Japanese Superheroes Encourage Kids to Keep Smiling

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Japanese Superheroes Encourage Kids to Keep Smiling

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Some of the most touching relief efforts in the wake of the Japanese natural disasters are coming from characters who don't actually exist.

By now I'm sure most (if not all) of you are familiar with the devastating Sendai earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan last week. People all around the world have joined together in offering support to the island nation through donations of money, food and medical supplies. However, there's a type of relief that can't be quantified in dollars, and it's the type that keeps people's spirits up in the wake of a disaster - and Japan's tokusatsu heroes have risen to the challenge.

For those of you not familiar with the tokusatsu genre, it's a genre that revolves around a costumed fighter (or team of fighters) battling evil monsters, who are usually just guys in obvious rubber suits. While the tokusatsu genre enjoyed brief popularity in the West during the 1990s thanks to the advent of shows like Power Rangers, it's been popular in Japan for decades - and remains so to this day.

In the aftermath of the Sendai earthquake, Japan's many tokusatsu stars have been fighting a different sort of battle than the one they wage against evil forces on TV. Tokusatsu heroes past and present have been posting encouraging messages to a special Twitter account, the aptly named @tokusatsuhero, encouraging their younger fans to keep up hope in times of crisis.

The @tokusatsuhero account was started by actor Teruaki Ogawa, known for his role as NinjaRed in Ninja Sentai Kakuranger, but the comments are coming from dozens of fictional heroes. The actors are the ones who are writing the messages, of course, but they're written wholly in-character and signed as the actual heroes from series like Ultraman, Kamen Rider and Super Sentai:

Children, please endure these tough times just a little bit longer. Please, keep it up. Just remember that us heroes will always be by your side. - Kotaro Minami (Kamen Rider Black)

You've all done well up until now! Things may be difficult even from now but only you can help the people who are around you. You have a power that even we cannot match! That is the finishing attack known as a smile! Even if it's hard now, someday you will be able to save people too! - Ultraman Agul/Hiroya Fujimiya (Ultraman Gaia)

Is everyone ok? The earthquake was scary huh? But now is the time where we all need to combine our powers!! Don't be down, let's use our fantastic technique of a smile to bring smiles on others! GekiBlue - Retsu Fukami (Juken Sentai Gekiranger)

To the boys and girls of this disaster. I'm sure things are painful for you right now. If it is hard on you, you should know that crying is ok. You don't have to hold in your tears. However, you must keep your mind/spirit strong. If you show your strong self, surely that will help the people around you. I also have to keep strong. shu*~ -From Kamen Rider Hibiki (Kamen Rider Hibiki)

As an adult looking in on the Japanese recovery from the outside, it's tempting to just shrug your shoulders and roll your eyes at this whole thing. Obviously, these messages aren't coming from the real heroes - they're just coming from actors who play them on TV. There are probably more than a few of you who think this is all a bit silly.

But imagine that you're a ten-year-old kid in Japan. You've had to evacuate your home and you're living in a shelter. You're scared and a bit confused, and so is everyone around you - and then you get a message from one of the heroes you admire on a TV show you love, telling you "Hey, it's okay to be scared, but keep your head high because we'll get through this." That's the sort of impact that simply can't be measured.

It's easy to forget that in times of crisis, emotional and spiritual aid is just as important as physical and medical aid. Luckily, Japan's tokusatsu heroes haven't forgotten.

A collection of translated messages can be found here, as translated by 4chan's /m/ board. Never let it be said that Anonymous never helps.

(@tokusatsuhero)

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That's really sweet and should be uplifting to the kids. God knows they need to hear these kinds of things.

I believe I speak for everyone when I say, FUCK YEAH KAMEN RIDER!

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Brofist!

That is really, really cheesy. But still, given the seriousness of the situation, I guess every bit helps.

Gacchi Rangers should be there aswell...j/k ;)

Dem Japanese rangers are cool, brofisting for justice.

As a fan of tokusatsu, this really warms my heart that this going on. Proof that real heroes don't need gadgets or powers, but simply need to inspire hope in those that watch them. Props to the actors for remaining in character and using that to help in this devastating time for their countrymen

(End mushy somewhat unprepared rant)

maybe they need a huggies commercial to brighten their day.


Seriously though, good for them, I hope this blows over soon.

Aww. That's touching. It's good that they think of how more devastating the catastrophe can be for the kids.

On a complete side-note: It looks like John Funk is going over 9000.

There are the Three Kingdoms of Man. The Body, Mind, and Spirit, and right now the Japanese are the embodiment of all three. Even as an young adult I can understand that even the children require this reassurance that they have a part to play in this crises. This may seem cheesy to some, but it's important.

Good for them. At least they are looking out for other people than themselves

That's really touching. It's horrible over there and it's good that they're helping, if only in an emotional sort of way. (not crying)

The real heroes are the 50 Guys fighting Day and Night to keep the reactors from exploding though while exposing themselves to the radiation.
I hope the Japanese Media is praising these people and give them more attention than made-up heroes.

Anything to keep them going.

Notice no riots, no whiners, no looters...

No people saying "The emperor must not like Japanese people."

Or any foolishness... seriously, this is why I love the Japanese culture and it's people.

Did anybody think about the eight melodies theme from earthbound play in your head as you read the encouraging words of the super heroes?

I can't start to imagine how pissed Godzilla must be.

standokan:
I can't start to imagine how pissed Godzilla must be.

Damnit! Ninja'd!

icyneesan:
I believe I speak for everyone when I say, FUCK YEAH KAMEN RIDER!

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Brofist!

For about two seconds, I was like "What the Fuck is that a picture of"

Then read bro-fist

Now I simply agree with the picture

It's hard not to smile looking at a costume like the one in the OP.

benzooka:
On a complete side-note: It looks like John Funk is going over 9000.

WHAT! NINE-THOUSAND???

Seems cool to me, a lot like other celebrities pitching in to increase morale in other disasters. I see nothing to criticize here honestly.

What annoys me is when celebrities show up at disaster sites with a shovel or something to grab a quick headline or photo op. Sending support this way and keeping out of the way is pretty cool though.

Now let's hope that we don't see a Japanese version of Kayne West going off about the old Eta class or something. :)

( While not as big a deal as it once was, the Eta class was the lowest caste of Japanese society in the old days who did all the worst jobs. Even when done away with there has been discrimination against them, including things like people snooping family records of grooms and brides to ensure there was no Eta connection in someone's bloodline. Every once in a while you still hear a little something about it in discussions about discrimination on a global scale ).

Yeah, that's pretty awesome.

What? You want me to make a post with actual content? There's nothing more to say. It's awesome, final.

I used to love those kind of shows... Well it is kinda cheesy, but still very sweet. Then again that's probably the best way to describe the shows too. (Ah nostalgia :D)

i see the people of 4chan are doing good things again.as that said to the /v/ forum!!

Tsaba:
maybe they need a huggies commercial to brighten their day.


Seriously though, good for them, I hope this blows over soon.

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An Earthquake and Tsunami isn't going to just "blow over".

I doesn't get much cooler than the actors of Super Sentai, Kamen Rider, and Ultraman encouraging kids to be cheerful.

That's their central job on the shows anyway, but them making the point know in real life is really pleasing to hear.

That's what I call patriotism.

icyneesan:
I believe I speak for everyone when I say, FUCK YEAH KAMEN RIDER!

image

Brofist!

no man, respek knuckles

I say to hell with the people who'd call this pointless and cheesey.

Will kids feel relieved to see men in white suits? To see vans and makeshift shelters?
Of course not. These heroes fill the same space in the childrens minds that the old heroes, the Turtles, Powerangers and Mario, did for me at their age.
Heroes exist to inspire and direct when we need it most.

Stories like this just warm my heart. Hope for a speedy recovery, Japan.

KAMEN RIDERS UNITE!!!!

Sorry about that. I guess the spirit of this got me a little over excited. I tip my hat to those actors for the tweets.

They're doing what all heroes are made to do. Inspire.

Etherlad:
The real heroes are the 50 Guys fighting Day and Night to keep the reactors from exploding though while exposing themselves to the radiation.
I hope the Japanese Media is praising these people and give them more attention than made-up heroes.

I'm sure every teenager and adult in Japan is incredibly grateful to those guys who are almost literally throwing themselves into the fire. As they should be.

That said, I'm sure that there is no harm or intent to subvert the efforts of these total champs, by allowing popular television heroes to tell their young audience to stay strong. They will have heard the message, but in this case it is the delivery that counts.

Aww, that's really sweet. It's a little thing but even the little things can make a big difference.

Really, really sweet, though I'm sure if anyone did that over here for Katrina, they would've been arrested for indecent exposure and disturbing the peace.

Frankly, that's fucking adorable. Almost brought a tear to my eye, even. I don't think I've ever seen such a sweet display of caring from the mass media. Just think of all the little Japanese kids and how they're reacting to their heroes reaching out to them when they truly need it most. :'3

Id almost give something to see a guy running around dressed as Viewtiful Joe.

Id actually give something if that guy happens to be of the right proportions to look like Joe too.

Those actually were quite touching. I can't imagine how small kids are coping with having their whole towns swept away by a wall of water.

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