Ryosuke Kaizu (Real Name Inaba Kazunori) was Red Mask from the iconic sentai show Hikari Sentai Maskman. For those unfamilliar with the term, think of Sentai as the collective for all the “Power Rangers” shows in the US, which as you all know has its roots in Japanese superhero shows, known as “Sentai”.
(Note: from here on we will refer to Kazunori as Ryosuke Kaizu, the screen name instead of the real one)
Life After Hikari Sentai Maskman
Kaizu, years after the show, settled in the Philippines with Filipina wife Georgette Anne Inaba. They have a family and are relatively quiet folks; they rarely do interviews. After all, if you are not into Japanese culture, specifically into sentai shows, you probably would not know who they are or noticed them in public.
The Interview Preparations
Alas, there was supposed to be an interview. A magazine television show was supposed to interview Kaizu. In goodwill, and knowing the show’s reputation, the couple convinced the other Sentai actors to come and be part of the supposed interview. (It is not clear at this point if these actors are also from Hikari Sentai Maskman). As mentioned by Inaba on Facebook, some of these actors cancelled their commitments even though they won’t get paid for this particular interview.
The interview was supposed to happen at 5pm on September 2. Preparations have already been made. Commitments already got cancelled for this to push through.
But it will never take place anymore
Some hours before I wrote this, Inaba received confirmation of the interview’s cancellation. The Kaizu couple felt they were made fools and were deeply embarrassed; they can’t even face the Sentai actors because of this fiasco. We all know that these guys are Japanese and they probably value their time, just like any other person should respect other people’s time and effort. Think about all those other commitments that they could have continue but didn’t because of this reunion interview and as goodwill to Kaizu, the red mask and their friend who probably requested for them to come. Inaba posted a status on Facebook to express her disappointment.
Apparently Inaba and Kaizu already received a reply from the show after the Facebook status was posted. According to a follow up, the interview was already cancelled by the show but the couple were not informed immediately. Had Inaba not posted the status message, they would not even know about the cancellation; the Sentai actors would have been waiting for some time in the couple’s restaurant for an event that will never take place. Also according to Inaba, the researcher even got irked, angry, and asking why she needed to even posted the status.
This is quite a fiasco and I believe an investigation by the show (Kapuso Mo: Jessica Soho / One at Heart: Jessica Soho) is already ongoing.
Now, sentai shows are part of my childhood. I am quite aware that there is a very big subculture / fan community centered around the topic of Sentai and Kamen Riders. I hope the interview with Sentai actors become a reality. It will be gold and a treat to the fans. :) After all, when the original actor who played as Kamen Rider Black reprised his role in Kamen Rider Decade, decades after Black aired on television, I literally got goosebumps:
Explaining the Reaction
Also as an insight, I think, from another cultual standpoint, one can say that “so it got cancelled, what’s the deal with that reaction? Why do they feel embarassed? It’s not like they were already here”.
However, I believe, there is something in Japanese culture that really really values the notion of commitment and trust. While I can’t explain it properly, think of all those samurai who committed Harakiri when they get defeated and cannot face anyone, or when Sony execs bowed for a number of seconds to apologize for the hacking of the Playstation Netwok years back. I will welcome in my blog any form of cultural explanation about this incident.