Cherry trees in Tokyo reached its full bloom, despite freezing temperatures that held on up until this week. We admired sakura around Izu already a month ago, but this time, we geeked out on a special hanami event: The Kamen Rider Honda Motorcycle Exhibition.
Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー), the epic Japanese superhero television series by the artist Shotaro Ishinomori, debuted on television on exactly this day (April 3rd) in 1971. Happy anniversary!
After 1st airing in 1971, the series became an ultimate hit!
For those who have never seen this image before: The typical superhero story-line follows a villain Shocker, the mysterious global organization of evil, that is turning their victims into brainwashed mutant cyborgs. However, one mutant cyborg (Hongo) manages to maintain his sanity and morality, and battles Shocker's evil as a grasshopper/human superhero Kamen Rider. When another victim escapes brainwashing, we have Kamen Rider 1 and Kamen rider 2, and then… the details are not really important.
What’s most important (for us bikers) in this story, are the motorcycles, the ultimate battle vehicles, called the "Rider Machines".
Rider Machines were mainly produced bySuzuki, while other manufacturers had a fair share as well: Honda's custom Cyclones might have been the most famous ones, followed by Yamaha, and even foreign brands like Harley Davidson, Ducati and Gas Gas.
On my way to a business meeting at an office in Aoyama, I was in for a treat: Honda held a special exhibition of Kamen Rider series motorcycles, showcasing 3 Rider Machines at their Honda “Welcome Plaza” exhibition area in the Aoyama office building.
One of the bikes was there just in time for hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season, the “Sakura Hurricane” motorcycle, otherwise known as the CRF 250 L:
The "Sakura Hurricane" was the first of the "Lock Vehicles", carrying a "Lockseed" - a mysterious and complex device you can read more about at the Kamen Rider wiki page.
Here are the images of the Rider Machines in genuine Kamen Rider action:
Kamen Rider remains an epic show after decades due to its (complex superhero story-line) and daring motorcycle stunts without any CGI effects. Kamen Rider hero Takeshi Hongo was initially played by Hiroshi Fujioka, Japanese cultural icon that even has a minor planet named in his honor. Fujioka did all stunts on his own, but injured his leg during one of them. During the recovery time, Takeshi Sasaki took his role, and the 2 excellent riders worked together at a later stage.
Motojapan trivia: Hiroshi Fujioka now rides Suzuki Hayabusa GSX1300R, which is also Kazuto's bike choice:
At the very end, a picture of me fascinated by the sweet moto surprise exhibition in the middle of the workday:
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