)
Also known asNinja Warrior
Sasuke Rising
Sasuke Ninja Warrior
GenreSports entertainment,
Obstacle course
Created byUshio Higuchi
Directed byUshio Higuchi (1997–2011)
Masato Inui (1997–2005, 2012–present)
Voices ofIchiro Furutachi (1997–2003)
Takahiro Tosaki [ja] (1997)
Keisuke Hatsuta [ja] (1998–2008, 2010–14)
Wataru Ogasawara [ja] (2005–2011, 2019)
Fumiyasu Sato [ja] (2009–2011, 2018)
Tomohiro Ishii [ja] (2012–14)
Ryusuke Ito [ja] (2010, 2015)
Shinya Sugiyama [ja] (2016–present)
Kengo Komada [ja] (2004, 2015–18)
Shinichiro Azumi [ja] (2018–2019)
Tomohiro Kiire [ja] (2020)
Kazato Kumazaki [ja] (2020–present)
Masatoshi Nanba [ja] (2021–present)
Narrated byTakashi Matsuo (1997)
Tsutomu Tareki [ja] (1998–2005)
Ken Taira [ja] (2005)
Kiyoshi Kobayashi (2006–2011)
Yuya Takagawa [ja] (2012–present)
Masato Obara [ja] (2014)
Country of originJapan
Original languageJapanese
No. of episodes41 competitions (list of episodes)
Executive producerUshio Higuchi [ja]
ProducersYoshiyuki Kogake
Makoto Fujii
Production locationsMt. Midoriyama, Aoba-ku, Yokohama[1]
Running time120 to 360-minute specials
Production companiesMonster9 [ja] (1997–2011)
Tokyo Broadcasting System (2012–present)
Original release
NetworkTokyo Broadcasting System
Release27 September 1997 (1997-09-27) –
Kinniku Banzuke
Pro Sportsman No.1,
Viking: The Ultimate Obstacle Course

Sasuke (SASUKE(サスケ)) is a Japanese sports entertainment reality television show, airing since 1997, in which 100 competitors attempt to complete a four-stage obstacle course. The show was renamed Sasuke Rising before reverting to the original name and then Sasuke Ninja Warrior

An edited version, Ninja Warrior, is screened in at least 18 other countries.


Recorded on location at Midoriyama studios in Yokohama, it airs on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) between Japanese television drama seasons. The show's name Sasuke is named after Sarutobi Sasuke, a fictitious ninja character in Japanese traditional storytelling.[2] Each three-hour special (with the exceptions of Sasuke 24 and 36 which lasted 5 12 hours and 6 hours respectively) covers an entire competition; there are normally 100 participants. There have been 40 specials produced, approximately one new special per year (twice per year before Monster9's bankruptcy, now reduced to once per year since 2012, twice again in 2017 and 2018, then once a year since.). The show is produced by TBS and is one of the spin-offs of 筋肉番付 (Kinniku Banzuke, 'Muscle Ranking'), another sports entertainment competition, which aired on G4 in the United States under the name Unbeatable Banzuke. Until the 10th competition, Sasuke was broadcast as a special part of Muscle Ranking, but it became an independent program when Muscle Ranking was discontinued. The first competition was held indoors, marking the only time Sasuke did not take place outside. Competitions generally start in the daytime and continue until completed regardless of weather or darkness.[3] After Monster9's bankruptcy in November 2011, all rights to the show fell completely into the hands of its broadcaster, Tokyo Broadcasting System. Following their acquisition of all rights to Sasuke, TBS renamed the show Sasuke Rising for the 28th, 29th and 30th editions, but have since reverted to the original name. TBS has renamed the show once again, to Sasuke Ninja Warrior since the 35th edition and changed the show's logo for the 36th edition, with the new logo's year being changed for subsequent editions.


Applicants are interviewed or auditioned and trial rounds are held to test their physical ability until the field is narrowed to 100 competitors. Sasuke consists of four stages of increasing difficulty; competitors must complete a stage to advance. Before the 18th tournament, a 1,200-meter run was held in order to determine the competitors' starting positions. Each competition is taped prior to the air date, edited for time, and broadcast as a three-hour show. Exceptions may be made as in Sasuke 24's case should TBS decide the broadcast should go over three hours, but this is a rare exception.

The object is to hit the buzzer at the end of each course before the allotted time expires. If a competitor goes out of bounds, runs out of time or comes into contact with the water in any of the pits below the course, they are disqualified from the competition.

First stage[edit]

The First Stage primarily tests one's speed. Typically, 85 to 90 of the 100 original entrants are eliminated in this stage. However, in the 4th competition, a record 37 of the original 100 competitors made it past the First Stage.[4] After each full course completion, the First Stage was thoroughly redesigned to be much more difficult and prevent large numbers of people from moving on.

In the 19th competition, only two competitors cleared the First Stage (neither of the two being Sasuke All-Stars), a record in Sasuke history.[5]

Second stage[edit]

Those with enough skill to complete Stage One then take on an even more grueling set of obstacles in Stage Two. 522 competitors have reached the Second Stage as of Sasuke 40. Like Stage One, the obstacles alter throughout the competitions. The obstacles determine the time limit, and it is usually between 50 and 100 seconds.

Unlike the First Stage, which has always required the competitors to hit a buzzer at the end of the course to stop the clock and pass the course, the Second Stage did not have a buzzer at its end until the 8th competition. Before then, the competitors simply walked through an open gate to stop the clock. From the 8th competition onward, the buzzer opens the gate. If the competitor breaks the gate open without hitting the button, they are disqualified. In addition, the course judges can hold the gates closed if a competitor committed a foul earlier in the Second Stage that would result in their disqualification, such as using the Chain Reaction gloves on the Spider Walk as Katsumi Yamada had done in the 12th competition.[6]

On average, 10 to 15 competitors attempt the Second Stage on each competition. A record 37 competitors attempted the Second Stage during the 4th competition. Also during the 4th competition, 11 competitors cleared the Second Stage,[4] a record that stood until Sasuke 40 saw 12 completions. In the 19th competition, neither of the two qualified competitors cleared the circuit (a fall and a timeout on the Salmon Ladder), marking the earliest end of a Sasuke competition.[5]

Third stage[edit]

The Third Stage has no time limit. Contestants are allowed approximately thirty seconds of rest between obstacles during which they can apply "sticky spray" to improve their grip. While the first two stages focus on speed and agility, this course almost exclusively tests one's upper body strength and stamina.

Out of 4,000 total competitors and 522 Second Stage competitors, 250 have attempted the Third Stage. The Third Stage is so grueling that, on average, someone passes it only every other competition. Only 28 individuals have ever passed it, and only seven have passed it more than once, namely Akira Omori, Shingo Yamamoto, Makoto Nagano, Yuuji Urushihara, Ryo Matachi, Yusuke Morimoto and Tatsuya Tada. The record for most Third Stage clears in a tournament is five, achieved in the 3rd[7] and 24th[8] tournaments.

Final stage[edit]

To date, the Final Stage has known seven forms. Each of these share a single, common goal: reach and hit the button at the top before time expires. If the competitor does not reach the top platform in time, the rope is cut and the competitor falls (they are caught by a safety line). Starting from the 18th competition, the rope is no longer cut. Reaching the top is referred to as kanzenseiha (完全制覇), translated roughly as "complete domination", literally as "complete victory", and rendered on Ninja Warrior as "total victory". The Final Stage's time limit is between 30 and 45 seconds.

Notable competitors[edit]

Sasuke All-Stars[edit]

The Sasuke All-Stars were a group of six favored competitors, established by the TBS network, originally thought to be the most likely to clear all four stages. Consisting of Shingo Yamamoto, Katsumi Yamada, Kazuhiko Akiyama, Toshihiro Takeda, Makoto Nagano and Bunpei Shiratori, they comprised a large portion of the competitors' success in the first decade of Sasuke. The first two champions, Akiyama and Nagano, are also included, as is the only competitor to compete in every tournament, Yamamoto.

The All-Stars were officially 'retired' in the 28th tournament, but this decision was reversed.[9] Shingo Yamamoto continued to compete in Sasuke 29 and onwards. Takeda and Shiratori have since retired. Nagano retired in Sasuke 32, but has since made appearances in the 38th and 40th tournaments. Akiyama retired in Sasuke 28, but returned in the 40th tournament.

Sasuke New Stars (Shin Sedai)[edit]

The Sasuke New Stars are younger competitors who made a name for themselves during the Shin-Sasuke era. "Shin Sedai" or New Stars became famous since Sasuke 17, after Shunsuke Nagasaki made it to the Final Stage. There was a brief hiatus before the term was re-popularized in Sasuke 22 when Yuuji and Kanno made it to the Third Stage. Membership in the Shin Sedai has been more fluid than the All-Stars, with Shunsuke Nagasaki, Yuuji Urushihara, Hitoshi Kanno, Koji Hashimoto, Jun Sato, Ryo Matachi, Kazuma Asa, Yusuke Morimoto, Tomohiro Kawaguchi, Shinya Kishimoto, Masashi Hioki and Yusuke Suzuki all having been considered members at certain points.

Morimoto Stars (Morimoto Sedai)[edit]

The Morimoto Stars is an informal term for the group of competitors who emerged post-Yusuke Morimoto's first kanzenseiha and are now some of the most consistently strong competitors. The members are usually considered to be Yusuke Morimoto, Tatsuya Tada, Keitaro Yamamoto, Jun Sato and Naoyuki Araki.


Celebrity competitors include:


In its 41 editions, all four stages of the course have been completed a total of only six times, by four different competitors. These were Kazuhiko Akiyama [ja] in the 4th competition (1999),[4] Makoto Nagano in the 17th competition (2006),[10] Yuuji Urushihara in the 24th (2010)[11] and 27th (2011)[12] competitions, and Yusuke Morimoto [ja] in the 31st (2015)[13] and 38th (2020)[14] competitions.

Manga adaptations[edit]

In December 26, 2023, TBS announced a new manga adaptations based on Sasuke. This manga will be distributed by Manga Box[15] and will be released in the spring of 2024.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sasuke 2005". Archived from the original on December 31, 2005. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  2. ^ Jamison, Leslie (July 8, 2016). "The Great American Obstacle Course". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on July 9, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2017.
  3. ^ Corkill, Edan, "Average Joes become champions on 'Sasuke'". Japan Times. September 30, 2011. p. 15. Archived October 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b c 【歴代大会4/39】先天性の弱視でオリンピック出場の夢も毛ガニ漁師としての仕事も諦めた男 秋山和彦26歳。SASUKE史上初の完全制覇達成‼︎ [[Historic Tournament 4/39] Kazuhiko Akiyama, 26, is a man who gave up on his dream of participating in the Olympics and his job as a hair crab fisherman due to congenital amblyopia. SASUKE's first complete victory achieved!! ︎]. YouTube. October 3, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  5. ^ a b 【歴代大会19/39】SASUKE史上唯一‼︎2ndステージでかつてない惨劇まさかの全滅…【SASUKE 40回大会 記念プレイバック】 [[Historic Tournament 19/39] The only one in SASUKE history!! ︎An unprecedented tragedy and total annihilation at the 2nd stage... [SASUKE 40th Tournament Commemorative Playback]]. YouTube. October 10, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  6. ^ 【歴代大会12/39】山田の無念!オールスターズの無念を背に魔城に挑む長野誠。あの時、天空の頂で何が起きたのか!?. YouTube. October 27, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  7. ^ 歴代大会3/39】悲願の完全制覇へ13kgの減量を敢行した山田勝己栄光のゴールまで あと30cmと迫ったが…!?ここにミスターSASUKEの伝説が始まった!. YouTube. October 1, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  8. ^ 【歴代大会24/39】悲願達成!新世代のリーダー漆原裕治 史上3人目の完全制覇. YouTube. November 28, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  9. ^ "【歴代大会28/39】SASUKEオールスターズ最後の戦い!新世代へ引き継ぐ熱い魂". YouTube. December 6, 2022. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  10. ^ 【史上最強の漁師】4度目のFINAL進出で雪辱を果たす【長野誠】1st〜3rd. YouTube. May 4, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  11. ^ (1st~3rd)【靴の営業マンが快挙!】史上3人目の完全制覇 達成!【漆原裕治】. YouTube. May 2, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  12. ^ 新世代のリーダーへ】史上初2回目の完全制覇 達成【漆原裕治】. YouTube. May 13, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  13. ^ 【初出場から8年】夢をかなえた大学院生 史上4人目の完全制覇【森本裕介】完全版. YouTube. May 6, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  14. ^ 【FINAL STAGE】サスケくん 2度目の完全制覇すべて見せます!森本裕介. YouTube. April 26, 2021. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  15. ^ "『SASUKE』マンガ版、企画始動──!". Manga Box Editoral Studio. December 26, 2023.

External links[edit]