About the Show
Want to learn more about Ninja Warrior
Ninja Warrior, while it may seem like a cliche cartoon show, is actually a competition with a rich background history and is now a worldwide phenomenon. In 1997 Tokyo Japan, the most difficult obstacle course on the face of the earth was born entitled Sasuke. Since then, the competition has become a wordwide phenonemon with several spin-offs including American Ninja Warrior and Sasuke Malaysia. Everyday gas station managers, fishermen, and plumbers have gone on to become nationals heroes throughout Tokyo and are among the elite athletes that train year round for the competition (sometimes quitting their job).
*For clarification, Ninja Warrior refers to Sasuke, the original Japanese tournament
- Halfpipe-Attack Competitors have to sprint across this halfpipe and leap to a rope, hang on, and swing to a platform.
- Warped Wall Competitors have to master both technique and power in order to scale this fourteen foot monster wall.
- Ultimate Cliffhanger Perhaps the most deadly obstacle, competitors have 3cm to hang by from their fingertips and traverse from one ledge to the next.
- Spinning Bridge These treacherous balls can spin back and forth as well as swing. Competitors must use the utmost balance and focus to get across.
Ninja Warrior can be thought of as a giant tournament. In each tournament, 100 athletes take on the Ninja Warrior obstacle course which is set on "Mount Midoriyama". The course is divided into four stages, each stages harder than the last. The final stage is actually just one obstacle, climbing Mount Midoriyama which typically consists of a rope climb.
As you can see above, the obstacles are built over a metal structure and below many of the obstacles in stages 1-3 are water pits to cushion competitors. The obstacles in each stage test all aspects of physical strength, though stage 3 is entirely upper body.
To achieve total victory, or kanzenseiha as it is called in Japanese, you must get through all four stages. Of the 2,900 attemps, only three people have done so. Every time someone is crowned champion of Ninja Warrior, the final stage and the entire rest of the course gets totally redesigned. In addition, the course undergoes minor changes after each tournament. However, to get the best idea of how ninja warrior works, check out this clip of Ninja Warrior best competitors Makoto Nagano, one of the three people to achieve total victory
Did You Know: Ninja Warrior actually has nothing to do with Ninjas or Warriors, Sasuke actually means excellence and the American name was just added to sound intriguing.
All-Stars and New-Stars
Because of how incredibly difficult yet awesome Mount Midoriyama is to compete on, it has become infamous around the world leading to some of the most dedicated fans in any sport. These competitors train year round, building obstacles in their backyard and quiting their own jobs. In Japan, an elite group of competitors are nicknamed the Sasuke all-stars and these all-stars are national celebrities because of their performance on Sasuke.
The Ninja Warrior All-Stars consist of:
1). Makoto Nagano - Grand Champion and one of the most famous competitors of all, the humble fisherman (captain of the Konpira Maru) leads the all-stars and spends his days training for the competition
2). Shingo Yamamoto - at one point, he was just any old gas station jockey. However, after making it to the final stage Shingo Yamamoto was promoted to Manager, and then District Superintendent because of his success on Ninja Warrior. Now, he's more of a celebrity than a gas station worker and even built a cliffhanger at his gas station.
3). Toshihiro Takeda - Japan's greatest firefighter made famous for his consistent success on Ninja Warrior. He has yet to get past the third stage though but trains regularly.
4). Kazuhiko Akiyama - Decades ago in Sasuke 4, he achieved total victory, but has since struggled with a loss of eyesight. Still, Kazuhiko Akiyama is one of the great names of Ninja Warrior.
5). Katsumi Yama - Truck Driver and frequently nicknamed Mr. Ninja Warrior. This man eats, sleeps, and breaths Ninja Warrior, though he has yet to stand at the top of the tower.
In recent tournaments, a newer group of competitors has emerged and surpassed the all-stars. Led by 2-Time Grand champion Yuuji Urushihara, these competitors grew up as fans of the all-stars and have since taken their dedication to incredible heights.
The Ninja Warrior New-Stars consist of:
1). Yuuji Urushihara - Humble shoe salesman by day, and 2-Time Grand Champion by night. Yuuji is the most accomplished competitor of all, with not one but two kanzenseihas.
2). Ryo Matachi - He grew up as a superfan, building an entire training course in his closed. Ryo is one of the third stage's strongest competitors and he has been to the final stage twice.
3). Yusuke Morimoto - A complete unknown (and still unknown by 99% of Americans), he came out in Sasuke 29 as the last man standing and breezed through the crazy cliffhanger and vertical limit like it was nothing. Though he wasn't originally a new-star, now, there's no doubt about it.
4). Hitoshi Kanno - Nicknamed "The Muscle", Hitoshi is a jewelry designer but has made it to the final stage alongside Nagano in Sasuke 21.
5). Kazuma Asa - A speed demon, this gardner has posted some of the fastest times to date.
6). Kenji Takahashi - A delivery man who trains on the job. He competed on Ninja Warrior for a while, but founds success in Sasuke 24 making it to the final stage.
7). Lee Yen Chi - Taiwanese rock climber who made it to the final stage in Sasuke 24.
8). Jun Sato - A mere high school student, but top competitor making it all the way to the third stage repeatedly.
Did You Know: The prefix "yama" in Japan means mountain, so Midoriyama means Midori-mountain. Mount Midoriyama is essentially saying "Mount Midori Mountain" but it's a catchy enough title.
In Ninja Warrior's 30 competitions, 3000 competitors attempted the course. Only 3 men were able to conquer Mount Midoriyama and achieve kanzenseiha (total victory)
Sasuke 4 - Kazuhiko Akiyama achieves total victory
Sasuke 17 - After a major drought, Makoto Nagano achieves total victory
Sasuke 24 - Yuuji Urushihara achieves total victory
Sasuke 27 - The unthinkable happens and Yuuji Uruishiara achieves total victory twice