Nagano Makoto (長野 誠) is a fisherman and a former SASUKE competitor from Miyazaki Prefecture in Japan. He is also the captain of his boat, the "50th Konpira Maru", is a SASUKE All-Star and one of only 4 competitors to have completed the course, doing so in SASUKE 17. He was widely regarded as one of the most likely competitors to repeat this feat. His height and weight are recorded at 162 cm and 64 kg respectively.
He holds the record for most Final Stage appearances (five), and has achieved fastest times in the First and Second Stages on numerous occasions. He also is the only competitor who attempted both the second and third versions of the Final Stage.
Nagano is known for his consistency in the competition. He reached the Final Stage three times in a row (the 11th, 12th, and 13th competitions), but failed each time. Of the three, the closest he came to winning the competition was in the Fall 2003 competition (SASUKE 12), missing the button by 0.11 (1/9) seconds.
In his 26 appearances, he has cleared the First Stage fourteen times, the Second Stage eleven times, the Third Stage five times, and the Final Stage once. He has worn #100 in 15 competitions, as well as #99 in 4 competitions.
Nagano decided to compete in SASUKE after his friend's encouragement, when he showed him videos of previous competitions. Prior to the competition, he trained relentlessly for three months. He debuted in SASUKE 7 and while his run was all cut, it is known that he timed out on the Soritatsu Kabe. He returned in SASUKE 8 wearing #41. The course was drenched in rain, and he once again timed out on the Soritatsu Kabe like many others. Before the 9th competition, he built a replica of the obstacle at his home to train on, and the results showed, as he cleared it in one attempt and completed the First Stage with 22.82 seconds to spare. He then managed to advance to the Pipe Slider in Third Stage, missing out on the Final Stage only by inches as his jump towards the goal platform fell short. After this impressive run, Nagano was officially inducted as an All-Star.
As An All-Star
Expectations were high for the 10th Anniversary competition, but surprisingly he fell on the Jump Hang in the First Stage. He was to make up for this disappointing showing, however, by advancing to the Final Stage in the very next tournament. He was the first to beat the redesigned Third Stage. Having taken too much time transitioning from the Spider Climb to the Tsuna Nobori, he was unable to scale the tower in time.
In the 12th competition, he again advanced to the Final Stage, achieving fastest times in the First and Second Stages on the way. Though he climbed at a faster pace than the previous attempt, he slipped on the Spider Climb, missed the button with 0.3 seconds left and timed out inches (0.11 seconds) from the buzzer. On top of the tower, he refused to look down at the view, saying that he would do so only when he achieved Kanzenseiha.
In the 13th competition, despite a renewal in the First Stage, Nagano cleared with 29 seconds remaining, more than double the time of the second best clear. After completing the Second Stage, once more with the fastest time, he alone beat the Third Stage to advance yet again to the Final Stage, only to meet another time-out centimeters from the buzzer.
Naturally disappointed with this result, he returned with a vengeance in the 14th competition, completing the First Stage with an amazing 30 seconds left to spare only behind Takeda Toshihiro (32.44 seconds left). However, three new obstacles were introduced in the Third Stage in this tournament, and Nagano was to fall during his attempt on the Jumping Bars. In the 15th tournament, he became the only competitor to fail the Second Stage in that tournament and fell at the Metal Spin, an obstacle he had passed the previous tournament. This was his first Second Stage defeat.
Perhaps the strangest failure that Nagano suffered was in the 16th competition. Nagano once again had made his way towards the end of the 3rd Stage, defeating the now slightly easier Jumping Bars. Nagano took his time and rested on the green pipe directly before the Devil Balanço obstacle that leads to the Pipe Slider. Instead of trying to generate momentum from an idle position on the trapeze-like Devil Balanço, Nagano instead used Shiratori Bunpei's tactics and grasped the Devil Balanço with one arm, and held onto the green pipe with the other. He then swung back and forth, eliminating most of the effort needed to get to the Pipe Slider. However, one of the chains on the Devil's Swing got caught on the green pipe. Nagano eventually got himself free, and even got a hold on the Pipe Slider with one hand, but he couldn't hold on. When he let go, the orange pipe slid a short ways down the track. With no choice but to generate as much momentum as he could, Nagano fell short of the pipe.
In SASUKE 17, Nagano wore #99, behind Yamada Katsumi who vowed to retire after the tournament. Nagano cleared the First Stage effortlessly, pounding his chest atop the Rope Climb and pressing the button with 12.4 seconds left. He proceeded to shout words of encouragement for Yamada, who would time out atop the Soritatsu Kabe. Nagano flew through the Second and granted his revenge on the Third Stage to reach the Final Stage, joining Nagasaki Shunsuke. After Nagasaki timed out, it was Nagano's turn. Determined to redeem himself from the close failures in the 12th and 13th tournaments, Nagano reached the rope with almost 20 seconds on the clock and finished the Final Stage with 2.56 seconds left. This earned him the title of Grand Champion, joining fellow All-Star Akiyama Kazuhiko as the only two to do so.
His accomplishment paved the way for the completely redone SASUKE course, which was unveiled at the 18th competition. During this competition, Nagano made it all the way to the Third Stage, but was disqualified when he attempted the new Cliff Hanger. The fourth rendition of the Cliff Hanger, which was rebranded as "Shin-Cliff Hanger," has the second ledge inclined upwards and shortened, making the gap between the second and third ledges a jumping distance, rather than an arm's reach. While Nagano cleared the jump, his hand grabbed the frame of the Cliff Hanger, thereby going off the course and he was disqualified. He stopped after he got off the Cliff Hanger and announced his mistake himself.
The 19th competition was the scene of possibly his most shocking defeat to date. He showed some impressive speed on the first few obstacles until he reached one of the newest obstacles, the Flying Chute, which he cleared easily in the 18th competition. Nagano mistimed the obstacle and just grazed the rope with his hands (a similar mistake made by Nagasaki Takamasa), instead of grabbing the rope from under his arms, which is the technique needed to successfully clear the obstacle. He then lost his grip and forcefully fell backwards into the water, shocking the entire audience and the announcers, as well as his fellow All-Stars. It was his first defeat by the First Stage since 2002. In the next tournaments, he would lose some of his famed consistency, falling to the Second Stage's Downhill Jump in the 20th competition (he had spent two weeks in the hospital just prior to this tournament), and again the First Stage's Slider Jump in the 22nd competition, but his potential is still as high as ever, as shown by his performance in the 21st competition where he failed at the end of the Third Stage, mainly due to an error in design of the Gliding Ring, the last obstacle, that made it similar to the Pipe Slider, requiring competitors to force the ring down the track instead of easily gliding down.
ControversyIn SASUKE 23, Nagano showed great speed in the First Stage until the Slider Jump, where he failed for the second consecutive time. However, the wire holding the pipe got caught on the framework of the obstacle and did not allow the pipe to reach the end of the track (see Nagano Makoto's Slider Jump Attempt). Nagano disputed and eventually won. After approximately 43 minutes of repairs, Nagano was given a second attempt and finished the stage. Also it had been announced that Nagano was given the nickname, Mr. SASUKE. Nagano then went on to clear the Second Stage and was able to get revenge on the Gliding Ring that took him out in SASUKE 21, reaching the Final Stage for the first time since his victory in SASUKE 17. This marked his record fifth Final Stage appearance. Nagano cleared the Heavenly Ladder with 23 seconds remaining, but lost time climbing the G-Rope and was just short of the button as time expired, afterward saying, "Here I am again". Due to his near miss in the previous tournament many people expected him to clear all four stages in the 24th tournament. He cleared the first three obstacles with ease, but at the end of the Spider Walk section of the Jumping Spider he was too low and slipped into the mud pit below. It was the earliest he had ever failed (along with his Jump Hang failure in SASUKE 10). In the interview after his run, he said he wanted to clear the first half of the stage quickly so he could have a lot of time for the end of the stage which made strong competitors such as Yamamoto Shingo and Kanno Hitoshi time out.
In SASUKE 25 Nagano was given #99 and was the lone representative of Miyazaki Prefecture. During the tournament he started shaky. On the Dome Steps he slipped on the last step and was barely able to make it to the mat and on the Bridge Jump he nearly slipped off the rope. He seemed to recover and he made it to the Circle Slider, but he failed to hit the springboard cleanly and he failed to even touch the ring. This was the first time since becoming an All-Star that he suffered consecutive First Stage defeats.
In SASUKE 26 he was given #99. He started out with a good speed, performing much better than in the previous tournament, he made it past the Step Slider perfectly and even cleared the Hazard Swing without the aid of the ending bar and had no trouble with the Rolling Escargot. However, due to the modification in the Jumping Spider gap, he did not jump far enough into the main obstacle and failed there.
He returned in SASUKE 27 and received #100 once again. He made it past Stage 1 for the first time since SASUKE 23 and became the only All-Star to clear the First Stage in that tournament. Nagano despite being unfamiliar to several obstacles in that stage beat the Second Stage as well. In the Third Stage he beat the Arm Bike and Flying Bar, but he slipped up on the Ultimate Cliffhanger's fifth ledge. This would be the last time that Nagano would make it to the Third Stage.
In SASUKE RISING, as an All-Star retirement special, all five of the competing All-Stars wore the final five numbers; Nagano was given his traditional #100. He was off to a good start until the Ni Ren Soritatsu Kabe. He cleared the first wall with ease but timed out on the second. Eventually, he gave up after the buzzer sounded, throwing his arm pad to the ground. Standing there in defeat he tried once more to reach the top of the 2nd but he failed. In despair, after a while he ran again into the wall and cleared it with ease. In his post run speech Nagano stated that he did badly and that he would like to compete again.
Following the official retirement of the All-Stars, there was speculation and rumor suggesting that the All-Stars themselves would no longer be permitted to compete ever again. This proved to be false as Nagano, Takeda, and Yamamoto were once again invited to compete in SASUKE 29. SASUKE 29 proved to be one of his most emotional tournaments. At the Long Jump, he overshot the distance of the obstacle and severely injured his hamstring because of the extreme momentum he took to clear the obstacle. Therefore, his balance and speed were affected but he pushed through, clearing the Log Grip and Hedgehog with ease. But on the Jump Hang Kai he couldn't take the amount of momentum he needed to clear the obstacle and he almost fell when he jumped off the trampoline. He had 40 seconds left when he reached the Ni Ren Soritatsu Kabe. After clearing the first wall with ease, he paused to rest, but that wasn't enough to pass the 2nd Wall, because the injury was too serious to keep him going. He timed out there in pain. In SASUKE 30, he wore #2999 (Equal to #99). He completed the Ni Ren Soritatsu Kabe for the first time and complete the First Stage for the first time since SASUKE 27. He was later disqualified on the Swap Salmon Ladder in the Second Stage when he landed the bar slanted, which is not allowed. This was his first Second Stage fail since SASUKE 20 when he fell on the Downhill Jump.
In SASUKE 31, Nagano watched fellow All-Stars Yamamoto and Takeda failed the Rolling Hill, and took his time on the course. But in a similar fashion to SASUKE 28, his hopes of clearing the First Stage were taken away by the Soritatsu Kabe. During an interview at SASUKE 31 Nagano admitted he does not enjoy competing anymore at SASUKE, and to make things even more shocking he says "This may be the last time you'll ever see me". After the interview, director Inui Masato and the production staff had a long talk with Nagano to persuade him to compete for one last time at SASUKE 32. Nagano said he'll think about it and eventually announced he'll be competing for the final time wearing number 100 in the competition.
In SASUKE 32, Nagano ultimately delivered a strong run, until he stumbled once at the Soritatsu Kabe. After clearing it on his second try, Nagano was running low on time. He reached the top of the Lumberjack Climb with one second left, but could not reach the buzzer in time, ending his SASUKE career on a bittersweet note. Had Nagano cleared the First Stage, he would've tied the record for oldest person to have cleared the First Stage at age 44. Post-run ceremonies were held in his honor and he was subsequently thrown into the water, a similar gesture to his Kanzenseiha in SASUKE 17.
He returned in later tournaments, starting in SASUKE 33 as an analyst. He also cheered for fellow former SASUKE All-Stars Takeda Toshihiro and Yamamoto Shingo, with the former also being cheered by fellow competitor Asa Kazuma.
Nagano competed on the second and third Viking: The Ultimate Obstacle Course Challenge tournaments, bringing several All-Stars with him. In the second tournament, he was one of 10 to clear the First Marine Stage and one of the two that clear the Second Adventure Stage. In the Third Fantasy Stage, he finished the Ultimate Plank and the Bio Clock to earn him a spot in Final Viking (Viking's final stage), becoming the only person to do so. He had just a 10 meter rope climb left with 50 seconds on the clock but ran out of energy and could not clear in time. In the following tournament (which was Viking's final regular tournament), he failed the Parley in the First Marine Stage.
On January 7, 2010, Nagano made his Sportsman debut by participating in the 2010 Monster Box competition. He was joined by SASUKE All-Stars Takeda Toshihiro and Yamamoto Shingo. He cleared up to the 14th level of the monster box, failing on the 15th level at 2 meters, 26 centimeters.
- Nagano is one of only four competitors to progress the furthest of any competitor two tournaments in a row, the others being Drew Drechsel, Lee En-Chih and Yuuji Urushihara.
- Excluding his Jumping Spider failure in SASUKE 24, his Soritatsu Kabe time out in SASUKE 31, and his Final Stage appearances, all obstacles Nagano has failed were new or modified in Nagano's first or second try. It should be noted that the Jump Hang was slightly modified for SASUKE 10, and that the same went for the Jumping Spider in SASUKE 26.
- He and Yamada Katsumi are the only All-Stars to never fail the Body Prop.
- Nagano has trained three people for KUNOICHI, the all-female spinoff of SASUKE.
- Nagano has the SASUKE record for most times being the last man standing, doing so seven times. He also holds the record for most times wearing #100 at 15 in 3 streaks of 5, 6, and 3 (SASUKE 12-16, 19-24, 27-29, and 32 respectively)
- In September 2008, Nagano made his first United States appearance at the Chibi-Pa Festival in West Palm Beach, Florida.
- On June 3, 2009, Nagano's first child, Nagano Kaiou, was born.
- Also, on June 16, 2013, Nagano's second child, Nagano Taiou, was born.
- Nagano was the first to pass the Rumbling Dice, Lamp Grasper, Cliffhanger (9-17 version/Altered Cliffhanger), Salmon Ladder, Stick Slider, Net Bridge, Curtain Swing, Hang Climbing, and Spider Flip.
- Despite reaching the Altered Cliffhanger 7 times, (SASUKE 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, and 17) Nagano has never failed the obstacle.
- Nagano Makoto, Omori Akira, Yamamoto Shingo, Urushihara Yuuji, and Matachi Ryo are the only five to reach the Final Stage more than once. Matachi, Urushihara, Yamamoto and Nagano being the only ones to attempt more than one version.
- He is considered to be the "Best Ninja Warrior Ever" in the United States. He was declared the #1 "Reason to Worship Ninja Warrior" in a G4 special before SASUKE 25.
- He slipped on the Slider Jump in SASUKE 23, but was able to re-run the course due to a technical glitch which made the bar unable to slide to the end of the track.
- Nagano released his first album in 2011.
- Nagano is the only All-Star to fail the first stage on his first two attempts and the only one to clear the Second Stage on his first Second Stage attempt. He is also only All-star to have his first attempt completely cut.
- Since he is an All-Star, he has usually worn #100 or #99. In SASUKE 11 and 18, he wore #96, and in SASUKE 31, he worn #98.
- He is the only All-Star to attempt the Ultimate Cliffhanger.
- He is the only All-Star to attempt the Flying Bar.
- He is one of the 4 All Stars to have only failed the Second Stage 3 times.
- Nagano is the oldest competitor to achieve Kanzenseiha (age 34) in SASUKE 17. This marked his fourth Final Stage appearance. This record would later be broken by Geoff Britten in American Ninja Warrior 7, at age 36.
- He and Shiratori Bunpei are the only All-star to never attempt the Propeller Untei.
- He is the only All-Star to attempt the Gliding Ring.
- He and Takeda Toshihiro are the only All-Stars to ever attempt the Spider Flip.
- He and Yamada Katsumi are the only All-Stars to never fail the Spin Bridge.
- Nagano, Akiyama and Yamada are the only All-Stars to never fail the Rolling Escargot.
- Nagano Makoto, Takeda Toshihiro and Shiratori Bunpei are the only All-Stars to clear the First Stage and attempt the Second Stage in their 40s, Nagano at SASUKE 30 (42 years old), Takeda at SASUKE 34 (42 years old) and Shiratori at SASUKE 21 (41 years old)
- Nagano cleared the TIE Fighter and Double Pendulum on his first attempt, which snagged many stronger and younger competitors like Asa Kazuma, Takahashi Kenji, Yamamoto Shingo, Hioki Masashi, and Urushihara Yuuji.
|7||87||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out. All Cut. Clip was show during Sasuke 12 Pre-Show.|
|8||41||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|9||61||Failed Pipe Slider (Third Stage)||Failed Jump.|
|10||999||Failed Jump Hang (First Stage)|
|11||96||Failed Tsuna Nobori (Final Stage)||Time Out. 20 meters up. Last man standing.|
|12||100||Failed Tsuna Nobori (Final Stage)||Time Out (by 0.11 [1/9] seconds). Last man standing.|
|13||100||Failed Tsuna Nobori (Final Stage)||Time Out. 10cm from the goal. Last man standing.|
|14||100||Failed Jumping Bars (Third Stage)||Third bar.|
|15||100||Failed Metal Spin (Second Stage)|
|16||100||Failed Devil Balanço (Third Stage)||Knocked the Pipe Slider bar away and out of reach.|
|17||99||Kanzenseiha||Last man standing. Finished with 2.56 seconds left.|
|18||96||Disqualified, Shin-Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||See Nagano Makoto's Disqualification|
|19||100||Failed Flying Chute (First Stage)|
|20||2000||Failed Downhill Jump (Second Stage)||Lost Balance|
|21||100||Failed Gliding Ring (Third Stage)||Last man standing. A flaw in the design caused him to have to force the ring down the track.|
|22||100||Failed Slider Jump (First Stage)|
|23||100||Failed G-Rope (Final Stage)||Time Out. Reached the top, 0.21 seconds late. Last man standing.|
|24||100||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)||Made it to the end of the obstacle but slipped and fell into the water.|
|25||99||Failed Circle Slider (First Stage)||Jumped too low and couldn't even grab the ring.|
|26||99||Failed Jumping Spider (First Stage)|
|27||100||Failed Ultimate Cliffhanger (Third Stage)||Transition from the 4th to 5th ledge.|
|28||100||Failed Ni Ren Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||
Time Out. Second Wall.
|29||100||Failed Ni Ren Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out. Second Wall. Injured right hamstring on Long Jump.|
|30||2999||Failed Swap Salmon Ladder (Second Stage)||Disqualified. At the 4th rung the bar went off to a lower level.|
|31||98||Failed Soritatsu Kabe (First Stage)||Time Out.|
|32||100||Failed Lumberjack Climb (First Stage)||Time Out. Was on top as time expired.|
|2||90||Failed Vertical Rope (Final Viking)||Time Out. About 50cm from goal.|
|3||99||Failed Parley (First Marine Stage)|
|2010||N/A||Failed 15th level (2m, 26cm)||50 competitor Monster Box competition.|