While many of my readers come here to read my opinions on things like art, architecture, the Church, society, and so on, I’m also aware that some of my most popular posts in terms of statistics are actually ones touching on the world of superheroes. To that end, and since Fridays no one really wants to be reading the kind of involved essays I typically write, for the next few weeks I’m going to try making Fridays a superhero-themed blog day, and see what the reaction is. I haven’t thought of a clever title for this feature, so if you want to suggest one, please drop me a line using the “Contact” tab above.
Today I thought I’d highlight a real-life superhero on the streets of Tokyo. Mangetsu-man is not a figure known to most of my readers outside of Japan, I expect. However, when I read this story I thought, “Now that’s really what being a superhero is all about.”
Mangestu-man (“Mr. Full Moon”) has become a well-known figure on the streets of the Japanese capital over the past year, with his purple cape and giant. tennis ball-like head. He spends most of his time tidying up litter, and encouraging the citizens of his fair city to be civil and clean. Frankly, many Western cities have become so filthy and uncivil that they could do with an army of Mr. Full Moons.
In keeping his city clean, Mangetsu-man’s particular area of interest is the Nihonbashi Bridge. This is partially because he is trying to draw attention to efforts for its restoration and rehabilitation. In the 1960’s, Tokyo rather stupidly built a freeway over the most beautiful old bridge in the city. In doing so, the authorities not only created a blighted area under the freeway, which is covered in the trash discarded by passing motorists above, but they also obscured the views of Japan’s beloved Mount Fuji.
As someone who appreciates civility, architectural restoration, and superheroes, clearly I have a warm spot in my heart for Mangestu-man. If you can read Japanese, his Twitter account may be found here. Keep up the good work, Mr. Full Moon!