Kamen Rider

From Academic Kids

Kamen Rider (仮面ライダー, literally "Masked Rider") is a very famous and successful Japanese superhero franchise created by Shotaro Ishinomori. It premiered on TV Asahi (as tokusatsu TV show) and Shonen Magazine (as manga) almost simultaneously in 1971. Described as Japan's answer to Spider-Man, this series is one of the prominent tokusatsu productions from Japan, along with Ultraman, Super Sentai, and Metal Heroes.


Original story

The story took place in a world plagued by the mysterious terrorist organization Shocker. To fulfill its plan of world domination, the group recruited its agents through kidnapping, turning them into monstrous cyborgs using advanced technology and, ultimately, performed DNA manipulation. However, one of the victims was rescued just before the final step, and his name was Takeshi Hongo. With his sanity and moral conscience remaining intact, Hongo assumed the identity of the costumed superhero Kamen Rider and battled Shocker with his newly acquired powers of strength & speed as well as his customized super motorcycle Cyclone.


In 1970, while the original "Kamen (Masked) Rider" series was still in massive development, creator Shotaro Ishinomori created a one-shot, 100-page manga called Skull Man as his personal version of this series. Published by Shonen Magazine, it was a huge success, selling 1.5 million copies. The producers at Toei Company Ltd. used this manga as the basis for this show but with some changes, as the manga story was too dark and gruesome (even cerebral) for a children show. For the show, Ishinomori played around with Skull Man's design, until he came up with several variants, including a grasshopper version. Since it was supposed to be a show for children, he let his then-5 year old son Jou Onodera pick one of the designs. The child ultimately picked the grasshopper version, which was then called "Masked Rider Hopper King". The "Hopper King" part of the name was excised, and the rest became history.

There is no doubt that earlier TV superheroes like Moonlight Mask has had an influence on Kamen Rider's creation as well.

Live action shows

The TV show premiered on TV Asahi in April 1971. During the shooting of early episodes, an accident happened, causing a severe injury to Hiroshi Fujioka, the actor playing Takeshi Hongo. To keep the series going, a second Kamen Rider was introduced in episode 14 to replace Hongo's role as Japan's guardian angel. Hayato Ichimonji, better known as Kamen Rider 2, did a short sequence of arm-waving motions and uttered "Henshin!" (literally "transform") whenever he wanted to switch from his human guise to the Rider form. The stylish pose was immensely popular among the young audience and the show became an immediate sensation.

Ratings were further boosted when Fujioka returned to the stage in episode 40, now known as Kamen Rider 1. The show spanned 2 years and ended in episode 98 with the Double Riders defeating Shocker and its reincarnation Gel-Shocker. It spawned many sequels and acted as the role model for numerous superhero shows of the same genre that followed, affectionately referred to as henshin heroes.

The classic Kamen Rider shows were produced by Toru Hirayama, with Shotaro Ishinomori at the helm of character design. The continuous run from April 1971 to January 1976 distinguished itself by featuring the recurrent mentor character Tobei Tachibana:

After a 4-year hiatus, the series returned to television broadcast in October 1979 for 2 years. In these new shows, the role of Tobei Tachibana was replaced by a similar character called Genjiro Tani:

ZX, the 10th Kamen Rider, was introduced in a TV special on January 3, 1984. It was the last Kamen Rider show to be produced by Hirayama:

Kamen Rider Black was the first series that neither indicated nor even hinted any relationship with the old canon. It adopted a more mature theme than its predecessors. The show was so well received by the audience that it spawned a "canonical" sequel, Kamen Rider Black RX, the basis of Saban's Americanized Masked Rider. At the end of Kamen Rider Black RX, all previous 10 Riders returned to help Black RX defeat the Crisis Empire. This remains the last team-up of the original Riders on the TV screen:

The Kamen Rider legacy was totally absent from television in the 1990s. However it had several theatrical and home video releases during the decade:

The series returned to television in 2000, 2 years after Shotaro Ishinomori's death in 1998. It has since become a regular feature of TV Asahi. Like their predecessors, the new shows are joint collaboration between Ishimori Productions, Ishinomori's studio, and Toei:


Many Kamen Rider mangas had been published, but only the following few were penned and drawn by Ishinomori himself:

The original manga in 1971 (first run) was quite different from the TV series with respect to its response to the Fujioka accident. In the manga, Hongo was outnumbered by 12 Shocker Riders and was killed subsequently. Ichimonji Hayato, initially one of the twelve, received a head injury during the fight and regained conscience as a result. He then turned against Shocker and succeeded Hongo's role as Kamen Rider. Hongo was resurrected near the end of the series, nevertheless.


So far only one Kamen Rider anime has seen the light of day. It belongs to the super deformed genre and is a parody of its live action counterparts:

Movie remake

Kamen Rider The First (or Masked Rider The First, its international title), the first movie remake of the original Double Rider story (and based more closely on Ishinomori's manga), is scheduled to premiere in the Japanese theaters in November 2005. More details will be revealed later.

Other merchandises

Numerous Kamen Rider products, notably toys, can be found in the market, and the list is ever-expanding. Most of them, if not all, are licensed to Bandai.


The first Kamen Riders, although based on grasshopper, were renamed "Ai Mod Dang" (ant man) in Thailand.


TV Asahi



  • Ishimori@Style (http://www.ishimoripro.com) - Shotaro Ishinomori with Ishimori Productions Official Website
  • The Kamen Riders (http://incolor.inetnebr.com/stuart/riders/) - Fansite with information and photos from the older Kamen Rider series
  • Igadevil's Kamen Rider Page (http://www.igadevil.com) - Fansite with information and photos on Kamen Rider TV series and movies, plus more.

Preceded by:
Kamen Rider (TV series)
Apr 03 1971 – Feb 10 1973
Succeeded by:
Kamen Rider V3

Template:End box

ja:仮面ライダー fi:Kamen Rider th:มาสก์ไรเดอร์


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