Welcome To The “Original” Ninja Warrior Course In Japan!
It’s the world’s most difficult obstacle course – a test of strength, agility and endurance – a course so hard that in the first 23 competitions, only 3 Athletes had ever achieved “total victory” – yes, it’s the original “Ninja Warrior” course in Japan!
I was able to travel to Japan for the taping of several Ninja Warrior competitions when it aired on G4 – which are known there as “Sasuke”, thanks to the incredible people at the Tokyo Broadcasting System:
I was there with Kevin Pereira and Olivia Munn, who were hosting shows for G4, and we got a shot that night from the starting platform. Alison Haislip was also hosting, and I captured shots of her shooting interviews during the course construction with the great camera team of Mike Dunn and Aaron Murray:
And since Alison was always the nicest person to work with, she was willing to pose for me as well:
Behind The Scenes Of “Ninja Warrior!”
It was fun to be on the set while all four stages of the obstacle course were being built, and the show creators also put up some smaller obstacles for fans to try.
There was a smaller version of the “net jump” built, and my great Producer John Hill decided to give it a try:
Well, he was brave enough to give it a shot and just BARELY missed – and it really is harder than it looks!
Kevin and Olivia then had to climb to the top of Stage 4, the legendary “Mt. Midoriama”, in order to film standups….it’s quite a climb up stairs, and to make sure they were safe, they were tethered by a rope to the railings the entire time!
Filming “Ninja Warrior”…
Early in the morning on competition day, all one hundred competitors arrive, sign in, get their number to run, and then wait to race…and some show up like this:
The coolest thing is when all one hundred competitors are put in front of “Mt. Midoriama” to pose before the competition begins:
The one hundred competitors a re a mix of gifted Athletes and some “fan favorites”, along with some American Athletes we brought with us, who showed off a bit before the competition began:
Both Olivia and Kevin ran the course, and Olivia was nice enough to pose with me before her run:
Perhaps she realized what she was in for, because it is as incredibly difficult as it looks! Olivia slipped on the last uneven step, and Kevin just skimmed his foot in the water on the log drop – but they were real competitors that day!
By the time all one hundred competitors have taken on the first stage of the course, it gets dark and the rest of the competition is run at night!
It’s A Long Day Of Competition On “Ninja Warrior!”
I attended these “Ninja Warrior” tapings on four different occasions, and not once did we finish filming the competition before 3am. The entire event takes place outdoors in a secret location just outside Tokyo. During the colder months, there was even a bonfire lit to help keep everyone warm!
Everyone on G4 worked that late as well, which meant Alison and her Host partner Matt Iseman had only a few minutes to eat dinner on the production bus before heading back to work:
After filming was complete on stage one, I was able to go onto the set and get a picture of me on the iconic warped wall…
It was one of the greatest trips of my life…the entire Tokyo Broadcasting team was a pleasure to work with, and I got to pose with the greatest Ninja Warrior of all, Makito Nagano!
These legendary Athlete has “achieved total victory” more than any other “Ninja Warrior”, and a great person as well!
And of course, on the one trip I couldn’t make, for the “all female” race, G4’s own Sara Underwood won the first stage of the competition!
You can see more of Kevin and Olivia’s trip to “Ninja Warrior”, and see a clip of Sara on the course by clicking here:
Can’t wait to see the new edition of “American Ninja Warrior” and good luck to all the Athletes!