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Date Posted: 2011-01-14

Nobody really knows what the deal is, but the Chuo Child Consultation Center in Gunma Prefecture was elated Christmas Day to discover ten boxes filled with school bags on the facility doorstep, with a note signed by a "Naoto Date".

It didn't make a lot of sense for a couple days, until Keiichi Matsuba reported the gifts, and another employee, Kuniyuki Takizawa, realized Naoto Date was the name of a hero character in "Tiger Mask", a popular television program that aired between 19690-1971. "I suspect that someone in his 50's or so had a similar experience with Tiger Mask and sent the gifts. We don't plan to search for him," the 51-year-old Matsuba says.

Okinawa was a recipient of the mysterious donations, too. Three children's school bags, along with stationary and toys, have popped up at a children's facility in Nanjo City. Accompanying the bags was a note that said "I saw the news of Tiger Mask so I want to be a Tiger Mask," adding "I would like to help children."

Since the initial reports of gifts, child welfare agencies in Kanagawa, Gifu, Nagano and Nagasaki have also reported receiving school bags or donations. Tiger Mask was the action hero of a cartoon published in a serialized form in a boys magazine in 1968, then became a television series. This Date Naoto was an orphan boy who became a masked professional wrestler who took the name ‘Tiger Mask' and attacked bad people.

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