Superheros Japanese style

I’m sure everyone had a favorite superhero at some point in their childhood.  Superman, Batman, perhaps Green Arrow.  You could probably agree that superheros perpetuate certain social-political archetypes, based on classic paradigms like good vs. evil.  Fighting bad guys, capturing criminals, rescuing helpless cats from tall trees.  Superheros reinforce everything that is morally acceptable and good, exhibiting humanistic qualities you could say.  Often they captivate children’s imaginations with their good deeds and feats of superheroism.  So perhaps we could take the narrative a step further and suggest that such characters are useful in disseminating social rhetoric.

Take this guy for example:

                                                 ザ シートベルト

The large red lettering to his right reads, “A habit! The seatbelt”.  I suppose he is probably The Seatbelt Superhero, fighting for a safer society; one which has all citizens safely buckled up.  His cause is a good one too.  I can’t count the number of times I have seen children riding around on their parents laps in Japan, completely unbuckled, while they drive along, putting both themselves and their children in reckless danger.  Or people who sit in the backseat of cars, unbuckled for whatever reason.  There really is no excuse.

Maybe these kinds of characters appeal to the innate morality of parents out there on the winding, narrow roads that permeate Japan.  If so, then perhaps we would witness less people riding around unbuckled, rolling the fate dice, flirting with probability and statistics.

Best just to buckle up.  If not for any other reason than for the sake of super-cool superheros like “Za Shi-toberuto”.  Do your thing, Seatbelt Man!  Keep fighting the good fight!


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