A priest in Japan has taken the responsibility of tackling drunken drivers by dressing up as a superhero and patrolling the streets on his accessorized motorbike. Shinjiro Kumagai, who serves as a clergyman at Gokurakuji, a local Buddhist temple in Kitakyushu, dresses up as the iconic sci-fi television superhero Kamen Rider after his day’s work at the house of worship and takes to the streets to help law enforcers crack down on drunken drivers. Kumagai’s attire makes him look like a giant grasshopper riding the trademark Cyclone motorcycle that has been fitted with fake jets.
Reportedly, Kumagai receives complete support from the police and dons an armband even that certifies him as an official patrol officer for drunken drivers. He also receives funding from his church, where the head priest Fukumitsu, another devout fan of Kamen Rider, bears the cost of Kumagai’s costume and bike. According to Kumagai, his sponsors are more than happy to help him because he has dedicated himself to a good cause.
“He is a real fan of Kamen Rider 1 and has been collecting memorabilia for 20 years, so when he heard about what I was doing he jumped at the chance to help,” said Kumagai.
Kamen Rider was the name of a popular superhero series that was broadcast in Japan from 1971 to 1973, before being adapted into a comic book. The show featured Kamen Rider as a man who was mutated into a grasshopper-like cyborg by a terrorist organization and traced the story of how he tries to avenge them.
Dressing up as superheroes or cartoon characters, popularly known as cosplay, is a vibrant affair in Japan, with fans spending thousands to replicate their fictitious idols. Since the show Kamen Rider was very popular among locals, they have welcomed Kumagai’s innovative incorporation of the superhero into their daily lives with open arms.
A 43-year-old shopkeeper, Kageki Umeta, said, “He is doing a very good job. On one hand it is quite geeky and comical although the kids love to see him riding around. But on the other he is actually raising awareness of the dangers of drunken driving and is catching people at it who he then reports to the police. Every city should have a Kamen Rider.”
Photo Credits: Daily Mail