Toshinobu Matsuo (松尾敏伸), a Kamen Rider actor, was recently arrested this week for violating Japan’s Stimulant Law. He tested positive for drugs, but has denied all charges.
Last month, Tsunenori Aoki (青木玄徳), also an actor appearing in Kamen Rider, had been arrested for allegedly causing obscene bodily injury, but charges were dropped.
Both men were supposed to be on the side of justice, but were only wearing a mask.
Dissatisfaction rose from fans after hearing the reports.
Hiroshi Fujioka (藤岡弘), who portrayed the original Kamen Rider, has stated that many popular actors and actresses came from Kamen Rider roots, especially after the year 2000. Many actors strive to take on these roles to get their big break, and not because they take the influence they will have to children to heart.
Fujioka also recalled that he and Hiroshi Miyauchi (宮内洋), who portrayed Shirou Kazami/Kamen Rider V3, had to be conscious of being a hero in their private lives. He stated that Riders had to uphold some morality, even though there have been both good and bad Riders during the series. For some, they may be less aware over time that they have acted as “Ally of Justice.”
Kamen Rider has changed from its Showa roots to the Heisei era. In Kamen Rider Black and Black RX, the same actor, Tetsuo Kurata (倉田てつを), appeared for two series and was not often seen after that. In Kamen Rider Heisei series, it’s not surprising to see a single Rider appear in multiple works. An exception may be movie only riders, such as Kamen Rider Femme in Kamen Rider Ryuki Episode: Final and the special 13 Riders.
If we think of all of the Kamen Riders, Sub-Riders, Enemies, and more that have played a role in the Kamen Rider series, it is easily over 200 people.
Many people have witnessed Matsuo, who not only appeared in the main Kamen Rider Hibiki series as Kabuki/Kamen Rider Kabuki, but also in the film Kamen Rider Hibiki & The Seven Senki.
Aoki appeared as Kamen Rider Duke in Kamen Rider Gaim, but wasn’t only seen as a sub-Rider. He has appeared in numerous dramas, movies, stage plays, and also on NHK’s morning program.
So, to fans, when is an actor only considered for their role in Kamen Rider, and when are they considered a general actor?
Not all actors can be good all the time.
Other actors have also faced trouble after acting in the Kamen Rider series. Yusuke Yamamoto (山本裕典), who portrayed Tsurugi Kamishiro/Kamen Rider Sasword in Kamen Rider Kabuto, was dismissed by his agency by a breach of contract and essentially retired. Shunsuke Takasugi (高杉俊介), who played Kazuya Oki/Kamen Rider Super-1, had taken 50 million yen from fans and refused to return it, even after being sued.
The recent arrests of the actors have made some reconsider if these men can still be considered “Allies of Justice” or “Kamen Riders.”