List of SASUKE Stages
Sasuke is a Japanese sports entertainment television special that airs on the
Tokyo Broadcasting System(TBS) between Japanese television drama seasons, and consists of a competition in which 100 competitors attempt to complete four obstacle course stages. Each 3-hour special covers an entire competition, and there have been 20 specials, approximately one new special per season, since September 26, 1997. In the United States, Sasuke is televised under the name "Ninja Warrior" on the G4 channel, airing in 30-minute episodes. In the United Kingdom, it is also known as "Ninja Warrior"; however it airs in 23-minute episodes (with only one commercial break) on the Challenge channel.
Descriptions of specific obstacles can be found in the section following this one. The time limits are in seconds. (NOTE: In the 18th tournament, a 1.2km cross-country run was used to determine their starting numbers, with the contestants being able to pick their numbers at the end of the race)
One hundred participants are given the opportunity to attempt the First Stage, a course which primarily tests one's speed. The object is to hit the
buzzerat the end of the course before the allotted time expires. If a competitor goes out of bounds or comes into contact with the water in any of the pits below the course, he is disqualified.
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. After the 4th, and again after the 17th competition, the first stage was thoroughly redesigned to be much more difficult and prevent large numbers of people from moving on. In fact, a G4 special inside the making of the 18th "Sasuke" competition revealed that the redesign of the first stage for that competition was done with the intention of seeing all 100 challengers fail it. This did not happen, however, and that has only spurred the production team on to make this and all stages to follow even harder.
That goal was almost met in the 19th competition, where much to everyone's surprise, only two competitors cleared the first stage (neither of the two being "Sasuke" All-Stars), a record in "Sasuke" history. (The only time something similar has happened was in the first "Kunoichi", where again, only two competitors cleared the first stage.) Executive producer Ushio Higuchi said in interviews later that even he was surprised at the results, anticipating that around 10 to 12 people would survive in spite of the production team's attempts at making the first stage unbeatable.+ - This obstacle is an immediate successor to the previous obstacle, without any way to recuperate between them.
On "Ninja Warrior", the "Climbing Bars" are called the "Bridge of Destiny" in subtitles. But the English version and the Japanese announcer calls them the "Climbing Bars", one of the many
gairaigo(words borrowed from English) used to describe Sasuke obstacles.
The Descending Globe Grasp is also called the Downward Globe Grasp or just the Globe Grasp (possibly due to lack of screen naming).
On "Ninja Warrior", the "Pole Bridge" is called the "Pillar Path" in subtitles. But the English version and the Japanese announcer calls them the "Pole Bridge".
To date, the Final Stage has known three forms. Each of these share a single, common goal: to scale the tower and reach 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). Reaching the top is referred to as "kanzenseiha" (完全制覇), translated roughly as "complete domination", and rendered on "Ninja Warrior" as "total victory".
Of all the competitors to attempt to claim victory, only sixteen have been admitted to the final stage, and only three of them have gotten there more than once (Akira Omori in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd competitions, Shingo Yamamoto in the 3rd and 7th, and Makoto Nagano in the 11th, 12th, 13th, and his victory in the 17th). Currently there are only two victors: Kazuhiko Akiyama defeated "Sasuke" in the 4th Competition, and Makoto Nagano in the 17th.
The original Final Stage consisted of climbing a 15 meter (49 ft) rope. The contestant must start climbing from a seated position.
The second version of the Final Stage was unveiled in the 7th Competition, when Shingo Yamamoto became the first to attempt it. The height of the tower was increased to convert|22.5|m|ft. It consists of a convert|12.5|m|ft Spider Climb followed by a convert|10|m|ft Rope Climb. After 15 seconds, the walls of the Spider Climb spread apart. This ensnared
Jordan Jovtchevduring the 8th Competition, when he failed to complete the Spider Climb before it began spreading, and fell off the tower.
Typically, only one or two people make it to the Final Stage, if any make it at all. However, the 3rd competition saw a record 5 competitors attempt the Final Stage. After the 4th competition, though, the Final Stage was only achieved on average every other tournament.The name "Final Rope" is for clarification. The obstacle's real name is unknown, although "Ninja Warrior" calls it the "Rope Climb".
If the "Spider Climb" is not completed in 15 seconds, the walls start to split, making it harder to traverse, and finally impossible if not completed soon after.
Since no one has reached the Final Stage since 17th competition, the obstacles and the time details are still unknown.
First Stage obstacles
;Barrel Climb:The competitor must jump over a small pit onto a staircase of logs that each freely rotate on a lateral axis, then climb to the next obstacle.
;Quintuple Step:The competitor must jump across 4 platforms that are angled 45° degrees toward the center of a water pit, and then jump to the platform at the end. The platforms are positioned alternately, left and right, across the length of the pit. They are each 60 centimeters (1 ft 11.62 in) wide, and the total length of the obstacle is 6.2 meters (20 ft 4.09 in).
;Hill Climb (12th competition):The competitor must cross over two small hills which are at a 60° incline.
;Prism Tilt:The competitor must jump over a small pit onto a large triangle which is supported by an axis in the center. The weight on one side of the triangle will tilt it into the water, so it must be crossed quickly.
;Cone Jump:The competitor must cross two large cones that are spinning and jump to the next platform.
;Hurdle Jump:The competitor must cross three pits, while also clearing the bungee-rope hurdles located at the end of each intermediate platform (excluding starting and landing platforms). The first platform is shaped like an opening quarter-pipe, the second is flat and inclined to about 30°, and the landing platform is inclined to about 45°.
;Sextuple Step:Essentially the same as the Quintuple Step, but with 5 intermediate platforms instead of 4. It was the first obstacle in the 16th, 17th, 19th-21st competitions. (The first obstacle in the 18th competition was the Rope Glider, but this proved to be too dangerous, thus the Sextuple Step was reprieved.)
;Rope Glider:The competitor must hold onto a rope as it slides down a track, and then let go to land on a mat floating in the water. Due to many injuries in the 18th tournament, the obstacle has since been removed.
;Butterfly Wall:The competitor must jump and grab onto a vertical wall that spins around a central vertical axis to reach the platform on the other side.
;Spinning Log:The competitor must cross a horizontal log that freely rotates around a central axis parallel to the course. The log is about 3 meters long and 20 cm in diameter.
;Log Slope:A modification of the Spinning Log, the log is now on an incline of about 15°, and the exit ground is placed above the log. It is also positioned like a platform rather than a balance beam and requires an additional climb to a platform leading to the next obstacle.
;Rolling Log:The competitor must straddle and cling to a log 40 centimeters (15.75 in) in diameter before kicking the ground to begin its roll down a 15° decline. Starting from the 13th competition, two drops were added to the supporting rails in order to jar the competitor and make it harder to continue straddling the log. The log is also notorious for coming off the tracks and halting its spin midway.
;Log Grip:The competitor must hold onto a vertical log with their arms and legs while it slides down a track to the next platform. The log contains small indentations to provide some grip. The track is similar to the one previously used for the Rolling Log, but the drops are bigger and the track is longer. In addition, the drops are closer together, almost eliminating a chance to recover from the previous drop.
;Rapid Descent:Exactly the Barrel Climb in reverse, the competitor must jump over a large gap. This is the only obstacle in the 1st competition not to have an original name and was considered the first "Ninja Killer" by G4.
;Balance Bridge:The Balance Bridge is a large board that freely rotates along an axis parallel to the course. Along with this, there is an piece along the axis that protrudes perpendicular to the bridge.. When the Balance Bridge was reused in the 11th competition, the axis was further to the left, the protruding piece went along the whole board, and there was a second protruding piece added perpendicular to the first on the right side halfway across the obstacle.
;Big Boulder:The competitor must jump onto a very large boulder-like sphere floating in water and leap across to the other side.
;Dance Bridge:The competitor must traverse a bridge made of 12 individual boards that each spin individually on three lengthwise axes, and then jump to the next platform.
;Plank Bridge:The entrant must jump off a piece of wood similar to a gangplank to the other side. The board is unanchored, and falls as the contestant runs across it.
;Cross Bridge/Bridge of Blades:Like the other bridges, the Bridge of Blades rotates freely around a central lengthwise axis. It has four sections, two on each side, with each section 45° from horizontal.
;Pole Maze:The competitor must grab a pole leaning against the first platform, and swing to the other side. The pole is anchored in the middle of the water pit, and the top of the pole must be guided through a track above. In the 19th Competition, the maze was lengthened and changed to make the obstacle harder to navigate.
;Circle Slider:The competitor must jump from a springboard and grab onto a large hoop on a long declining track that they must slide across. At the end, the hoop hits a large object on the top of the track, and the competitor must use the momentum built up on the descent to swing to a platform.
;Jump Hang:The competitor must leap forward off a
trampolineto grasp the underside of a declining cargo net, then either climb over or underneath it, taking care not to touch the water below the obstacle if they choose the latter. In the 13th Competition, instead of the cargo net, there were many vertically hanging ropes to grab onto.
;Jumping Spider: A combination of the Jump Hang and the Spider Walk from the Second Stage, the competitor must jump from a trampoline into a shaft of parallel walls that they must traverse by wedging themselves in between and crawling through. In the 19th Competition, the platform before the trampoline was shortened making the competitor to jump diagonally forward, instead of simply jumping up to the walls.
;Bungee Bridge:The competitor must cross a bridge of 4 pieces with a gap between each. The pieces are made of many thin strips of a stretchy material so they provide little support and very unstable ground.
;Rope Reverse:The competitor must take a rope and swing off the side of a high platform. When the rope swings back, the competitor must swing and jump onto another platform below. There is a bungee line that limits the rope's movement.
;Reverse Fly:The competitor must jump into a large vertical trampoline, slightly angled, and then land back on a platform adjacent to the one they jumped from. A wall divides the two platforms.
;Crooked Wall:The competitor must run up a twisted, concave wall and jump off the side to grab a rope that then descends and leaves the competitor onto the path to the next obstacle. The wall is curved more on one side than the other. The rope is called the Seesaw Rope.
;Halfpipe Attack:In a fashion quite similar to the Crooked Wall, the competitor must run up across a vertical half-pipe. Then, they must make a leap from the half-pipe about halfway through to reach a rope to swing themselves onto a narrow landing pad. A deceptively simple obstacle, many have grasped the rope successfully only to botch the landing.
;Hill Climb (1st-4th competition):The competitor must climb a large wall of similar height to the Warped Wall, but flat and at a 60° angle.
;Warped Wall:The competitor must scale a concave quarter-pipe by running up and grabbing the top of the wall. From the 5th to the 17th tournaments, the wall was 5 meters (16 ft 4.85 in) high. In the 19th tournament, the height was raised to 5 meters and 20 centimeters (17ft). During the 13th competition, for contestants under the age of 13 and over the age of 50, as well as female contestants, a portion of the wall could be taken off of the top, making the wall about a foot shorter.
;Great Wall:A combination of the Warped Wall and the Crooked Wall, the Great Wall is taller than the Warped Wall, but also adds a rope hanging over the edge for contestants to grab and climb over with.
;Flying Chute:The competitor must slide down a giant chute and then grab onto a horizontal rope suspended some distance away from the chute. They must then transfer from that rope to a cargo net directly under the chute, and then to the path behind the net. In the 19th competition the rope was placed higher and further away from the chute, making it much more difficult. However, in the 20th tournament, the rope was lowered and the original rope was replaced with a thicker one.
;Tarzan Jump:The competitor must cross a series of 5 elastic, vertically hanging ropes to the Rope Climb. It was decreased to 4 ropes starting in the 12th Competition.
;Mountain Climb:The competitor must climb a wall with hand- and footholds to reach the buzzer at the top. The first section of the wall is on a conveyor belt that moves slowly downwards as the contestants climb.
;Rope Climb:The competitor must take a rope and swing to a wall, then climb up the wall with the rope to press the buzzer before time expires. In the 10th-12th competitions the rope rested against the finish tower, so the contestants were required to traverse the Tarzan Jump to reach the obstacle.
;Tarzan Rope → Rope Ladder:The competitor must take a rope and swing to a vertical cargo net, then climb up the net and cross a short bridge to press the buzzer before time expires.
econd Stage obstacles
;Spider Walk:There have been three different versions of this obstacle to date. In the first four competitions, it was the first and longest obstacle, sometimes taking as much as half of the allotted time. The obstacle required the competitor to traverse the space between two parallel walls without touching the ground. A segment in the middle moved up and down, usually requiring a shift in direction. Later, it was shortened to five large sets of panels, each of which moved independently of the others. In the version used from the 7th to the 17th Competition, the competitor had to travel up, across, and down two parallel walls in an upside-down "U" shape. The two versions used in the 1st-6th tournaments ended at a pole referred to as the "Fireman's Pole". A can of adhesive spray is available at the start of the obstacle. Bare hands must be used or the contestant will be disqualified.
Note: In the 1st-3rd competitions, throughout the entire obstacle there were only mats to fall on. In the 4th competition, the first half was water, and the second half was padded with mats. From the 5th-17th competitions, the area under the whole obstacle was filled with water.
Note #2: The Spider Walk used in the first 4 tournaments had an ascending portion that the Japanese announcer referred to as the "Spider Climb", however, this area is not related to the "Spider Climb" that was found in the 5th-17th competitions' Final Stage.
;Tackle Machine:The competitor must push a 50kg weight down a tunnel to reach the exit to the next obstacle.
;Ledge Walk:The competitor must cross two sections of ledge on 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.
;Chain Reaction:The competitor must ride two perpendicular
zip-lines over a pit of water, switching between them in midair. Each zipline has a chain hanging from it by a single point. Competitors must grasp the chain on the first zip-line, ride to where the first chain slams into the scaffold, then switch to the next chain in midair, and ride the second zip-line to the end of the obstacle. During the switch, competitors may kick off a nearby solid wall. The first swing is 9.5 meters, and the second is 7.5 meters. Competitors are required to wear gloves (for safety reasons) when holding the chains, which they must discard prior to reaching the Spider Walk.
;Downhill Jump:The competitor must slide down a track standing on an snowboard-like object, and then jump to a rope on a track, which then swings towards a mat which the competitor must jump onto. Kunoichi's Super Jump is similar to this. In the 19th Competition, G4 dubbed this obstacle as the Super Jump.
;Brick Climb:The competitor must climb a wall with bricks protruding from it. The wall is approximately 3.5 meters high.
Note: TBS does not officially consider this to be an obstacle, but rather, part of the path to the Spider Walk.
;Salmon Ladder → Stick Slider:The competitor must grab a bar which is resting on two parallel walls. The walls have seven sets of notches for the bar to rest on, with the gap between the last two sets larger than the previous ones. The bar is not bound to the wall in any way. Once the competitor's feet leave the mat, the landing mat from the Downhill Jump is taken away. The competitor must use his momentum to climb, raising the bar from notch to notch. After reaching the final notch, he must land the bar onto two declining tracks in a "V" shape. Finally, he must drop from the bar onto a mat below. In the 21st Competition, the bar was was longer, and the Stick Slider was angled less steeply. Small weights were also added to both ends of the bar to prevent the bar from falling off the Stick Slider, but this arguably also increased the difficulty of the Salmon Ladder.
;Hammer Dodge:The competitor must walk across a thin plank, avoiding the 5 large hammers swinging back and forth. In some competitions, the competitor was disqualified for coming into contact with the hammers in any way, while in others, the competitor just had to compelte the obstacle without falling.
;Balance Tank:The competitor must balance atop a large rolling barrel and ride the barrel to a platform across a distance of 5.4 meters.
;Grip Hang:The competitor must hang onto two outward-facing ledges and cross a small gap.
;Net Bridge:The competitor must climb across a cargo net to reach the next platform.
;Sky Walk:Little is known about this obstacle since no competitor has had the chance to attempt it. It appears, from a similar obstacle in the Sasuke 21 trials, that the competitor must use only a long narrow ledge and a wall for support to climb across a large gap. Its function is likely similar to the Cliff Hanger.
;Swing Ladder:A set of monkey bars must be crossed by the competitors. The monkey bars are set on a tilting mount on the scaffolding above, and swing substantially when competitors traverse it. It is quite similar to KUNOICHI's "Monkey Bars".
;Reverse Conveyor Belt:The competitor must crawl though a small tunnel with a conveyor belt going the opposite direction. It is 90cm wide and 6.3 meters long.
;Metal Spin:An array of
chains dangle from a horizontal wheel that freely spins, resembling a chandelier, over a water hazard. The competitor must jump to grasp one of the chains, spinning the wheel to the other side. Starting in the 16th competition, the chains were replaced with plastic bungee chains, requiring a strong grip to prevent the chains from slipping out of the competitors' hands.
;Wall Lift:The competitor must lift three heavy walls and cross under them to advance. Initially, the walls were 20kg (44 pounds), 30kg (66 pounds), 40kg (88 pounds). Later, they were increased to 30kg, (66 pounds) 40kg (88 pounds), and 50kg (110 pounds). It was replaced by the Shoulder Walk in the 18th competition, but then returned in the next competition, where it was shown that the walls were changed from steel to wood. In the 21st competition, the walls were raised slightly off the ground to prevent injury.
;Shoulder Walk:The competitor must cross two bridges carrying a bar on his shoulders that has two weighted chambers hanging from each end of the bar, weighing 40kg (88 pounds) in total. The bridges have a small gap between them, and the second bridge is offset to the left.
Third Stage obstacles
;Super Vault:The competitor must vault over a body of water with an unanchored pole. This obstacle is virtually identical to Kunoichi's Super Vault.;Pole Bridge:The competitor must walk across a path of unstable columns.;Propeller Bars:The competitor must cross a series of 3 horizontal, slowly-spinning bars anchored to the top of the course.;Eye of the Needle:The competitor must cross a patch of large, thin, flexible poles that protrude up from the ground, by using arms and legs. It was used only in the 1st competition as the last obstacle of the 3rd stage.;Rumbling Dice:A box frame made of two steel squares connected by four monkey bars, one at each corner and about 30cm apart from each other, which is placed on two bars that traverse a 5m water pit, this obstacle must be overcome by rolling the box frame across the pit by grabbing the top monkey bar in front and pulling it down repeatedly.;Arm Rings:The competitor hangs from two rings on different-shaped sliding horizontal poles and must negotiate several separate rises and dips on each track.;Chain Swing:The competitor must cross a series of 6 hanging chains about 2.5m long, each of which has a wooden foothold at the bottom. ;Arm Bike:On this obstacle, the competitor must use his arms to propel himself across the gap, pedaling in a way similar to how feet pedal on a bicycle. This obstacle was used from the 4th Competition until the 8th, and then returned in the 18th Competition as an immediate successor to the Arm Rings, with no platform to rest on between them.;Body Prop:Much like the Spider Walk, the competitor must traverse an expanse of two walls that are 5 meters long. However, the walls are further apart, so he must position both hands on one side and both feet on the other. Along the way there are gaps in both walls, requiring the competitor to alter his hand and foot positioning as necessary. ;Globe Grasp:The competitor crosses a pool of water by grabbing onto a series of small glowing blue spheres attached to the scaffolding above.;Descending Globe Grasp:A modification of the "Globe Grasp" obstacle. In this version of the obstacle, the scaffolding is slightly declined, requiring the competitor to reach downward to each successive sphere. Unlike the original Globe Grasp, the spheres are not illuminated.;Curtain Cling:The competitor must grapple across a hanging curtain 5.4 meters wide to reach the other side. The curtain is about 3m (9 ft 10.11 in) in height.;Curtain Swing:Four small curtains 1 meter (3 ft 3.37 in) long are hung diagonally, and the bottom of each is within arm's reach. The entrant must swing from one to the next to get across.;Devil Steps:This obstacle is a set of ascending and descending stairs, but instead of walking across over them, the challenger must climb under the steps to reach the next obstacle.;Cliff Hanger:The competitor must traverse three narrow ledges only large enough to be supported by the fingertips (1 inch wide). Since its introduction in the 4th tournament, there have been four different versions.:*The original obstacle had the three ledges at the same height, all the same length at 1.2m (3 ft 11.24 in) each, with 15cm (5.91 in) gaps between them.:*In the following competition, the third ledge was raised 30cm (11.81 in).:*For the 9th competition to the 17th, the first ledge was lengthened to about 2.4m (7 ft 10.48 in), the second ledge was raised to the original height of the third, and the third was lowered 45cm. (17.71in):*For the 18th competition, the second ledge was shortened to about 77cm (30.31 in) and inclined to an angle of about 12°, making the gap between the second and third bars 1m (3 ft 3.37 in) horizontally. As a small compensation for the added difficulty, the first half of the last bar is larger, making it slightly easier to grab onto after the jump. Since the 19th competition, a diagonal sheet of metal has been added to prevent grabbing the top of the third ledge, as Makoto Nagano did in the 18th competition. ;Jumping Bars:Competitors must jump a series of bars, each one about 5 feet in front of and 1 foot below the previous one. In the 16th tournament, the first bar was positioned further away from the resting platform to allow competitors to have more leg room when gathering up momentum. The number of bars were also reduced from 6 to 4. In the 21st tournament, the first bar was positioned still further from the platform, necessitating competitors to jump to the first bar.;Climbing Bars/Bridge Of Destiny:Competitors must climb across an inclined set of monkey bars. Since its introduction it has been preceded by the Jumping Bars, and the two drain what little stamina the competitor has left. In the 18th competition the ladder was made shorter to make room for the Spider Flip.;Hang Climbing/Ascending Climb:Replacing the Climbing Bars in the 19th competition, it is an acutely angled wall scattered with modern wall climbing artifacts. It is positioned between the Jumping Bars and the Spider Flip with no resting platforms.;Devil's Swing:Competitors must swing from a trapeze bar suspended from the scaffolding and to the Pipe Slider. There is a risk of getting the suspension chains stuck on the green rest bar behind the obstacle, and also a risk of grabbing the Pipe Slider, only to release it and have the pipe roll away on the track.;Pipe Slider:Introduced in the 2nd tournament and used until the 17th, this obstacle is historically the last obstacle on the course. The entrant must hang from a pipe and, by undulating his body, move the pipe across a track to the other side. There have been two versions of this obstacle. In the earlier version, there would be two sections, the first continuing in the same direction as rest of stage three, and the second perpendicular to the rest of the stage, with a resting bar in between. From the 4th competition on, competitors were required to swing off the pipe to the finish mat, due to the addition of a gap between the end of the track to the finishing mat. In the 14th competition, the first track was eliminated and replaced with the Jumping Bars and Climbing Bars. Once the competitor reached the green bar, he was required to use the Devil's Swing to reach the Pipe Slider track, and slide down to the end. The gap between the Pipe Slider and the finishing mat was also increased by another 2 ft. To date, 13 competitors have failed at this final gap.;Spider Flip:This obstacle replaces the Devil's Swing in the 18th competition. It was taken from the "Heartbreaker" on . A ledge, much like an I-beam girder where there is a lip to hold onto on either side, must be climbed from underneath. At the end of the first ledge, there is another ledge, aligned perpendicular to the first, that must also be scaled. Once the competitor has done this successfully, he may rest on a small foothold before jumping backwards 2 meters to land onto another setup symmetrical to the first. He then must climb back down and across to the resting bar before the Gliding Ring.;Gliding Ring/Final Ring:This obstacle replaced the Pipe Slider in the 18th competition. Its appearance is similar to the Circle Slider. However, the track is shorter and the ring is smaller. Its function is similar to the Pipe Slider, where the competitor needs to push the ring to the end position and swing off the ring over a fairly large gap onto the finishing platform to reach the final stage. There is only track holding the ring, and the ring's final position also seems to be at the same height as the gap, making the jump needed for success quite difficult.
Note: In the 21st competition, the gap between the ring and the finish pad was announced as being 1 meter in length. However, is is very likely that the gap is in fact larger than this, and it has been suggested that 1 meter was an estimate by the announcer in lieu of the precise measurements.
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