Although the Batman of Japan’s Chiba Prefecture — or, as he prefers, “Chibatman” — drew international attention just last week, it turns out he’s been riding around east of Tokyo on his custom Batpod since 2011.
Reuters and BBC News caught up to the 41-year-old man, a welder by day whose identity remains secret. However, unlike the Dark Knight who patrols the streets of Gotham, Chibatman doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of evildoers. Instead, his mission is to bring smiles to those who see him.
“I started doing this around three years ago,” he told BBC News, mimicking Christian Bale’s signature raspy voice. “As for my reasons, during the great earthquake [the 2011 Fukushima earthquake], people forgot how to smile. I wanted to help bring the smile back, and that’s why I started.”
He constructed the Chibatpod himself, importing most of the parts and customizing the bike himself, at a cost of about $5,700 U.S.