Japanese Real-Life Superhero Cracks Down on Drunk Driving

Meet Priest Shinjiro Kumagai – mild mannered environmental artist by day, and real-life superhero by night. Dressed up as Japanese sci-fi TV hero Kamen Rider 1, his mission is to rid Kitakyushu city of drunk drivers.

Kumagai’s day job involves making statues out of old aluminium cans. When he’s done, he dons the grasshopper-inspired superhero suit, hops on to a Cyclone motorbike and hunts down drunk drivers. His nightly patrols are supported by the police, as shown by the armband identifying him as an official drunk-drive patrolman.

Even with the support of the police, being a superhero in real life can be an expensive affair. But Kumagai doesn’t have to worry about money – he is funded by local Buddhist Priest Fukumitsu, the head of the Gokurakuji temple. “He is a real fan of Kamen Rider 1 and has been collecting memorabilia for 20 years,” Kumagai said of his benefactor. “So when he heard about what I was doing, he jumped at the chance to help.”


The Kamen Rider 1 TV show, which ran from 1971 to 1973, featured the superhero team Kamen Riders (Masked Riders) who fight against an evil terrorist group. The show was later adapted into a comic book series. And now, locals are thrilled with Kumagi’s initiative of bringing their favorite superhero to life.


“He’s doing a very good job,” said shopkeeper Kageki Umeta. “On one hand it is quite geeky and comical although the kids love to see him riding around. Kamen Rider is a big thing in Japan.”


“But on the other hand he is actually raising awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and is catching people at it who he then reports to the police,” Umeta added. “Every city should have a Kamen Rider.”


But Kumagai isn’t the first real-life superhero to grace the streets of Japan. Last year, we wrote about Japan’s very own Dark Knight, Chibatman, whose mission was to make people happy.


Photos: Twitter

Sources: Kotaku, Mirror.co.uk

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