Unfortunately for those who prefer to confuse fantasy with reality, Gotham City is a fictional place, home to a superhero (also fictional) who wears black on the outside, because that is what he feels on the inside. Chiba, on the other hand, an actual place (it’s a prefecture of Japan, east of Tokyo) that’s home to a would-be superhero (also real), whom the press and onlookers have dubbed “Chibatman” — and who looks very much like the real (which is to say, fake) thing.
Unlike the desperately-in-need-of-a-some-deodorant superheroes you’ll often encounter in Times Square or on Hollywood Boulevard, Chibatman wears a costume that looks like it might have been lifted from one of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight films. And the thee-wheeled Batcycle he’s often seen riding seems to have come off the drawing board of Lucius Fox.
According to a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, photos of the fake/real Caped Crusader started popping up on Twitter about three years ago. Even now, the residents of Chiba seem to know as much about Chibatman’s real identity as your average Gothamite knows about Batman’s, but that hasn’t stopped them from sharing pictures and videos anytime they encounter him — sometimes even zipping by on the highway.
Unlike the bedraggled variety of superheroes that loiter in Times Square, there have been no reports of Chibatman engaging in fisticuffs with other masked characters. On the other hand, unlike the real Batman, there have been several pictures posted where he’s seen waiting patiently (like any good citizen) in traffic.
Photo credits: @snsd_mumin/Twitter, @slotpro007Twitter