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KUNOCHI is a sports variety special spun off from SASUKE. Officially titled "女性版SASUKE『KUNOICHI" (Female Version SASUKE "KUNOICHI").

K Title Card

KUNOICHI Logo (Version 2)


KUNOICHI Logo (Version 3)


KUNOICHI Logo (Version 4)


Originally created as a prototype named "Okan 9" focusing on housework in the Kinniku Banzuke days, it then spun into the two tournaments produced during the years 1999-2000, under the name KUNOICHI. Due to poor results brought by the event, it did not return after the tournament in 2000.

With the original KUNOICHI of Kinniku Banzuke in the past, producers met up in November 2001 and pitched a new spinoff once again titled KUNOICHI, but less focused on house chores. Acquiring 70 competitors within the span of a few weeks, an outdoor course was built and the first mainstream KUNOICHI tournament was held. Once again with poor results, all 70 competitors had failed the 1st STAGE. In an effort to save the competition, the top 20 competitors were given re-runs and the tournament finished. Once the competition produced good enough results and good ratings, the show continued.

7 more tournaments were produced after lasting until 2009. with bankruptcy looming and the notorious Muscle Musical having split (later cancelled), KUNOICHI was put on the back burner and was eventually demolished.

However in late 2016, Inui Masato brought back plans for KUNOICHI and announced a tournament set for the coming months. The KUNOICHI reboot produced 3 tournaments from February 2017 - July 2018.

Event Broadcast Date Official Name
KUNOICHI 1999 October 30, 1999 KUNOICHI
KUNOICHI 2000 April 22, 2000 Shin-KUNOICHI
KUNOICHI 2001 December 22, 2001 KUNOICHI Muscle Ranking Special
KUNOICHI 2002 December 21, 2002 KUNOICHI First Snow Queen Birth
KUNOICHI 2003 September 24, 2003 KUNOICHI Magic Steel Castle Born
KUNOICHI 2004 December 25, 2004 KUNOICHI 2004 Christmas Attack
KUNOICHI 2006 New Year January 7, 2006 KUNOICHI Happy New Years Special
KUNOICHI 2006 Summer September 20, 2006 KUNOICHI Forbidden Queen's Carnival
KUNOICHI 2007 September 5, 2007 KUNOICHI No. 1 Playoffs
KUNOICHI 2009 October 7, 2009 KUNOICHI 2009
KUNOICHI 2017 (Winter) February 12, 2017 KUNOICHI 2017
KUNOICHI 2017 Summer July 2, 2017 KUNOICHI 2017 Summer
KUNOICHI 2018 July 1, 2018 KUNOICHI 2018


The 1999 and 2000 Banzuke Events had no set amount of challengers. Once the first KUNOICHI tournament was held, there were 70 challengers (90 runs total). Following that, each competition included 100 challengers (50 challengers since KUNOICHI 9), who unlike SASUKE and VIKING, are all exclusively female. Regardless of competition remake, the goal is the same: complete an obstacle course of increasing difficulty. The competitions remain in the same format as SASUKE and originally took place in the Kinniku Banzuke studio.

Following the first reboot, the location then moved to where SASUKE films on the same site at Midoriyama. but since KUNOICHI 9, it has now been held at Makuhari Messe Convention Hall. The competition typically starts in the morning and ends well into the night.

1st STAGE[]

It was originally the only stage in the 1999 and 2000 tournaments. While focusing on speed, technique, and balance, the goal was to finish the stage all the while completing various housework themed tasks along the way.

After the first reboot, the first stage continued to be designed to test one's speed, technique and balance. It usually consisted of six to nine obstacles, which must be completed within a 80 to 140 second time limit. It has changed the most of all four stages over years.

A major change in the First Stage occurred in KUNOICHI 8 when it was redesigned so that four women ran at the same time. The first two to clear under the time limit advanced to the Second Stage; if none of the four cleared in under two minutes, the entire group would face the Repechage, guaranteeing that one competitor to advance.

Due to the course reboot in KUNOICHI 9 after an 8 years hiatus, the original format of the stage returned but is now called as the RED Stage. Almost all of the obstacles are integrated from famous obstacles from SASUKE such as the Rolling Hill and the Soritatsu Kabe.

2nd STAGE[]

The Second Stage was first introduced in the reboot 2001 tournament, it was designed to be more difficult than the first, but it contained roughly the same skill sets.

Competitors had varying success on this stage, and on average, around half are expected to clear. For KUNOICHI 1 and 2, it had four obstacles; during KUNOICHI 2, the final two obstacles were untimed. It has run under a time trial system twice; KUNOICHI 6, where only the top six times advanced, and KUNOICHI 8, where only the top ten times advanced, though it should be noted that the number of clears were lower than the maximum number allowed in that tournament.

In KUNOICHI 9, the format was changed, the name of the stage became the BLUE Stage and originally had no time limit for all of the obstacles and no limit of finishers needed to advance.

Due to the addition of the BLACK Stage, the four-stage course returned on KUNOICHI 10, and did contain a time limit on the BLUE Stage.

3rd STAGE[]

The Third Stage made its first appearance in KUNOICHI 3 and was completely focused on balance (nicknamed Balance Hell). For KUNOICHI 2003 and 2004, all obstacles needed to be completed within a 90 second time limit. In KUNOICHI 5, only the final obstacle had a time limit, and for KUNOICHI 6 and KUNOICHI 7, the time limit was eliminated altogether.

The Third Stage was scrapped in KUNOICHI 8 in favor of the Flying Roll, an elimination stage where the field was cut to three competitors.

But the KUNOICHI 7 format eventually reverted to a traditional Third Stage back in KUNOICHI 10, which is now called as the BLACK Stage, now no longer focusing on just balance.


The Final Stage in KUNOICHI has had 10 different versions.

  • The first design was unattempted and used in KUNOICHI 1, but seen and presumed to be a tightrope or slackline to walk on.
  • The second design was used in KUNOICHI 2. Known as the Tenkudou, it consisted of walking across a shaky, thin, metal beam that had cylinder and triangular sections across, making balancing harder. This version seemed impossible given the circumstances of a blizzard and freezing rain occurring at this time in the tournament.
  • The third version appeared in KUNOICHI 3 and KUNOICHI 4. This version was infamous for being the first time that a tower was used for the Final Stage. This version consisted of two sides of even ladder rungs one must climb up, then climbing up a pole. This version featured a Kanzenseiha during the 2004 tournament when Miyake Ayako completed it.
  • The fourth version appearing in the KUNOICHI 5 tournament was very similar to the previous version. However, this time the ladders now were in alternating sections and the competitor had to switch from side to side while going up. It was conquered again by Miyake Ayako.
  • The fifth version of the final made its appearance in KUNOICHI 6. This time, the first section of the final consisted of climbing up small alternating bricks, similar to SASUKE's Brick Climb. The Skyway Pole returned again. The final stage was once again completed by Miyake Ayako, marking her third straight victory.
  • The sixth version was used in KUNOICHI 7. However, due to no one reaching the final stage, it was unattempted. It was known this final consisted of climbing up a net-wire/rope base, then transitioning to a rope climb to reach the summit.
  • The seventh version of the final appeared in KUNOICHI 8. There were 2 versions of this final stage, it originally consisted of a different sections of climbing bricks and rock wall. Midway through the tournament, the bottom base of the tower was scrapped in place for a metal pole ladder. This version had a kanzenseiha achieved by Kadoi Satomi and Komiya Rie. In addition, Arimatsu Tomomi completed this tower, but was disqualified for grabbing hold of the side of the climbing board.
  • The eighth version of the tower appeared in KUNOICHI 9. It consisted of the same alternating ladders used in KUNOICHI 5, now with a rope climb after that.
  • The ninth version was seen in KUNOICHI 10. This version replaced the ladders with now an 8 meter Spider Climb.
  • The tenth and most recent version was used in KUNOICHI 11. It is the same as the previous version, but now with a slightly taller Spider Climb, and reduced height of the rope.


One element that has been part of the show for many years has been a trials system. Similar to SASUKE, they are a series of preliminary events designed to test and prep people for the competition. Usually, the top 1 to 8 people in any trial is given a ticket to compete. The first known time that trials were used was in KUNOICHI 2001, and have lasted all the way until KUNOICHI 2018.

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