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Green-clad Superhero Event Spawns Miracle of Tokusatsu Stunts, Choreography

Members of the unit Iindayo Greendayozu, left and right, pose with Kosuke Asai, second from left, and Yasuhiro Takeuchi at Iindayo Greendayozu Matsuri in September.

It has been about 20 years since I started organizing events about superheroes from tokusatsu sci-fi action TV shows and films. Why me, a newspaper reporter? Well, 20 years ago, no one was thinking of holding tokusatsu speaking events. Since no one was doing it, I thought I might give it a go, and I didn’t stop to consider profitability. At first, my events were small, but many of them are still around.

Today there are many major official tokusatsu events. However, I like to tell myself that I was the one who blazed that trail.

Since I have been organizing the shows in my own way, sometimes miracles occur that would be inconceivable for events held to turn a profit.

One such miracle is Iindayo Greendayozu, a pair of actors who have played superheroes in green costumes in Super Sentai series TV dramas. Superhero teams in the series usually consist of five or six members who are clad in costumes of different colors, one of which is often green.

Things got rolling when I started an event with Jiro Okamoto, who played Kamen Rider BLACK and other superheroes as a suit actor — an actor who plays a superhero after transformation with a mask and a full-body suit. Since Okamoto was not used to giving talks on stage, I asked two actors who were good friends with him to provide support. They were Kihachiro Uemura, who played the Green Flash in “Choshinsei Flashman,” and Kenji Takechi, a suit actor for Oh Green in “Chouriki Sentai Ohranger.”

At Okamoto’s event, the two of them came on stage as a mysterious superhero unit wearing green fabric masks and T-shirts with hand-painted illustrations. They called themselves Iindayo Greendayozu, which can be roughly translated as, “It’s OK, we’re green.” The audience loved their DIY look and direct manner. Since then, they have joined various tokusatsu events I have organized, building a reputation as heroes exclusive to my events.

Officially, Uemura and Takechi deny they have anything to do with Iindayo Greendayozu, dutifully following one of the customary rules of tokusatsu shows from the Showa era (1926-89), that the identities of heroes ought to be kept secret.

In May this year, the two were guests at Kanreki Matsuri, one of my regular tokusatsu events with actors aged 60 or older. At the event, they managed to sell 70 cups of green drinks, thereby meeting their quota and earning themselves their own event in late September.

They wore new green masks at the Sept. 30 event, called Iindayo Greendayozu Matsuri. Joined by popular suit actors Yasuhiro Takeuchi and Kosuke Asai, Uemura and Takechi won over the audience with their words, singing and gesture games, bringing roars of laughter to the venue. Much-loved suit actress Naoko Kamio appeared on stage halfway through the show to add even more appeal.

Also taking part was singer Hideaki Takatori, as well as actors Kenji Tominaga, Kazutoshi Yokoyama and Ryoko Gomi, who came on stage from the audience.

The most breathtaking part happened toward the end, when all the participants demonstrated stage combat and their nanori, where a superhero introduces himself or herself with a distinct call and choreography. Until then, they were toasting and fooling around on stage. But once the demonstrations started, each of them performed rapidly paced stunts and executed their nanori with all seriousness, carefully controlling their movements, even down to their fingertips. Awed gasps were heard from the audience. Even though the event itself was born of a joke, their performance was the real thing.

This curious happening, one of the miracles that have happened at my events, provided us with so much fun. I take pride in the fact that the “green event” has been made possible because I organize it on a personal level, without any business constraints. I will always treasure this event, which is already scheduled to take place next year, too.