Yamada Kōji (山田 康司) is a former SASUKE competitor and a firefighter from Gifu (same prefecture as Takeda Toshihiro). Both competed in their orange firefighter pants, although unlike Takeda, Yamada competed shirtless; he claims to have 3% body fat. He also holds the second-highest start position jump in SASUKE's history, going from #1 to #88.
Yamada competed in the SASUKE 11 Monkey Bar Trials but failed the final stretch of Monkey Bars.
In his first tournament in SASUKE 12, Yamada became only the second competitor wearing #1 to pass the First Stage (Atarashii Ichirō was the first, SASUKE 4) and Kanno Hitoshi being the third competitor wearing #1 to advance to the Second Stage. However, he was the first one to do that in his debut. He is the only person to wear #1 and clear the Second Stage with 1.9 seconds remaining. Ultimately, he failed the Cliffhanger when he could not reach the second ledge.
After two failed attempts at the First Stage, he made it past the First Stage in SASUKE 15. He was able to battle all the way to the Third Stage that day. Ultimately, he beat the Cliffhanger that eliminated him in his rookie effort but failed the Jumping Bars.
In SASUKE 16, he was once again able to battle all the way to the Third Stage. There, he beat the Jumping Bars that eliminated him in SASUKE 15 and was the first to beat the Devil Balanço. However, on the Pipe Slider, he had no more strength left and couldn't move the pipe. Thus, his grip gave way and he fell without moving the Pipe Slider. In the 17th Competition, he failed the Second Stage obstacle, the Metal Spin, an obstacle he had beaten in the previous two tournaments.
He returned in SASUKE 19 after missing SASUKE 18. He wore #79 and showed great speed through all the obstacles, despite it being the first time he saw any of them. While he had trouble on the Flying Chute, he was able to recover and clear with 4.08 seconds left on the clock. Ultimately, he was one of only two competitors to pass the First Stage. In the Second Stage, he ran into problems with the Salmon Ladder. He was able to muscle his way up the first few levels, but when he tried to reach the sixth level, the bar missed the rung on the right and fell to the fourth level. While he was able to balance out the bar, he had little strength left and couldn't make it to the seventh level. He ultimately ran out of time, the only person to time out on that particular obstacle.
Kōji → Yasushi
Ninja Warrior refers to him as Yasushi Yamada. No reason has been given, although some speculate that it is to avoid confusion with Yamada Katsumi. Or perhaps because the kanji (康司) has 4 possible pronunciations, is commonly pronounced Yasushi. However, following a commercial break in a SASUKE 12 episode, American announcer Dave Wittenberg uses his correct name, Kōji.
|12||1||Failed Cliff Hanger (Third Stage)|
|13||88||Failed Jump Hang (First Stage)|
|14||57||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|15||70||Failed Jumping Bars (Third Stage)||Sixth Bar.|
|16||91||Failed Pipe Slider (Third Stage)||After struggling on the Devil Balanço, he reached the Pipe Slider but fell before he could begin moving the pipe.|
|17||95||Failed Metal Spin (Second Stage)||Bad run-up and jump causing failure.|
|19||79||Failed Salmon Ladder (Second Stage)||Time Out. Sixth Level.|