With great power comes great responsibility – or so thinks one 27-year-old Japanese, who dons a superhero costume to wait by the stairs of subway stations, lending his strength to the elderly, people lugging heavy packages and mothers with prams.
Dressed in a green suit with silver trim, his eyes visible behind the mesh of a matching green mask, Tadahiro Kanemasu is the man behind the Carry-Your-Pram-Ranger as he prefers to be called in Japan, as he prefers to keep his identity hidden locally.
He has spent three months helping people at a station in western Tokyo, which like many in the city has neither elevators nor escalators and a long flight of dimly-lit stairs.
Hauling luggage up two flights of stairs is heavy-labour for many.
Kanemasu admitted that he got off to a bit of a rocky start.
The people he was trying to help were suspicious of his seemingly good intentions, but slowly warmed up to him after three continuous months of community service.
Children generally gravitate towards him when the see their local superhero costume.
Some look on quizzically but most walk up to him for photographs.
Kanemasu pointed out that Japanese, as a people, in general feel ashamed to ask for help.
Inspiration came from the children he met at his job at an organic greengrocer’s, which also prompted him to adopt the colour green for his costume.
He picked up the green Power Rangers suit, and two spares, at a discount store for 4,000 yen ($40.95) each.
Hayato Ito, who works with Kanemasu at the restaurant-cum-organic food store, was out shopping when he bumped into his superhero colleague.
Ito said that his colleague’s kindness to others over the years meant his metamorphosis had not come as a complete surprise.
“There were signs of this from a long time ago, but finally he really flowered as a hero,” he said.
Since his time is limited due to his regular job at the grocers, he hopes to form a ‘power ranger’ unit to help the community out.
Rumours are rife that candidates for the pink and red power rangers have surfaced, according to his colleague, Ito. .