This is Tadahiro Kanemasu, the “Carry-Your-Pram-Ranger.”
He is an IRL superhero who chills out in a green outfit with silver trim and mask, waiting by the stairs of a Tokyo subway station to lend his strength and exquisite manners to the elderly and passengers who need help carrying heavy packages, as well as mothers with baby strollers. Photos by REUTERS/Yuya Shino.
So, this is pretty great.
But why does Tadahiro Kanemasu dress up in a superhero costume to help people carry things down the subway stairs? Why not simply dress normally?
I’m reminded of the story of the ring of invisibility found by Gyges the shepherd in Book II of Plato’s Republic, through which Glaucon alleges that no one who can act anonymously or in secret will act justly:
Now if there were two such rings, and the just man would put one on, and the unjust man the other, no one, as it would seem, would be so adamant as to stick by justice and bring himself to keep away from what belongs to others and not lay hold of it, although he had license to take what he wanted from the market without fear, and to go into houses and have intercourse with whomever he wanted, and to slay or release from bonds whomever he wanted, and to do other things as an equal to a god among humans. And in so doing, one would act no differently from the other, but both would go the same way. And yet, someone could say that this is great proof that no one is willingly just but only when compelled to be so. Men do not take it to be a good for them in private, since wherever each supposes he can do injustice, he does it. Indeed, all men suppose injustice is far more to their private profit than justice. And what they suppose is true, as the man who makes this kind of an argument will say, since if a man were to get hold of such license and were never willing to do any injustice and didn’t lay his hands on what belongs to others, he would seem most wretched to those who were aware of it, and most foolish too, although they would praise him to each others’ faces, deceiving each other for fear of suffering injustice (360c-d).