Meet Tokyo's subway superhero

Mr Tadahiro Kanemasu, carries a woman's shopping cart on Friday.

In a green outfit with silver trim and matching mask, a 'superhero' waits by the stairs of a Tokyo subway station.

He lends his strength to elderly passengers lugging heavy packages and mothers with baby strollers. "Japanese people find it hard to accept help, they feel obligated to the other person, so the mask really helps me out," said Mr Tadahiro Kanemasu.

The slender 27-year-old, who calls his alter ego "Carry-Your-Pram-Ranger", has spent three months being a good Samaritan at the station on Tokyo's western side, Reuters reported.

Like many stations in the city, it has neither lifts nor escalators, only a long flight of dimly lit stairs.

Inspiration came from the children Mr Kanemasu met at his job at an organic green grocer's, which also prompted the colour of his costume.

He picked up the green Power Rangers suit and two spares for 4,000 yen (S$52) each.

Since Mr Kanemasu can set aside only a couple of hours each day for his good deeds, he hopes to recruit others in different coloured suits.

Already he has inquiries about pink and red.

"This station has neither escalators nor barrier-free equipment, so people appreciate his service very much," Ms Akiko Tsuboki, a local resident with a five-year-old son, told Reuters.

"He was a great help... though I thought he's a bit odd," 29-year-old businesswoman Natsumi Harashima said after the good samaritan helped her carry her suitcase up the subway stairs.

Children generally gravitate towards Mr Kanemasu when they see the local superhero costume, CBS News reported.

"He looks like a hero to me," said five-year-old Ruka Tsuboki. Mr Hayato Ito, who works alongside Mr Kanemasu at the green grocer's, said his colleague's kindness to others over the years meant that his alter ego did not come as a complete surprise.

"There were hints of this from a long time ago, but finally he flowered as a hero," Mr Ito said.

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