YAMADA Katsumi (山田 勝己)
|| Mister Sasuke
||October 22nd, 1965
||Harima, Hyogo, Japan
||Sasuke/Ninja Warrior #01
Yamada Katsumi - 43 years old from Harima, Hyogo Prefecture, he is known as "Mr. Sasuke". Due to Yamada's success in the earlier competitions, he was once thought to be the most likely to complete the entire course. Yamada, whose profession used to be that of a propane tank delivery driver, debuted in the 1st Competition and failed the Hammer Dodge in the 2ND Stage. The only time he reached the FINAL Stage was in the 3rd Competition, when he timed out just a few inches from the buzzer. In the 6th and 10th competitions Yamada reached the end of the Pipe Slider only to fail the jump to the final mat. He is particularly notable for his unusual devotion to the Sasuke competition; many times he has sworn to retire from the competition only to resurface again, at one point alienating his family in the process. Despite his frequent claims that he will never compete again, Yamada has only missed the 13th Competition. After failing on the Pipe Slider in the 10th Competition, he never returned to the 3RD Stage.
Since being disqualified in the 12th Competition on the 2ND Stage (for finishing the 2ND Stage wearing gloves that contestants start with, for safety reasons on the Chain Reaction, but are required to remove before the third obstacle, the Spider Walk), he has never completed the FINAL Stage. Since the factory where he once worked has closed down, he never acquired another full-time job, and spends the rest of his time training. There is a rumor that Yamada is training his son to compete in upcoming tournaments. As of 2008, Yamada has completed the 1ST Stage 10 times, the 2ND Stage 4 times (5 if he removed his gloves), and the 3RD Stage once.
Sasuke #17 - 1ST Stage - Sandan Rolling Maruta (Rolling Log)
Sasuke #17 - 1ST Stage - Cross Bridge
Sasuke #17 - 1ST Stage - Jump Hang
YAMADA Katsumi (山田 勝己) (aka Mister Sasuke) the leader of the All Stars is an interesting individual. His determination to compete in Sasuke is well known, since it inspired people like NAGANO Makoto to start competing as well. His unwillingness to quit in the face of ever worsening performances might be commendable. However one wonders whether YAMADA may have developed a bit of a co-dependent relationship with Sasuke (needing the fans and the spot light) especially after NAGANO's kanzenseiha in SASUKE/Ninja Warrior #17. Since then Katsumi's performance has really gone down hill and you can see a certain sense of disdain in his face when some competitors succeed (while the rest of the All Stars cheer them on).
There is in Japanese culture a well known relationship between a Sempai (Senior) and a Kohai (Junior) where the kohai is in a sense "in debt" to the Sempai. Since the Sempai came first they have the "primacy". So in Japanese culture it is very rare to see a kohai call a sempai out but in this Sasuke Memorable Moment from SASUKE/Ninja Warrior #21 you'll see NAGANO Makoto (長野 誠) doing just that.
YAMADA has just landed on the mat at the end of the Jumping Spider - ジャンピングスパイダー and it looks (to some anyways) like he fakes a leg injury. At the sight of this NAGANO screams out "Iji mise te! (維持見せて)" which translates to "Show us your guts!". You can see the disgust in NAGANO's face and he then pleads with YAMADA not to "throw in the towel" but to show us what competing in Sasuke is all about. It's telling that two Sasuke's later (SASKUE/Ninja Warrior #23) the announcer is calling NAGANO "Mister Sasuke".
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