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Ninja Warrior

Like Takeshi's Castle, Ninja Warrior (its original title is SASUKE) is another Japanese gameshow that I like. They were showing it on Challenge but I haven't seen it lately, so I'm not sure if it's on at the moment.

Ninja Warrior is a bit different to Takeshi's Castle because it's more of an athletic sports competition.The format of the show is that 100 people compete against other by taking an obstacle course that has 4 stages. The course (which involves obstacles such as climbing up walls and ropes, jumping and hanging from pipes and bars and crossing bridges) is very hard and people are often out in the early stages. The majority of the competitors in the main competition are men, although you might get the odd woman. There are also special all women programmes called Women of Ninja Warrior (KUNIOCHI). SASUKE debuted in 1997 and has had 30 series so far. An American version called American Ninja Warrior was launched in 2009.

The commentary on the British version was done by presenter Stuart Hall in the earlier series and then Jim North in the 4th series. According to Wikipedia Challenge have removed Stuart's voice overs since he went to prison last year and replaced it with Jim's.

Some standout contestants include crab fisherman Kazuhiko Akiyama, who completed the course once and was the first person to do so (unfortunately he has an eye condition that's made him unable to finish it since), fisherman and musician Makoto Nagano, the second person to finish the course and also the competitor who has reached the final stage the most times, petrol station manager Shingo Yammamoto, who has competed in every tournament so far and fireman Toshihiro Takeda, the contestant who has got to the 3rd stage the most number of times.

Chie Nishimura Tanabe is the only woman to have completed  the first stage. She's a stuntwoman and suit actor.  Gymnast/dancer Ayako Miyake was the first champion on Women of Ninja Warrior, and newsreader Rie Kiomiya was the second winner.
 

Here's a clip of the best recoveries.







And here's a clip of Makoto Nagano competing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IQhT82goIk

Also check out Ayako Miyake's win here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDZ0BZKzTj8



For more on Ninja Warrior visit these links:

SASUKE 2007 (Japanese language): http://www.tbs.co.jp/program/sasuke_20070919.html 

Ninja Warrior UK version:  http://www.challenge.co.uk/shows/ninja-warrior.html

American Ninja Warrior: http://www.g4tv.com/ninjawarrior/

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