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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Yuusuke Morimoto - Sasuke-Kun

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 - "Sasuke-kun"

Introduction:

Thanks to the help of Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 and again with the help of my interpreter Jin, I was able to conduct an interview with another Japanese competitor using Skype. Up next is actually a current Sasuke star in the making. Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介! A veteran of 6 Sasuke tournaments, he was the farthest man through Sasuke 29 and the first confirmed member of the Japanese Team going to the inaugural SASUKE ASEAN Open Cup in Malaysia next month.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 and his now famous nametag that reads サスケ "Sasuke" - From Sasuke 29's Navi


Title meaning:

During Sasuke 29’s broadcast, TBS referred to Yuusuke Morimoto as “Sasuke-Kun”. The title "~ kun (~君)" is used to address men who are younger or the same age as the speaker. A male might address female inferiors by "~ kun," usually in schools or companies. It can be attached to both surnames and given names. It is less polite than "~ san." It isn't used between women or when addressing one's superiors. The nickname “Sasuke-Kun” actually came from him! He got bored one day and put サスケ (Sasuke) on a nametag at work (in the rock climbing facility) and some people started calling him that. He figured it would look good in the application (especially since he had trouble of late getting on the show) so he added it on the TBS application and as a result the name stuck. Before Sasuke 29 though, no one called him that, now however, EVERYONE calls him that. He doesn’t regret coming up with the name as people now know who he is as a result. I did tell him though that we made a drinking game out of it. He found it funny and was happy though that foreigners that watched the show through live streaming liked the nickname.

From Sasuke 29's Navi - Yuusuke (at age 7) with his little Sister

Background:

Yuusuke Morimoto  森本 裕介 (first name pronounced “Yoo’s keh” - just like Sasuke, the middle u in "su" is practically silent to us in the West) is a 22 year old Computer Science at 高知大学 Kōchi Daigaku (Kochi University). His birthday was just recently (December 21, 1991). Born and raised in 高知県 Kōchi-ken (Kochi Prefecture) in southern Japan, he also has a little sister (shown in a dated photo above). Although he’s literally spent more than half of his life training for Sasuke (15 years to be exact), he didn’t really do any sports as a child. He was never really good at gymnastics. In fact, he wasn’t good in any sports. He never participated in an organized sports in any of his years in school. In college however, he became the Team Captain of his Rock Climbing Club. Also, as we saw in Sasuke 29’s Navi, he works at a Rock Climbing Facility.

  (Mr. Sasuke) Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己 - Sasuke 3


What attracted you to Sasuke?

He first started watching Sasuke when he was just 7 years old. His first tournament he ever saw was Sasuke 3 (when Yamada was still in his prime) and loved it. At that age he thought (Mr. Sasuke) Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己 was totally cool. He was impressed with the show and hoped to be able to compete one day. He continued to watch Sasuke religiously from that point on.

Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠


What was the impetus for you to compete in Sasuke?

In his 3rd year of Junior High (9th grade/14 years old), Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 had won Sasuke 17. That victory was the moment he wanted to be a part of the show.  He told himself he HAS to be on this show.  He trained harder than ever before for the chance to be in Sasuke and finally sent TBS an application (entry video and all). He wanted to be on the same show with his all-time favorite competitor, Makoto Nagano.

 Sasuke 18's Marathon

Describe the application process for your first tournament.

Luck would have it that in the very next tournament, he was accepted through the application process to appear in Sasuke 18. The application process was actually pretty short, only a month. There were no trials either. He was stunned but thrilled to be invited to participate. Sasuke 18 was an anomaly in terms of organization. TBS decided since it was the next tournament after a Kanzenseiha, they should try something different. They introduced a marathon around the Midoriyama lot where all of the participants had to take part. This was the only event in it's history to have that marathon to begin the show.

 The top 2 marathon finishers taking their numbers at the finish line

Sasuke 18's tournament ended up being different than you (and everyone) expected:

Each participant would run the marathon course around the Midoriyama lot and jump to pick a number across the finish line that would correspond with their place in Sasuke 18. Yuusuke was never told his time or placement in the marathon portion, but he figured it was the top half because when he arrived at the finish line, there were a large amount of numbers still left.

 Sasuke 17 Finalist Shunsuke Nagasaki 長崎 峻侑
(Notice Morimoto standing behind Shun's left shoulder (photo right).. wearing a white T-shirt)

Did you choose your own number?

His original intent was to be in the low 90’s and 91 was still available when he arrived. He was elated. He chose 91. The number 97 was also available, however he didn’t want to be.. well.. you know.. it would have been a bit awkward given he had no previous history. (As an aside, 97 was later chosen by the Sasuke 17 runner up Shunsuke Nagasaki 長崎 峻侑. Yeah that would have been awkward if he took that high.  Nagano was #96, although not by his choice, he wanted a low number and TBS saved the next highest number just for him).

 Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 during Sasuke 18's broadcast

What was your impression of seeing Sasuke up close?

This was his first tournament at the young age of 15 years old. He was so excited. He’s been dreaming of this tournament since he was 7 years old and he couldn’t believe he was actually finally there. He was there, in Midoriyama, with the All-stars in person, Nagano in his prime returning from his win and he was allowed to compete alongside! This was a dream come true. He couldn’t believe it! He was nervous, excited and giddy throughout the whole tournament. Similar to Tada’s reaction when he first got to see the course in person, he just said “wow, this thing is huge”. Television doesn’t accurately convey the breadth of scale of this production. He was in awe. During the course run through (that TBS does with demonstrators), he started to feel excited because he believed he could actually do this. He was a bit surprised by the changes but he was so excited for to see them. He didn’t feel scared. He felt he could succeed, so "excitement" was the prevailing feeling.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 at the start line of Sasuke 18

How was your experience waiting for your turn?

Given he had a high number and was there since registration (early morning), he actually did get to watch every single competitor all the way up to the 80’s. After that he began his warming up preparations to be focused for his run when they reached the 90’s. He really is a fan of the show and he relished the opportunity to see the whole tournament up close. He was engrossed in the event and found that it wasn’t boring to sit and wait between competitors. Obviously it’s a different experience than watching on television. (As an aside I was elated to confirm that he was a hardcore fan of the show, not just someone who wanted to enter for the fame. Most productions tape over one long day - sometimes as long as 18 hours in an open field exposed to the elements)

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 - Death by ④ Jumping Spider ジャンピングスパイダー

Describe your experience actually competing on your very first tournament.

Wearing #91, he appeared in full on the TBS broadcast in Sasuke 18 which aired in Japan on March 27, 2007. Sadly, he failed on the brand-new Jumping Spider ジャンピングスパイダー. Before the tournament, he’d never jumped on a trampoline before, so it took him by surprise. Once his legs hit the trampoline he immediately realized he wasn’t in a good position and his timing was all wrong. Regardless of the fail, he was just so happy to be in the tournament. He also was happy to have gotten as far as he did. So many people failed the Log Grip and the Rope Glider that he felt elated to have gotten as far as he did in that particular tournament.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 preparing for the now-infamous ① Rope Glider ロープグライダー

Did you witness the infamous Rope Glider injuries?

I did ask him if he was present for the now infamous injury that occurred with the first obstacle the Rope Glider that sent someone to the hospital. He was present (as he watched all of the previous competitors), and wasn’t surprised given how fast the Glider was. He saw a few people with leg injuries as well. He wasn’t scared of it though, he figured it was a difficult obstacle he had to be aware of and focus to overcome.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 during his post interview in Sasuke 18

How long did you stay at Midoriyama during filming?

He was also fortunate enough to have been allowed to stay and watch all the way to the end of the 3rd stage when "Kongu" Kenji Takahashi 高橋 賢次 fell off the brand new ④ ^Shin-Cliffhanger 新クリフハンガー. In the past, it was policy that if you were eliminated, TBS required you to leave the premises. (It was a measure to control leaks during the closed-set taping) He was fortunate that in Sasuke 18, they didn’t do that, so he was able to watch the entire tournament live. To say he was excited would be an understatement.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 at the start line in Sasuke 19


How was the process to return to Sasuke?

For the following tournament, Sasuke 19, he sent in an application as per policy. He was immediately contacted to return. The first time he was in Sasuke, the prevailing theme was just the excitement to be there. The second time he was in Sasuke the goal shifted to “I have to pass the First Stage”. He was still excited to be there, however that goal was more prevalent in his mind in this tournament.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 at the start line in Sasuke 19

Describe your experience competing in Sasuke 19.

Wearing #71, he appeared in full on the TBS broadcast of Sasuke 19 which aired in Japan on September 19, 2007. He managed revenge on the Jumping Spider, but later failed the Half Pipe attack.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 having massive issues with the redesigned ③ *Pole Maze ポールメイズ
What happened on the Pole Maze in Sasuke 19?

Earlier in the course he had trouble with the ③ *Pole Maze ポールメイズ and that pretty much sapped most of his energy. (He spent more than 20 seconds stuck midway through this obstacle) Sasuke 19’s pole was very different from Sasuke 18 so he couldn’t move his body correctly to move the pole.  As a result it kept getting stuck and no matter how hard he tried to move it, it just wouldn't budge.  Finally through sheer will he managed to untangle it twice and finally dismount.

 Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 defeating arguably the hardest iteration of the ④ *Jumping Spider ジャンピングスパイダー

You did manage revenge on your nemesis though!

While frustrated by the loss of time on the Pole Maze he was still was determined to beat his nemesis, The Jumping Spider. He did and in doing so defeating arguably the hardest Jumping Spider that Sasuke has ever seen.  It was the furthest away and he still managed to beat it.  Very few people in Sasuke 19 even passed this obstacle.

 Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 - Death by ⑤ ^Half-Pipe Attack ハーフパイプアタック

If things were different, how far would you have gone in Sasuke 19?

(I asked him if the Pole Maze didn’t hang him up so much would he have had enough energy to actually pass the first stage.) Sasuke 19 proved to be the most difficult course in Sasuke history (with only 2 clears of the first stage) so he doesn’t think he would have gotten far in the course even if he cleared the pole maze with a better time. He figured the best he would have done would have been a time out. As it was, with the problems on the pole maze, his muscles were hurting for over a week after the event! He also stayed to see the last 2 competitors compete in the 2nd stage. Seeing how difficult the tournament was left an impression on him, especially how different it was from Sasuke 18.

  Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 - Replay of his foot slipping and missing the rope on the ⑤ ^Half-Pipe Attack ハーフパイプアタック

You didn't return for Sasuke 20.  Why?

He applied and was accepted to Sasuke 20, however while he was training on the Soritatsu Kabe そり立つ壁 (Warped Wall) at home, he injured his leg (twisted foot). He cried he was so upset that he couldn’t go compete in the Anniversary Show of Sasuke 20.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 and Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 in BUG IN MIKI 2008

I remember you from BUG IN MIKI!

The following tournament he applied and was accepted to return to was Sasuke 21. By this point I was blogging heavily in my first year and noticed Yuusuke had actually participated during the spring, between Sasuke 20 and 21, at the BUG IN MIKI event in Hyogo Prefecture. For those who might find this familiar, this was the little town faire (celebrating Volkswagen Beetles) that had a small Sasuke demonstration course and hosted by Mr. Sasuke. Sasukemania (a now defunct TBS show) had actually showed this event because a bunch of Sasuke wannabees had gone to the event hoping to try out the course and be noticed by TBS and the All-stars.  It was through this event that (eventual) two-time Champion Yuuji Urushihara had defeated the All-stars to gain his berth into Sasuke 21.

 
Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 failing the SCH during BUG IN MIKI 2008

Did you see yourself on Sasukemania?

Yuusuke was present at that event but failed on the Shin Cliffhanger that was erected there. He only knew Hiroki Nomura 野村宏樹 before the BUG IN MIKI event, but didn’t know the group that came from the Kanto region (UNCLI guys including Yuuji and Ryo). This event was the first time he ever met them. I found it funny that I saw that live streaming from the USA (and blogged about it) while he didn’t see it until someone gave him a copy much later. He also lives well outside the Kanto Region (the demographic for the Sasukemania show) so he never saw the shows live.  He tape traded to get as many of them as he could.

 Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 in BUG IN MIKI 2008 being congratulated by Sasuke All-Star Bunpei Shiratori 白鳥文平

Where you part of the Sasuke 21 trials?

During the summer after that event was a Sasuke Trial event where all of the current day Shin Sedai had competed and earned their berths to Sasuke 21. Yuusuke didn’t have to do trials, his luck was still holding out and was just straight invited into the event based on his previous performances.

 
 Sasuke 21's opening

You returned for Sasuke 21 but TBS cut you out of the broadcast!

Wearing #52, he participated in Sasuke 21, however, TBS chose to cut him from the broadcast entirely which aired on September 17, 2008. He unfortunately failed on the Jumping Spider again. He got a good landing into the center of the trampoline but his timing for the jump was off. He didn’t fall on the water but bounced back onto the black mat (which is technically the covering of the support beam) thus disqualifying him. Given the result, he wasn’t expecting himself to be aired, so he wasn’t shocked that TBS cut him. His shock came from the results themselves. After his injury, he trained like crazy after his leg healed, so to fail on the Jumping Spider again was very, very frustrating. As with previous tournaments, he did stay to watch the entire event.

All 6 saddle-cloths for Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 - #91 (Sasuke 18), #71 (Sasuke 19), #52 (Sasuke 21), #27 (Sasuke 22), #84 (Sasuke 27) and #79 (Sasuke 29)

You returned again for Sasuke 22. TBS cut you again, how did you do?

For the following tournament, Sasuke 22, he applied again and was invited to participate. Wearing #27, he participated in Sasuke 22, however, TBS chose to cut him from the broadcast entirely which aired on March 30, 2009. He unfortunately timed out on the Soritatsu Kabe そり立つ壁 (Warped Wall). He did manage to touch the top of the wall but for some reason just couldn’t grip onto it to pull himself up. It was strange and frustrating for him since he can nail it in practice with no issues, he wasn’t even tired but his legs were actually shaking. Something felt “different” about the real obstacle and he couldn’t get it in competition.

 Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 - Japan Record holder for the Monkey Bars (with certificate in front of the course in Nagano Prefecture)

There was a gap in participation from Sasuke 23-26. Why?

His luck ran out for Sasuke 23-26. He applied to each but wasn’t accepted for those tournaments. During this time though, he set the Japan record for the Monkey Bars that was made famous by previous competitors such as Shinji Kobayashi and Keita Tomino. This course, which is in Nagano Prefecture, has seen many other Sasuke competitors. What is nice about it is that you just show up and try it out. No appointment necessary!

Close up of Monkey Bars record certificate that (then) 19 year old Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 won

You are the current Japan Record holder in Monkey bars?

Yuusuke did his run and shattered the record when he managed 425 meters (1,394 feet/464 yards) on the monkey bars without failing. We talked a bit about that feat and he said it took him at least 10 minutes. He got himself into a rhythm and stayed focused. He kept telling himself to not let go and keep going forward.  (Previous numbers I remember were under 300 meters)

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 digested clear on Sasuke 27

Triumphant return to Sasuke 27 only to be digested twice by TBS.

The next tournament that he was finally allowed to compete again was in Sasuke 27. Wearing #84, he participated in Sasuke 27, however, TBS chose only show him in Fast Forward in BOTH his first and second stage in the broadcast which aired on October 3, 2011. This tournament marked the first time he successfully passed the First Stage, so it was incredibly frustrating for him to see that no one else saw his entire run. We just him at the buzzer elated when he cleared the first stage and again just the fail at the Second stage Metal Spin.

森本裕介 Yuusuke Morimoto - Death by Metal Spin

Digested again for the Second Stage.

Obviously since this was the first time he cleared the First Stage he was super happy, however his dream is getting to the Third Stage. Failing on the Metal Spin crushed that dream. So Sasuke 27 was the epitome what in the USA call of the “Thrill of victory and agony of defeat”. He couldn’t believe he cleared most of the 2nd Stage only to fail on the Metal Spin. He was so frustrated. I told him that most fans recognize that to be one of the, if not THE, hardest of the Metal Spins (being so far away) so he shouldn’t be as upset. He was appreciative of the support. It was soooo far away. I asked him to give an assessment of the 2nd stage. Salmon Ladder went exactly as he expected (especially given his training), and it was really good fun. Once he cleared the Balance Tank he had the feeling that he was going to the 3rd Stage. Then.. he fell on the Metal Spin.. which made it that much worse since he had that feeling of victory.

27 Stage One Clears for Sasuke 27! (Including 9/10 Americans)
Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 (wearing all black on the left side of the picture - between Kanno and Wacky)

Your thoughts on the American force in Sasuke 27.

I asked him his perspective on what turned out to be the last time the Americans were sent in force to Sasuke (back when M9 and G4 were still in control). He felt that all the Japanese were really nervous but the Americans were so confident that it felt as if they were “playing around” in the course. They didn’t seem to have the same pressure. Their mindset was vastly different when tackling the course as a whole. He thought it was amazing. I asked if he was at all bothered, annoyed or distracted by all the TBS announcers taunts against the Japanese (trying to make it into a rivalry) during the event itself. He said he ignored it and it didn’t bother him. He knows it’s not a competition against competitors so it was easy to ignore the announcer. He always remembers what Okuyama tells him “this is not against other people; it’s against yourself and the course”. Yuusuke concentrates so hard that he really, honestly can’t hear the announcer. He’s too focused on other things to really pay attention to that. Not that he tunes it out, it’s that he’s focused on other things to even hear it. I call it “being in the zone”. 

Crowd reacting to Yuuji's scream in Sasuke 27 (I think Yuusuke is on the far right in all black)

Did you witness the 4th Kanzenseiha?

He stayed all the way to the end to watch the fourth Kanzenseiha 完全制覇 (complete domination). He made a prediction that if the Final Stage was just a rope he figured Yuuji was going to win for the second time. So once he saw the final, he just said to himself “oh yeah he’s got this”.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 (bottom row in orange Sasuke shirt) with a bunch of STQers (Okada, Ryoma, UNCLI #5 - Keitaro, 2 Ryo and 3 Yuuji), Nomura, Moody, Arashida, Hioki, Shinya and others in one of their trips to Muscle Park

Monster 9 goes bankrupt and Sasuke appears to be cancelled.

Between Sasuke 27 and Sasuke 28 was when Monster 9 declared bankruptcy. He was in shock. Everyone at this point thought that the show was now over. He tried to console himself saying that at least he managed to clear Stage 1 when he had the chance. Even so, he really wanted to get to the 3rd Stage so that disappointment still lingered. The shock of Monster 9 collapsing and Sasuke being over was a bit upsetting.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 (top middle in black) with STQ'ers (UNCLI #4 Keita and #5 Keitaro) among others at Okada's house.


Sasuke Rising is announced.

When Sasuke returned a year and a half later under a different name Sasuke Rising, he was happy, but due to scheduling conflicts he was unable to apply to Sasuke 28. As a result he was not at the infamous Sasuke Auditions. The next tournament he applied to enter was Sasuke 29.

Yusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 (with his time) in Sasuke 29 Trials

The birth of Sasuke-kun! First time through Trials.

Sasuke 29 marked his return and his his first Sasuke Rising tournament and was heavily featured in Navi and in the tournament. For the first time we heard him being called Sasuke-kun.  We now know why he was heavily featured! Navi videos obviously were done after the taping (as standard practice). Sasuke 29 marked the return of an actual Trials course and his first trials event ever. He was relieved that this selection process was an actual course. He figured it would be his own fault if he failed (his own lack of ability) as opposed to not being selected for things outside of his control. He viewed the opportunity to run trials as practice for the real thing and had an enjoyable experience overall. He competed during the middle of Day 2. He did very well clearing the course under a minute.

 And next with a hype from Navi it's Yusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介

Returning to television after a 6 year drought.

Wearing #79, he appeared in full (after a 6 year television absence) on the TBS broadcast of Sasuke 29 which aired in Japan on June 27, 2013. There was a good flow from the First stage to the 3rd stage. Clearing the first stage again, he was super happy. Second Stage was filled with controversy over the Backstream and the reduction of time (cutting 45 seconds from the original time limit from Sasuke 28). He barely made it past the Passing Wall with only 0.8 seconds left on the clock.

  Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 diving in the ⑤ Backstream バックストリーム

The infamous Backstream...

As for the Backstream itself, he felt it was the most difficult obstacle ever in the history of Sasuke. It took a lot of energy out of him. He couldn’t breathe either so it took more out of him. He noticed that those who swam at the top were pushed back so he was going to try going down the bottom of the tank, however he couldn’t hold his breath that long so he ended up swimming the top of the tank.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 manages to catch the support on the first try

Did you know how much time you had left?

He was elated that he got his hand on that ladder and got out of the water tank, but he realized he was totally cooked. His body could barely move and he still had to pass the walls. I asked him if the 45 second reduction was an issue and he said definitely yes. If he had even a few more seconds, he would have taken a little time to actually breathe before getting in the Backstream. He did it without breathing so he was so sapped out of energy because of the lack of oxygen.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 struggling on the ⑥ Passing Wall パッシングウォール 

What happened on the Passing Wall?

He got out of the water and he had no idea how much time he had left. He got to the walls and then out of nowhere he heard the klaxon blaring. He got to the last wall and he literally had nothing left to give. There was no way he could lift the wall. He kept yelling at himself to get past it any way he could so threw his body under in hopes of clearing.

Yusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 - SECOND STAGE CLEAR!

You looked spent when you finished the Second Stage.

He couldn’t believe he made it past the Passing Wall and the gates opened (signifying a clear). He looked at the time and he couldn’t believe he made it with less than a second left. He was exhausted and still couldn’t breathe.  He'd never been so tired in his life.  Those short 45 seconds were brutal.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 wait.. there's..a  timer?


How did the format change of Sasuke 29's Third Stage affect you?

Third Stage had an unusual format with the ASEAN qualifying being an important factor in the timing of each obstacle. He had no idea that the timer was on the Third Stage until he got there. They had no prior warning. I asked him how this affected him. I was a bit surprised at the answer. First, he again didn’t treat it as competing with other people so he didn’t care about the timer on that aspect. However, as a result of the timer, they eliminated the 30 second timer between obstacles that had existed in every other tournament before. So, he was able to rest as long as he wanted! So that timer that we thought was a penalty was not a penalty; that was his actual time he took to clear the obstacles.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 twice already he almost went completely over..
on the ② Iron Paddler アイアンパドラー

I honestly thought you were going to fail the Cliffhanger after I saw what happened on the Iron Paddler.

He agreed and thought so as well.  He lost all of his strength dealing with the Iron Paddler but because the timer was dealt with differently, he was able to rest as long as he wanted before the Crazy Cliffhanger. Had the tournament been held as in the past with the strict 30 second rule between the obstacles, he was positive he would have failed the Crazy Cliffhanger.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 taking a 5 minute break between the Iron Paddler and the Crazy Cliffhanger

So that was a long break and not a time penalty?

He took the 5 minute break to recoup not caring about the overall time. His goal was to clear the 3rd stage; he didn’t care about the overall time. He figured distance in the course was more important than actual time. He did however mention that the staff was losing their marbles yelling at him to keep going even though he ignored them and rested. He wasn’t aware of any penalties though and seeing the replay, he confirmed that he did take that long on the Third Stage. He took advantage of the new rules for this event to give himself time to recover for the CCH.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 jumps and CLEARS the Crazy Cliffhanger クレイジークリフハンガー


What was your dream goal for Sasuke 29?

Before the tournament even started, his goal was to clear the Crazy Cliffhanger. He took the five minute rest after the Iron Paddler because he was adamant that he pass the Crazy Cliffhanger. He wanted every conceivable opportunity to make that dream happen. Not having the 30 second timer was a God-send.

Yusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介  celebrating the first clear of the Crazy Cliffhanger!

You became the first person ever to clear the Crazy Cliffhanger! 

Clearing the CCH was the greatest happiness he’s ever felt. He was now in the history books for clearing that obstacle first. As far as he was concerned, once he cleared the Crazy Cliffhanger, for him, the entire 3rd Stage was over. The rest was just icing on the cake. He didn't care if he fell a foot after that.. he cleared what he wanted for this tournament. He was beside himself with joy.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 making the ⑤ Vertical Limit バーティカルリミット look easy

Where you tired??

After clearing the CCH, the damage caused by the Iron Paddler was actually going away. He was recovering so he was able to tackle the next couple obstacles (④ Curtain Cling カーテンクリング and ⑤ Vertical Limit バーティカルリミット ). He trained the Vertical Limit at home so he wasn’t scared of it. He was however, surprised by it when he got to it in competition because it had a fresh coat of paint! He had plenty of energy at the end of the stage to keep going. He just told himself to be careful of slipping because of how slippery the Vertical Limit’s paintjob was.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 - Death by ⑥ Pipe Slider パイプスライダー

What happened on the Pipe Slider?

As for the Pipe Slider, he actually never practiced it before so he didn’t know exactly how to dismount it. He looked at the video later and realized he kept swinging his legs too much which is why he kept backing up. He mentions that it has been corrected at home. (LOL) That said, he was still satisfied with his overall performance for the day. He surpassed his goal of passing the Crazy Cliffhanger so not making the Final didn’t upset him at all. He was happy to get further than his original goal. He didn't even give much thought to the ASEAN qualifying aspect even with everyone else coming after his run.

Being surprised by TBS at his home - Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 was told he was representing Japan in the ASEAN Open Cup

Congratulations on being selected to represent Japan!

He admits that qualifying for the ASEAN was not actually on his mind when competing in Sasuke 29. However, he is very happy that he is the first named Japan representative. He didn’t even know he qualified until they showed up to his house with no warning to tell him that he was representing Japan in the Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup (to be held next month in February, 2014 – was rescheduled from November, 2013). He’s excited now that it’s finally getting closer. He promises to be prepared and hopes to represent Japan well. He’s eager to see who else is on the Japanese Team with him. He wasn't told who else is going and TBS has not publicized the names of the rest of the team.

 
A TRULY rare sight - ALL SIX OF THE ALL-STARS! (I'm totally fangirling!)
(Top Row) Sasuke All-Stars Bunpei Shiratori 白鳥文平, Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 and Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟
(Bottom Row) Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山和彦, Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介, Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and (Mr. Sasuke) Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己

Who are your favorite Sasuke competitors?

As for miscellaneous questions, he enjoys watching the All-stars. His reason for watching the show, and the fact that he grew up with them, he still enjoys watching them compete. As for the Shin-Sedai are concerned, he’s in the unique position of being friends with them so it’s a little awkward. The All-stars are still (and always will be) on a pedestal for him. He is friends and on a first name basis with the Shin Sedai so it’s a little strange sometimes when asked if he’s a fan of them.  He's friends with them so obviously he likes them. But a fan? He's totally a fan of the All-Stars, especially Makoto Nagano.

Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 traveling to Shizuoka (Summer 2013) with a friend and Yusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介

How long have you known Tada?

I asked him how long he’s known Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也. I asked because it was thanks to him that this interview was even possible.  He’s not entirely sure how long it’s been but he’s been a friend for a long time. Shared the same passion and between them over the years they exchanged DVD's to finish their Sasuke tournament collections. Just as fans have been doing “VHS tape trades” for their favorite shows over the years, so have they done the same things on the Japan side with home made DVD's. It took him 15 years to complete the collection he has now. He didn’t even complete what he has not until he got into college. He had to look really hard and network with a lot of people using tape trading to complete his collection. It’s a source of pride.

 OMG Sasuke BOOTLEG!  I WANT IT!!!

So, about your collection..

I told him the foreigners are envious of his collection. He just laughed and said thanks.  He's very protective of his collection, especially because how difficult it was to complete and how hard he had to work to get it. Sorry guys, he's not parting with them! He is however impressed with how hard the Americans on SMF work on helping the community watch this show live over the internet. He's amazed at the ingenuity and dedication at SMF.  Thanks to them they were able to witness his dream feat in Sasuke Rising and know who Sasuke-Kun is as a result. He's truly grateful.

森本裕介 Yuusuke Morimoto showing off his Cliffhanger in his entry video (Sasuke 19 broadcast)


Sasuke Navi showed you had a back yard course!  How big is it?

He has an obstacle course at his home with his parents. His first obstacle was a Cliffhanger that he made back in his 3rd year of Junior high (9th grade/14 years old). He doesn’t train on all the obstacles daily but pretty frequently (every couple of days).   He is constantly adapting them and trying new things.

 Yuusuke Morimoto 森本裕介- Early photo showing off his old Ultimate Cliffhanger アルティメットクリフハンガー

What do you have built now? (as of January, 2014)

As for the current obstacles he now has the Soritatsu Kabe そり立つ壁 (Warped Wall), Swap Salmon Ladder スワップサーモンラダー , Crazy Cliffhanger クレイジークリフハンガー (he replaced his original Cliffhanger since it was old and pretty much destroyed), Tsuna Nobori 綱登り (Final Rope Climb), Spider Walk スパイダーウォーク, Pipe Slider パイプスライダー (new obviously – he made it right after he came back from Sasuke 29) and Wall lifting ウォールリフティング (also new after what happened in Sasuke 29 with the Passing Wall)! I asked what his parents thought of it, and he said that they are very supportive (especially seeing that he was able to clear them in competition).

Overhead shot of  Yuusuke Morimoto 森本裕介 clearing the Crazy Cliffhanger クレイジークリフハンガー in Sasuke 29

Do yo have a favorite obstacle?

Favorite obstacle is still the Crazy Cliffhanger クレイジークリフハンガー. What makes him love it is that he made a version of it several years ago that was similar in style and he was happy when he saw it actually made onto Sasuke. It also explains why he was thrilled to be the first to clear it. He feels his passion for that one obstacles has gone full circle.

All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 defeating the Ultimate Plank アルティメットプランク in Viking

Would you want to bring an old Sasuke obstacle back?

If there was an obstacle from the past he wished was still in Sasuke, he actually said NO! He prefers the current iterations of obstacles (Sasuke Rising). I'm sure Inui will love to hear that! We (Jin and I) joked about the Body Prop ボディプロップ and he freaked out. THAT was the one obstacle Morimoto didn’t want to see return! I also mentioned that I am currently begging Inui for a SASUKE Sign (similar to the Ultimate Plank in Viking) and Morimoto said to stop taunting the current competitors with difficult obstacle ideas! LOL


Yuusuke Morimoto 森本裕介 - FIRST STAGE CLEAR!

What is your memorable Sasuke experience?

Finally, his most memorable experience(s) in Sasuke – I have Two!  Definitely clearing the First Stage for the first time in Sasuke 27 and Sasuke 29’s clear of the Crazy Cliffhanger.

Shinya Kishimoto, Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 (middle) and Tatsuya Tada (far right holding Sasuke sign) along with Noritomo Morisawa and Shota Mochizuki - Spring 2013 trip to Shizuoka Prefecture (Shinya's house)

Summation:

The interview itself was over 3 hours long. We talked a lot about the show. He’s a huge fan of it so it was really nice to have a conversation with him. Similar to Tada, he’s very friendly and was open to all the questions I asked. They do have completely different personalities though. It was obvious though why they became friends and I’m indebted to both Tada and Jin for making this interview with Morimoto even possible. Tada for introducing us and Jin for being patient for translating for 3 straight hours without a break. Just like Tada, Morimoto doesn’t speak English. He knows a few words (mostly greetings) but unless someone spoke deliberately slow he has no hope in understanding someone speaking English. Sorry for the loooooong interview blog but he allowed all the questions and had great answers that I couldn’t keep it shorter. I hope everyone enjoys it as much it I did in actually doing the interview.

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