American “Ninja Warrior”

Posted: February 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

It is not uncommon for countries to “borrow” or be influenced by certain shows in our society.  In the last post, I talked about how these countries; specifically Canada used an American based program as a starting point for their own version of the game show Wipeout.  However, not all countries are influenced by American media. One example of how America has been influenced by a foreign country can be seen in the show American Ninja Warrior that was shown on ABC and also G4 and filmed in Las Vegas, Nevada.

                   anw                                                           ninja_warrior

Even by looking at the title, one can tell that this is not an original American idea.  This show was based on the original version, Ninja Warrior or Sasuke, which first aired Japan in 1997.  Once again, it is a challenging obstacle course competition where contestant’s skills and physical ability are tested.  In comparison to Wipeout, in the first recording there were 100 American contestants rather than only 24.  Also, the American Ninja Warrior is much more difficult, physically challenging and the prize at stake is much higher with the winner receiving $500,000.  That is, if they are able to conquer the infamous Mount Midoriyama.


Unlike many other game shows, where there is one winner, Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior do not require that there be a set champion.  In other words, if nobody is able to complete the final course, the grand prize goes unclaimed.  In either version, no American has been able to complete the final course and take home the prize.  Throughout the shows history, both in Japan and America, there have only been 3 people to successfully complete all 4 rounds and they all happen to be Japanese.  As far as structure goes, the American version of Ninja Warrior follows the same course guidelines but some have said that the American version is easier.  After the 2011 season ended, G4’s vice president for development, Laura Civiello, decided that it was time to stage the entire competition in the United States.  This change included rebuilding Mount Midoriyama, the final obstacle, to exact specifications in Las Vegas.  This was not an easy transition because this obstacle is about 1,000 feet long and is slightly shorter than the statue of liberty.  Since then, the show has grown to be much larger than when it started.  A portable course was constructed so that auditions could be filmed in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Miami.


  As seasons were completed, more contestants were allowed to audition to compete. As many as 250 people signed up to compete one year and the following year 750 were chosen to audition with the fastest 100 times qualifying for the final in Las Vegas. Also, as the years go by, the producers can tell that contestants are training and preparing harder than before.  This, in turn, causes audiences to become more attached and show support for contestants on the show.  This is a perfect example of how America has “borrowed” the structure of a foreign television game show and have made it profitable for themselves.



1. Stuever, H. (2012, July 20). ‘american ninja warrior’: A tribute to strength and, most of all, failure. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

2.Holbrook , D. (2012, May 21). American ninja warrior comes home!. TV Guide, Retrieved from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s