SASUKE, also known as Ninja Warrior in the United States, is a sports entertainment show that is broadcasted by TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) in Japan. The official name for the show is (as a literal translation) “The Ultimate Survival Attack: SASUKE.” The show began in the fall of 1997 and started as a special section under another well-known sports program called “Kinniku Banzuke,” or Muscle Ranking. However, SASUKE went on to become it’s own independent show after “Kinniku Banzuke” had ceased broadcasting in the fall of 2002. As of 2007, there has been a total of 19 competitions of SASUKE.
In each competition there are a total of 100 contestants, all looking to complete the 4 stages of SASUKE as well as winning the award money of 200 Million Yen or approximately $20,000. Many contestants, however, don’t have the prize in mind at all and are competing purely for self-satisfcation or for pride.
There are a variety of competitors; from those who are at an olympic level in sports, to comedians, celebrities, fisherman, firefighters, teachers, dancers…and the list goes on. No one knows the exact process of selection of these contestants, however, of course if an applicant submits and outstanding video that would definitely be an eye-catcher. Some contestants in SASUKE were also most likely chosen because they have records with other sports entertainment shows such as “Kinniku Banzuke,” as mentioned above.
There have only been two winners in the history of SASUKE: Kazuhiko Akiyama and Makoto Nagano. The courses always get renovated to become increasingly difficult after a Total Victory occurs, and even without one the obstacles are constantly changing to make it even more difficult for contestants to make it all the way through. Many of you readers may know however of the numerous potential candidates that may be able to conquer all of Sasuke. Now that G4 is also having it’s own preliminaries and flying contestants from the United States over to Japan to compete in Sasuke, we may very well see a Total Victory soon enough…