Tetsuo Kurata portrayed the protagonist Minami Kotaro in Kamen Rider Black (1987) and Kamen Rider Black RX (1988). During a broadcast on 17LIVE, a livestreaming app, on April 3, which was the 50th Anniversary of Kamen Rider, the actor made controversial remarks that surprised viewers.
The livestream itself was also hit with some controversy. To those who didn’t donate, Kurata questioned if the viewer was “really his fan” and “why are you here if you’re not going to do anything (donate)?” Kurara also commented that he has “come to like and dislike fans, too” then proceeded to block those who didn’t donate. When he did receive a donation, he was in a much happier mood.
The remarks were also a surprise because the second major announcement made on the day was a reboot of Kamen Rider Black entitled Kamen Rider Black Sun. Kazuya Shiraishi was announced as director of the reboot. Many believed Kurata would celebrate the news, but that wasn’t the case, and instead dismissed it.
In the video, Kurata made a few surprising statements:
- “I don’t like the story of Kamen Rider.”
- “Even if it’s the 50th anniversary, I’m not a Kamen Rider.”
- “I just happened to be a Rider in the past.”
- “I don’t really like Kamen Rider.”
Fans expressed how they felt disappointed during the livestream:
- “What are you saying, Kurata-san? You don’t like Kamen Rider?”
- “…but why would you say that on the day of the 50th anniversary of Kamen Rider?”
- “I was so disappointed that I stopped being a (Kamen Rider) Black fan.”
Kurata is currently the owner of a steak restaurant, but Kamen Rider has an existence there. In February, a magazine interviewed the sculptor, A-san, who made a life-sized statue of Kamen Rider Black, free of charge.
A-san made the statue in 2018 under the condition that Kurata would not use it for commercial purposes, and instead had set up space in his home to display the statue. However, Kurata broke the conditions and used it inside the store for three years. At the 13th anniversary event in February, a sticker with an image of Kurata with the statue was distributed.
“It should have been used for private use, but it’s being used illegally to attract customers to Kurata-san’s store.” said A-san. Kurata believes that his fans are the ones who want to see it in the store and has “no choice” but to display it in the restaurant.
On November 6, in an interview with Tamashii Web, Kurata spoke about his thoughts on Kamen Rider Black. During the interview, he stated that many Kamen Rider Black fans visited his store. They told them how they felt about the series and hoped that he would reprise the role. Kurata commented that he believed it was his destiny to continue to be Minami Kotaro/Kamen Rider Black.
Kurata must have once appreciated the role, as he named his son Kotaro after the Kamen Rider Black protagonist. Some believe that the rant is inconsistent with Kurata’s past actions in favor of the series and should be dismissed.
Kurata has continued to benefit from Kamen Rider Black, even though those may have been “careless remarks.” Yet, after the April 3 interview, many fans felt as though their feelings had been trampled on by Kurata. The actor was in the role for two years in Black and Black RX, which was a first for the series. He may have begun to resent it as he didn’t want to be type-cast or only seen as Kotaro instead of Kurata. Kurata has also expressed that he wasn’t satisfied with his acting debut.
Although many try to defend Kurata’s rant on 17LIVE, it doesn’t explain the current allegations against him from fans in multiple countries. Kurata has also recently been accused of trying to seek out money from fans and illegally holding bus tours. Although questioned several times, he continues to press fans for more donations into 2021 and then block them after they refuse.
Here’s a re-uploaded video (in Japanese) of the April 3 event: