Japanese Superhero Rides Through Real-World Streets
A host of movies and documentaries should be enough to tell anyone with aims of donning a costume and fighting crime is a bad idea — but even those aren’t enough to shut down such a romantic idea.
Keeping the peace while in disguise has an appeal that crosses borders and oceans alike; as long as there are superheroes in comic pages and on TV, fans all over will bring them to life. That’s truer than ever, with the infamous Kamen Rider taking to Japanese streets.
While he isn’t exactly being called upon to fight criminals or monsters, environmental artist Shinjiro Kumagaya has taken to donning the suit and riding a replica bike of a bug-eyed hero — just one of dozens based on a franchise (comparable to Power Rangers) that’s been around since the 70’s. His mission is of a more mundane variety: he patrols the streets in search of drunk drivers to report, and his armband actually demands an end to such reckless roadwork. It’s a service to the communities of the Fukuoka prefecture, and in more ways than one; children and fans alike get to delight in seeing a Kamen Rider in the flesh.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time a superhero has made the news; 2014 saw a picture-perfect Batman riding through the streets of the Chiba prefecture. The key difference this time is that the masked rider of Fukuoka is sanctioned by the authorities as an official patrolman — and apparently, he’s doing a good job of it. Evidently, it’s the best of both worlds; a super fan gets to put smiles on people’s faces as well as serve justice.
It’s an unorthodox approach, but it’s hard to argue with results.