Takeshi's Castle

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The 'cast' of Takeshi's Castle

Template:Nihongo was a Japanese game show that aired from 1986 to 1989 on the Tokyo Broadcasting System. It featured the esteemed Japanese actor Takeshi Kitano (also known as Beat Kitano) 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.


Original Takeshi's Castle

The original show involved 142 contestants whom General Tani (Hayato Tani) "forced" into a series of silly physical challenges, eliminating many of the contestants. Each show finished with a "Final Showdown" in which Count Takeshi (Kitano) was faced by the remaining contestants. If the contestants hit the paper ring on Takeshi's cart with their water guns and break it (in later episodes replaced with lasers and a light-sensitive target), Takeshi's cart was deactivated, the castle was "taken" and the game "won". The player who stopped Takeshi won one million yen.

Takeshi originally wanted the show to be a 'live-action Super Mario game'. Early in the series the games and production values were low budget, but later series featured extensive landscaping of a fixed campus that included large man-made lakes and extensive permanent obstacles in Yokohama, Japan at a TBS-owned property. Takeshi decided the show should end while still at the height of popularity, which in Japanese television is common.


Further information: Takeshi's Castle Challenges


  • Count "Beat" Takeshi (ビートたけし; Kitano) — The lord of the castle and eventual target of the competition. He also made commentary on the contestants. Known as Vic Romano on the American version, MXC. See below for all references to that program.
  • Takeshi Doll — When Takeshi was unable to attend tapings because of real-life time served in jail in the mid-1980s (and later under house arrest), one of the Emerald Guards filled in by wearing his robe and a giant papier-mâché Takeshi head similar to the ones sports team mascots use over their heads. Known as Mini-takeshi in Spain. On MXC he was the uncool, not-so-hip Vic Romano and Zeppo the Waterhead.
  • Saburo Ishikura (石倉三郎) — First advisor (or councillor) of Takeshi. Discussed the competition with Takeshi and provided comedy skits as well. He was shown on MXC as a teacher showing Vic (Takeshi) how to be a lumberjack. Known as 'el primo Mario' (Mario, Takeshi's cousin) in Spain.
  • Sonomanma Higashi (real name Hideo Higashikokubaru) — Originally leader of the Emerald Guards, he replaced Ishikura as Takeshi’s advisor in the middle of the series run. Known as Kenny Blankenship on MXC. Known as Junior in Spain.
  • Takeshi's Gundan (Defence Troops) (たけし軍団) — The Count's guards who wore white or emerald green, seen in "Final Showdown" and other challenges, and are more popularly known as "The Emerald Guards". When Higashi became Takeshi's new advisor, Omori Utaeman took over as the leader. Other members included Matsuo Bannai, Tsunami Edamame, Yurei Yanagi (known as Joker in the UK version), Rakkyo Ide, Great Gidayu (known as Purple Ronnie or Putrid Porker in the UK version), Danken, Third Nagasima, "Rusher" Itamae, Taka Gadarukanaru, Hakase Suidobashi, Sintaru Mizushima and "Loyal" Tadajij Kikuchi. Rakkyo Ide was the bald guy in the "Monsters Special" who wore a shark outfit and suffered some serious bleeding when he fell in during Skipping Stones. These troops were also usually seen in the background behind Takeshi and his advisor during the show. In MXC, they are known as teamsters, game testers, Department of Education playground monitors, and flunkies, among others. They are known as Los esbirros de Takeshi (Takeshi's henchmen) in Spain.
  • General Tani (Hayato Tani) (谷隼人) — Led the contestants through the challenges set by Count Takeshi. Known as General Lee in the UK, Captain Tenneal in the US (a play on the 1970s husband/wife soft rock duo Captain and Tennille), and Generale Putzerstofen in the Italian. In the India version, Raju Srivastava in his U.P. accent calls him sometimes Gajodar Pandey. His real-life wife, Kikko Matsuoka, appeared in an episode and slapped him silly for not eating his noodles.
  • Tani's Assistant - On international specials (involving non-Japanese players), General Tani was assisted by a lady who served as Tani's translator whose name is unknown. On the UK version, she is referred to as Corporal "Psycho" Kirsty. On MXC she was called Pey'oncé (name taken from pop-star, Beyoncé Knowles).
  • Junji Inagawa (also known as Jyunji Inagawa) (稲川淳二), Akira Sakamoto and Shingo Yanagisawa (柳沢慎吾) — Three of the Battlefield Reporters, however there were many more, they usually wore safari zone outfits. Known as Guy LeDouche and his assorted cousins on MXC and as Pepe Livingstone in the new Spanish version. (Note: Whilst they were seen in the UK version of the series, they were not actually acknowledged, except once when Craig commented on the size of the reporter's microphone by telling him to "Put the toffee-apple away and help him!")
  • Kibaji Tankobo (丹古母鬼馬二) and Shozo "Strong" Kobayashi (ストロング金剛) — A pair of guards who would probably scare you off just by looking at them, which they normally did to contestants in the Honey Comb Maze and other games. Kibaji usually wore a long red wig, while Strong was bald, and they painted their faces to further intimidate contestants. Tankobo and Kobayashi were considered to be two of the finest henchmen Takeshi had. They're known as Paco Peluca/Franky Wig/Kibaji and Juanito Calvicie/Johnny Baldness/Strong in the Spanish version.
  • Brad Lesley, aka "Animal" (亜仁丸レスリー) — Famous Japanese/American baseball player. His main job was to humiliate and frighten the contestants in any possible way, usually dressed as a samurai complete with a sword. Animal has also been seen in a green sumo suit, spider costume, Fred Flintstone–style outfit, a baseball uniform and a Las Vegas–era Elvis Presley jumpsuit costume. In MXC during the Circle Jerkers game he is known as the Green Tea Bagger, because he picks up contestants, flips them over his back and sits on their heads. He's been known as El malvado occidental or "The Evil Westerner" in the old Spanish version; in the current one, he's known as Animal too. In the German version, his name is misromanized as "Animal Resry".
  • Michiru Jo (城みちる) — One of the few guards to have been involved from the very first episode and be involved until the show finished, he normally wore a distinctive pink outfit. Jo was a famous Japanese pop singer in the 1970s. Known as Danny Glands (a play on words of long-time Las Vegas entertainer Danny Gans), Jimmy Junk, Golden Shower Boy or Barry Sosa (a play on baseball players Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa) on MXC, and as Pinky Winky (a pun in his pink coloured clothes, and Tinky Winky the Teletubbie) in the newest Spanish version.
  • Yoroi/Ritter Chuu — He stood almost sixteen feet tall and tried to keep players from reaching the goals in several games. Known as the Boxing Beast in the UK version. On MXC, his name is Skanky. Known as El Pequeño Samurai (The Little Samurai) in Spain.
  • Makoto Dainenji (大念寺誠) and Katsuo Tokashiki (渡嘉敷勝男) — Makoto, a karate master, and Katsuo, a boxing champion in Japan, were the Final Fall guards. They were called The Pink Panzers in the UK version of the show. Katsuo also served as the referee in the Sumo Rings game. In MXC they have only been seen in small sketches, once as the New Jersian Kenny and Vic. A Dainenji head costume appeared in one episode during the Sumo game; on an episode of MXC it was called "The Engorged Head".
  • Masanori Okada (岡田正典) — Usually seen in the game “Slip Way”, he would jump out of the water to push the contestants into the drink if they failed to reach the target. Okada has also played in the Honey Comb Maze and other games as well. Also known as the "Sea Goblin" in Japan and was a boxer in the 1970s. On MXC he is known as Mr. G-Spot, Dr. Bill (a spoof on Dr. Phil), Bill Veto (a play on ESPN hockey commentator Bill Pidto), or The Diddler. Known as El Monstruo de la Laguna Sucia (The Monster of the Dirty Lagoon) in Spain.
  • Umanosuke Ueda, (上田馬之助) — This aggressive guard, a former wrestler in real life, has been seen in Honey Comb Maze, Square Maze, Sumo Rings, Grid Iron and Bridge Ball. Known as Blondie in the UK version and El Rubio de bote (Dyed Blonde) in Spain.
  • Yousichi Shimada (島田洋七) — A guard that was usually seen in the games Blueberry Hill in overalls akin to those worn by Dennis the Menace, and in Wipe Out dressed up as a female Native American nicknamed "Pocahontas" who would push people into the water if they missed the surfboard. The latter is known as Chief Otto Parts on MXC (a parody of the Chief Auto Parts auto supply store chain). Known as La India (the Indian Girl) in Spain.
  • Shoji Kinoshita and Shoichi Kinoshita — Better known as "Popcorn" (ポップコーン), these well-known identical twin actors in Japan were commonly seen wearing rainbow ponchos and bowler hats. They have also worn baseball uniforms and other humorous costumes, appearing in the game Rice Bowl Down Hill where they would try and put the contestants off by singing a very annoying chant, as well as Bridge Ball and other games. Called Bud and Pud or Em on Em (a spoof of rapper Eminem), among others, on MXC. They're known in Spain as Duo pirata (Pirate duet). Craig Charles calls them "the Japanese Thompson Twins" or "Rainbow Warriors".
  • "Ordinary" Oki Bondo (大木凡人), Takayuki Yokomizo, Nobuo Yana and Koji Sekiyama — They participated in the Karaoke game. Oki acted as the emcee, Takayuki was the bouncer who ejected contestants who did not sing well, and Koji was the owner of the karaoke bar, later replaced by Nobuo who appeared in the later episodes of the show. In the MXC spoof, titled Elimination Idol, Bondo plays Ryan Seachest, Takayuki is Andy Jackson and both Nobuo and Koji are called Simon Bowel, all of course playing off American Idol regulars Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell.
  • Shinoburyo (忍竜) — Sumo wrestler in Japan who appeared in the game Sumo Rings during the series. On MXC he was one of the two Purple Packages. Called Porker in the UK version and La Señora (the Lady) in the Spanish version, because of his make-up face.
  • Large Fuji — Replaced Shinoburyo in the later episodes as the purple sumo fighter in Sumo Rings. On MXC he was one of the two Purple Packages.
  • Konishiki Doll — Only seen in Sumo Rings and on an odd occasion of Tug of War. The Konishiki Doll was one of the Defence Troops dressed in a large costume (often credited as a potato suit in the UK version) which is meant to resemble Konishiki Yasokichi, one of the largest sumo wrestlers to ever live. Known as Spud in the UK and as Mel Anoma on MXC. Known as El Grano de Café Gigante (Giant Coffee Grain) in Spain.
  • Noboru "Shin" Suganuma (すがぬま伸) — Loyal member of Takeshi's Gundan who was a pathetic sumo wrestler in Sumo Rings. He is known in Spain as el primo triste de Harry Potter (the sad Harry Potter's cousin).
  • Ritsuko Nakayama — Also known as Refreshing Ritsuko-Ritsuko, she is a professional bowler in Japan who has appeared in the Star Bowling game. She appeared on an MXC episode as "Viva Longoria".
  • Yutaka Enatsu — This Japanese baseball player who was the pie thrower in Die or Pie in a single episode. In the MXC "Master Debaters" special, he was renamed Nader O'Reilly, a fusing of the last names of multiple-time United States Presidential candidate and consumer activist Ralph Nader and TV political commentator Bill O'Reilly and also a pun on M*A*S*H character Radar O'Reilly.
  • Geisha Girls or Bunny Girls — Led by Miyuki Ono, they helped contestants in several games and also helped Takeshi and his advisor in comedy skits. The others were Harumi Tomikawa, Mika, Mina Morishima, Sawada, and Mitsumi Yokota. Sometimes, when Junji and Shingo were off the show for other commitments, one of them served in the Battlefield Reporter's role.
  • Shizuo Miyauchi (宮内鎮雄) — Commentator for the original series in Japan. Recently retired from TBS after working as a commentator for several decades. His voice could sometimes be heard in the UK Series due to the fact that the original audio could be heard under Craig Charles' commentary, however in MXC he was not heard at all.
  • Ultraman - Has appeared in the show on three occasions, the first was to help the kids through a number of the challenges in the "Kids Only" special, the second was as a replacement for General Tani, when he was "sick", according to UK Commentator Craig Charles. The third occasion was in the monster's special, along with other members of the "Ultra Seven".

International versions

When shown outside of Japan, it is often dubbed for comic effect, spoofing the original. This style of fake dubbing of a foreign show is very similar to Kung Faux & Woody Allen's What's Up, Tiger Lily?, where the entire plot, the order of events, and even the events themselves are completely changed.

United States

Main article: MXC

Template:USA — It currently airs as MXC (subtitled Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, which became abbreviated in season 2 due to cable guides clipping off the title) on Spike TV, providing both dubbing and commentary in English that effectively spoofs the original show.

In 1993, CBS aired a special one-hour version of the original show premise entitled Storm the Castle. This version, which was packaged by Vin Di Bona Productions and hosted by Michael Burger, pitted 30 families against each other and against well-known monsters in a quest to win $15,000. Only one episode of Storm the Castle was produced.

United Kingdom

Template:UK — This condensed version of the original series became an unexpected hit when it premiered on Challenge on 9 November 2002, regularly dominating the top ten programs on the channel each week.

The format followed closely the original Japanese format showing the contestants as General Tani's (named General Lee) troops trying to storm Takeshi's Castle. Each episode would have about seven games followed by the Final Showdown. Although it does follow the original format, Challenge decided to cut out the comedy sketches between Takeshi and Higashi to allow more games to be shown in the half hour block.

The success of Series One was immediate with Challenge being told it was great from the first day it was shown onwards. More series were commissioned and shown over the next few months, culminating in a series of hour long specials in the Autumn of 2003, and a special highlights show, The A-Z of Takeshi's Castle, broadcast on January 1, 2004 which showed some of the best clips of the best games. Though no new episodes have been made since then (due to all the Japanese episodes having now been shown) repeats still air regularly on Challenge, including an eight-episode block feature broadcast on Sundays, with an average of 130,000 viewers an episode.

Challenge have regularly been asked to consider showing unedited episodes, but as of September 2005, they decided to air MXC in the UK instead, retitled as Takeshi's Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. Recently there has been some activity at Challenge in trying to get some unedited Japanese episodes to see if it would be worth showing, but however there have been problems so far, and plans for both newly dubbed versions and un-edited episodes are now on hold. Recently Challenge also attempted unsuccessfully to acquire the German DSF dub.

There are some recurring phrases that Craig Charles uses during the UK version. These include "This slurry is of course imported from a pig farm in Southern Japan","In the Drink","What a Wazzock", "As my old Dad used to say...", "The Emerald Guards..highly trained, highly accurate" and if a confusing enigmatic situation arises - "Answers on a postcard please". General Lee is often described as "the ladies favourite" and "Des Lynam of the east" and he desribes the guards in the Honeycomb (or Square) Maze as "the black handed, black hearted guards" in reference to the black stuff that the guards usually smear over the contestant's faces if they manage to catch them. In Sumo Rings, Charles often describes the guard in the purple mawashi (or nappy as it's often called) as the "purple porker", the guard wearing yellow is often called "blob of custard" and the guard for the blue ring is called "Spud". Contestants are also referred to as being "Happy Clappy Jappies in over sized nappies" when playing Sumo Rings.

On 3 September, 2005, MXC aired for the first time on UK television between 9 and 10 p.m. on Challenge. Ftn air Takeshi's Castle as well.

The UK series is now also seen as a double bill between 6:00pm and 7:00pm weekdays on Ftn.


Flag of India India — A shortened version of the show is aired on the Pogo TV channel, with Hindi voiceover by comedian and dancer Jaaved Jaffrey everyday and by Indian comedians Raju Srivastava, Sunil Pal, Navin Prabakar and Ahsaan Qureshi.It had become very popular in India, being shown at least twice a day and having marathons for 2 hours on sundays.


Template:INA — A version of the show had been aired on the TPI channel, with the name Benteng Takeshi, (translated as Takeshi's Fortress) keeping much of the show's original elements (names were not changed and such).


Template:GER — A dubbed version of the show aired on DSF.


Template:FRA — A shortened version given a comedic voiceover by comedians Vincent Desagnat and Benjamin Morgaine has been shown on the W9 TV channel since October 2006, in a program called "Menu W9" which also presents a shortened version of sushi TV. It's also broadcasted on the channel M6 which show 2 episodes per day at 6.50 p.m from Tuesday to Friday. The voices are those of the sport presenter Thierry Roland and Moon Dailly.


Template:ESP — The program aired in the '90s as Humor Amarillo (when translated it means "Yellow Humour") on TV channel Telecinco. Comedians Juan Herrera and Miguel Ángel Coll (son of the popular José Luis Coll) commented on the images; this version of the show has achieved cult status and there are some fansites and web petitions for reruns. In fact, the Spanish version created some terms now familiar to either Takeshi's Castle or Humor Amarillo, like “El Laberinto del Chinotauro” (name for any of the maze challenges), “Las Zamburguesas” (for Skipping Stones),"Gacela Thompson" ("Thompson Gazella"), a pathetic businessman character, and “Chino Cudeiro”, the name assigned to a random player that always "dies", one of the most popular characters in Spain. Since January 28, 2006, the show has been dubbed again by Fernando Costilla and Paco Bravo and can be seen on Spanish TV channel Cuatro TV.


Flag of Australia Australia — A version of the show was produced by The Comedy Channel, it had hosts in The Comedy Channel studio, it was redubbed, but unlike the American version it still kept to the real plot of the episode and showed the final challenge, rather than taking random footage and making up "teams". This has since been cancelled and/or finished. The show was hosted by two housemates from series two of Australian Big Brother Shannon Cleary and Nathan Morris. It also featured a crossdressing Geisha girl named Beryl. Some episodes featured a special guest third host, including Greg Fleet. Highlights appeared in Australia on the television program World's Weirdest TV. Currently, the American version "MXC" airs on Channel [V]2 (an Australian cable music network). The Australian writer and critic Clive James was once a celebrity contestant on the original show.


Flag of Malaysia Malaysia — The Japanese version was aired over NTV7, although edited to be shortened to half an hour and a Malay overdub was added (the original Japanese audio track is still audible in background).


Template:ITA — A shortened version, called Mai dire Banzai ("Never Say: Banzai!") and given a comedic voiceover by Gialappa's Band was shown on Italia 1, one of Silvio Berlusconi's channels. Nowadays the UK shortened version is being broadcast on GXT and the voiceover is currently done by Italian comedian Roberto Ciufoli and the dj Faber Cucchetti (previously the show was commentated on by Marco Marzocca with Stefano Sarcinelli and still before by duo Lillo & Greg).


— A gameshow called 100 Wars, 100 Victories (Traditional Chinese: 百戰百勝王) was formed from the original show, similar to how MXC Almost Live was formed.


Flag of Thailand Thailand — Takeshi's Castle was dubbed and shown on Channel 5. The title was changed to "Hod, Man, Ha", or "Cruel, Thrilling, Fun."

Pan-Arab countries

25px Arab countries — In Arab countries the show was called The Fort (Arabic: الحصن). It aired in the early nineties where it became a cult hit. Commentary was provided by Lebanese actor Ryadh Shararah (Arabic: رياض شرارة), then later on by Jemaal Reyaan (Arabic: جمال ريان), who is currently a well known news broadcaster in Al-Jazeera's Arabic TV news channel.


Joey de Leon as Shintaro Gokuyami

Flag of the Philippines Philippines — It was first shown on the TV network Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation with actors Anjo Yllana as Takeshi and Smokey Manoloto as "Iwakura" (an erroneous mispronunciation of Ishikura which was never corrected). Initially, the show was dubbed completely in Tagalog. Later episodes contained scenes shot on a studio set with the actors, dressed as the Takeshi and Iwakura, both providing the commentary. While the show was not as popular as in other countries, it held a huge following among viewers there. In this version, the names given to most of the games are rather generic such as "Devil's Maze" for the Honeycomb and Square Mazes, "Flying Mushroom" for Mushroom Trip, and "Sumo Wrestling" for Sumo Rings.

Takeshi's Castle is shown on SBN 21. The show was was not edited as before at IBC 13 and now in Quality Television (QTV 11).

Takeshi's Castle is currently enjoying a revival in the Philippines, courtesy of Quality Television (QTV). This time around, comedians Joey de Leon and Ryan Yllana (Anjo's younger brother) provide the commentary as fictional characters shogun Shintaro "Taru" Gokoyami (Takeshi's right hand man) and sumo wrestler Kakawate Takehome (leader of the Takeshi's forces) respectively, fictional in the sense that there are no such characters in the original cast. Initially the two provide play-by-play commentary, but they as well as some added characters reduced themselves to skits and commentary in between clips of the show. Later, as part of the channel's first anniversary, Anjo finally appeared alongside the new cast, reprising his role as "prince" Takeshi.

But, due to Takeshi's Castle's competitive ratings, the management of GMA 7 (which produces shows for its sister channel QTV 11) decided to move the show from its original station to the early afternoon weekend slot of GMA 7. Takeshi's Castle is aired on a weekly basis as opposed to the weekdays airing on QTV, and is aired before Eat Bulaga on Saturdays and before SOP on Sundays. This is done to increase and improve the ratings of the succeeding shows. Takeshi's Castle started to air on GMA on December 23, 2006.


Template:POR — A version called Nunca Digas Banzai (Portuguese for "Never Say Banzai") aired in station SIC, where it reached some popularity. Voiceovers were provided by two hosts, including José Carlos Malato. Takeshi and Ishikura were renamed "Fujimoto" and "Fujicarro" (a play on the Portuguese words for "[motor]bike" and "car" respectively), and the Portuguese hosts made no attempt to interpret the reality of the show, instead using the contestants as surrogates for the satirical comments about Portuguese public figures, in a similar style to MXC.

Czech Republic

Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic — It was shown by the name Takeshi's Castle (Czech: Takešiho hrad), with comedic voiceover by two famous Czech comedians. The show was quite popular among young viewers.


Flag of Greece Greece — A version airs on Skai TV.


Template:BRA — During the 1990's, a version was aired by Rede Globo, called Olimpíadas do Faustão (Portuguese for "Faustão's Olympics"). In 1998, rival SBT copied that version, and a legal action by Globo and TBS stopped the broadcasting. [1]

External links

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UK Websites (Alphabetical order)

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MXC (Alphabetical order)

Humor Amarillo (Alphabetical order)

es:Humor Amarillo fr:Takeshi’s Castle it:Takeshi's Castle ms:Istana Takeshi

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