Takeshi's Castle (partially found pilot of Japanese game show; 1986)

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For the pilot, Takeshi Kitano was the General.

Status: Partially Found

Takeshi's Castle is a Japanese game show that was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) between 2nd May 1986 to 19th October 1990. It involved contestants attempting to complete exceedingly difficult obstacles in order to storm Count Takeshi's Castle, controlled by Japanese comedian Takeshi Kitano. Prior to the inaugural episode, a pilot was known to have been filmed.


The premise of Takeshi's Castle is that a large number of contestants were "forced" by General Tani (Hayato Tani) to storm Takeshi's Castle.[1] Beforehand, they must complete a number of difficult physical challenges standing between them and the Castle.[1] Each challenge would eliminate a considerable proportion of the contestants, resulting in a few individuals being the only ones to challenge Takeshi and his Gundan in the Cart Battle.[2] Often, the remaining contestants would be unsuccessful, although on rare occasions a few have defeated Takeshi by deactivating his cart.[3][2]

Prior to the first episode, a pilot was filmed. As noted by the photos and description provided by a television magazine, Takeshi and Tani's roles were reversed, with Takeshi leading the contestants into storming the Castle, controlled by Tani.[4][5] The narrative according to the magazine stated Tani and Shingo Yanagisawa launched a rebellion against Takeshi, the former taking over his Castle in the process.[6] Takeshi therefore used the help of subordinate Saburo Ishikura and the public in an attempt to retake the Castle.[6] It also provided Takeshi's motivation for creating the show, stating he wanted to promote games out in the fields, and being against the growing usage of the Famicom.[6] This perhaps humorously explains why Takeshi came up with Takeshi's Challenge.[6]

Aside from Cart Battle, the games consisted of The Scaling Wall, The First Fortress, Dragon God's Pond, Devil's Domain, Second Fortress, The Gibraltar Strait, and the Man-Eating Holes.[4][5] According to an English translation of the magazine, The First Fortress and The Man-Eating Holes had contestants be eliminated if they were "covered in paint".[7] The photos also indicate that the original version of Dragon God's Pond would be played by at least two contestants.[4][5][7] Similarly, Devil's Domain would have a contestant guide another through it, comparable to special episodes involving families, Takeshi also providing assistance via a monitor.[4][5][7] Additionally, a game referred to as "Sprinkler Mine Zone" was also included, which never appeared beyond the pilot.[8] The magazine states that 80 people participated in the pilot.[4][5]


Ultimately, the pilot never aired internationally, although the magazine stated it was aired in Japan sometime in 1986.[8] At least three and a half seconds of footage from First Fortress was included in a trailer promoting the first episode. However, the pilot has yet to fully resurface.[8] Nevertheless, several photos, including from magazines,[4][5] can be viewed online.



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