Recently, many regions have been creating yurukyara (loose characters) and local heroes to revitalise towns and communities. Local characters have now become a fully-fledged citizenship. However, for many years now, individual (?) heroes have been active in Niigata. However, did you know that there is a hero in Niigata who has been active as an individual (?) for many years?
Yes, I am Niigata's masked rider. I personally call him 'Mr Niigata Rider'.
I came to Niigata in 2004. It was 10 years ago now, and since that time I was told by friends that there is a Kamen Rider in Niigata. I felt a bit happy every time I saw him dashing through the streets on his motorbike or witnessed him walking normally through the city in this form.
Many rumour stories have been written on the internet, such as 'people who see him will be happy' and 'he frequents the Sagami Shokai (motorbike shop)'.
I was asked to take a photo with him in November 2013. When I bravely asked him to take a photo with me, he nodded silently and posed for me. Niigata Rider-san does not talk. Perhaps it's a character.
Niigata Rider is a hidden popular figure in Niigata. He appears at various events and is happy to shake hands with citizens and take photographs. When I saw him, he was devouring a live performance by Niigata's local idol 'RYUTist' (laughs).
With the popularity of programmes that feature local regions, such as Nanikore Chin Hyakkei, haven't Niigata Rider been featured yet? I kind of wish that the local heroes who have been protecting Niigata for more than 10 years would be given the spotlight.
The Niigata Masked Rider is now a part of the scenery of the city of Niigata. I can't help but hope that it will continue forever.
(memorialised on 18.2.2014)
According to information provided by a reader, some motorcyclists in Niigata wear a surprising amount of 'armour'.
Samurider-like website: http://26.pro.tok2.com/~yataro/samurider-top.htm
Soooo, wow. Is this a cosplay culture... I hope to be able to cover it one day... Thanks to Abe from FACEBOOK for the information!