Does the Dark Knight really exist? Well, kinda…
Since 2011, an unidentified gentleman has been buzzing around Japanese motorways on a custom made Batpod while dressed as a certain caped crusader. He’s known locally as “Chibatman” because he lives somewhere in Chiba Prefecture, the region where Tokyo and Hokkaido are located.
Not much is known about Chibatman’s secret identity other than that he’s 41 years old and he also works as a welder at a shipyard. His three-wheeled “Chibatpod” cost him around $5,700 US to construct and he had to import many of the parts from overseas.
Chibatman is reportedly single. However, just like Batman, he’s eager to keep his personal life totally private. Plus, a la the Gotham City PD, the local police force isn’t completely on board with this whole thing. They recently asked Chibatman to visit a nearby precinct for a little chat. Instead of asking him to knock it off, they just wanted to make sure that his Chibatpod met various vehicle regulations and that his cape was properly attached to his armor. The police were worried that it might fly off and hit another motorist’s windshield.
Unlike the Dark Knight, however, Chibatman doesn’t fight crime or homicidal clowns. Instead, he just wants to make people happy. During interviews and his encounters with the public, Chibatman speaks in a raspy voice much like the one actor Christian Bale used for the recent Batman trilogy. Between treks on his Chibatpod, he explained his ongoing mission to a camera crew from BBC News.
“I started doing this around three years ago,” he said. “As for my reasons, during the great [2011 Fukushima] earthquake, people forgot how to smile. I wanted to help bring the smile back and that’s why I started.”