Monster9 was a sports entertainment production company, with productions by Ushio Higuchi. Monster9 produced shows such as Takeshi's Castle, Kinniku Banzuke, SASUKE, KUNOICHI, Pro Sportsman No. 1, VIKING and DOORS. Monster9 filed for bankruptcy on November 9, 2011.
Takeshi's Castle (風雲！たけし城 Fūun! Takeshi-jō, literally Turbulence! Takeshi Castle) was a Japanese game show that aired from 1986 to 1989 on the Tokyo Broadcasting System. It featured the Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano (also known as Beat Takeshi) as a count who owns a castle and sets up impossible challenges for players (or a volunteer army) to get to him. The show has become a cult television hit around the world. A special live "revival" was broadcast on April 2, 2005, for TBS's 50th anniversary celebrations.
Kinniku Banzuke (筋肉番付, lit. Muscle Ranking) (a.k.a. Unbeatable Banzuke) was a weekly-airing Japanese television program and the premier sports entertainment variety show of the Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS). It ran from 1995 to 2002, when it was cancelled due to competitor injuries. Its successors are Taiiku Oukoku (体育王国, Physical Education Kingdom) and Ougon Kinniku (黄金筋肉, Golden Muscle).
SASUKE is a sports variety special spun off from Kinniku Banzuke; it was part of Kinniku Banzuke until its cancellation in 2002. SASUKE airs between Japanese television drama seasons, approximately two competitions per year. Edited versions of SASUKE air around the world in countries such as Taiwan, the United States (where it is titled Ninja Warrior), Great Britain (also titled Ninja Warrior), France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Serbia. After Monster9's bankruptcy, the rights were inherited by TBS, which created SASUKE Rising a year later.
KUNOICHI was a sports variety special spin off from SASUKE, but in KUNOICHI, all competitors are female. KUNOICHI aired once a year, usually in-between SASUKE or at the end of the year. It aired eight competitions before being cancelled in 2009. Edited versions of KUNOICHI air around the world in countries such as Taiwan, the United States (where it is titled Women of Ninja Warrior), Great Britain (also titled Women of Ninja Warrior), France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Serbia.