Takeshi’s Castle was a Japanese game show that aired between 1986 and 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.
The original show involved between 100 and 142 contestants whom General Lee (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. In early episodes they would storm the castle set itself in a short-range water gun assault. Later episodes introduced carts with paper rings, and eventually lasers and light-sensitive targets. If the contestants gun penetrated the paper ring or hit the sensor on Takeshi’s cart, against such weapons as a large water gun and a laser-armed plane, Takeshi’s cart was deactivated, the castle was “taken” and the game “won”. The player who stopped Takeshi won one million yen (which, at the time, was roughly equivalent to $8,000 US or £5,000 sterling). However, there were only nine winners during the show’s run.
Reference: Takeshi’s Castle