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Twins Arrested for Selling Kamen Rider Helmet Replicas

posted on by Ken Iikura-Gross
Toei does not appreciate people using their copyrighted material without permission

While each of the 34 Kamen Rider entries since 1971 have their fans, the original Kamen Rider is still an icon. It's no wonder fans would want life-size replica helmets of the hero. Unfortunately, very few official replicas exist. So fans have resorted to unofficial replicas — and those unauthorized helmets have landed twin brothers in trouble with the law.

Image via www.kamen-rider-official.com

According to the Daily Sports newspaper's website, Toei contacted the Tsukiji Police Department on May 22 to report the unauthorized use of their copyrights and to request legal action. The next day, the police arrested not one suspect, but twins.

According to NHK, the suspects are Yoshikazu Nakatani (65) and his twin brother Hisakazu. The two allegedly sold over 10 million yen (about US$64,000) worth of the Kamen Rider helmets. NHK also noted the twins sold unofficial replica masks of Ultraman. The brothers admitted to the sale of the masks on auctions sites, saying (roughly translated), “Because we wanted to cover living expenses, we sold over 100 [masks].”

While there is a video embedded in the NHK report, they did not make it available on YouTube. Thankfully, the NTV YouTube Channel posted a short report:

Toei released a statement over the incident on May 23 (roughly translated below):

On May 22, 2024, Toei Co., Ltd. reported that persons had been making unauthorized reproductions of life-size masks from the Kamen Rider franchise, to which this Company and Ishimori Productions hold the copyrights, and selling theme on online auction sites. We would like to inform you that the individuals have been arrested by the Tsukiji Police Station on suspicions of violating our copyrights.
Our company will take strict measures against such acts of copyrights infringement (whether criminal or civil), will continue to strengthen the protection of all our copyrights including Kamen Rider, and will continue to protect our users' rights, as well as do our best to deliver compelling works.

We appreciate your continued support.

It should be noted copyright laws in Japan are far different from those in the United States. While this author is no lawyer, it's somewhat well-known Japan has no protections for fair use of an intellectual property. Nonetheless, this case is a clear violation of Toei and Ishimori Productions' copyright. However, this seems more like a civil case rather than a criminal case in the opinion of this writer.

Sources: Toei's website via Toei PR's X/Twitter account, Kamen Rider Official, Daily Sports via Model Press, NHK, NTV's YouTube channel

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