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RTX35X04
Japan's 'superhuman' athletes
A new generation of Japanese inventors is drawing on the country's rich history of comics and video game culture to create sports with a 21st-century twist - helping players feel "superhuman" through technology or other special equipment.
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W95
May 15, 2017
Noriya Kazami, 25, a cartoonist and an inventor of "Rock Hand Battle" sport, poses for a photograph wearing...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Noriya Kazami, 25, a cartoonist and an inventor of "Rock Hand Battle" sport, poses for a photograph wearing a mask and a "rock hand", in Tokyo, Japan. When it comes to culture and entertainment, Japan has a rich history spanning ancient legends and sport to popular comics and video games. Now a new generation of inventors is drawing on this culture to create sports with a 21st-century twist - helping players feel "superhuman" through technology or other special equipment.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W9H
May 15, 2017
Piyohina, Junpei Sasaki, Rimiko Sakihama (L-R), members of HADO team "Slamdiva", pose for a photograph...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Piyohina, Junpei Sasaki, Rimiko Sakihama (L-R), members of HADO team "Slamdiva", pose for a photograph wearing head-mount displays and armband sensors in Tokyo, Japan. The Superhuman Sports Society, a Tokyo-based group of researchers and game designers, has certified 12 new sports since its launch in 2015, including "HADO", or "wave motion" in English. In "HADO", players in head-mounted augmented-reality displays and armband sensors dodge waves of light as they fire energy balls at each other in a virtual arena. The game is similar to the action seen in the "Dragon Ball" manga-animation franchise and "Street Fighter" video games.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W8O
May 15, 2017
Members of Superhuman Sports Society pose with "rock hands" for "Rock Hand Battle" sport in Tokyo, Japan....
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Members of Superhuman Sports Society pose with "rock hands" for "Rock Hand Battle" sport in Tokyo, Japan. Some games are low tech such as "Rock Hand Battle", in which each player wears an oversized arm and tries to knock off small rocks attached to an opponent's "rock hand".

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W8F
May 15, 2017
Members of Superhuman Sports Society demonstrate "Rock Hand Battle" sport in Tokyo, Japan. Noriya Kazami,...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Members of Superhuman Sports Society demonstrate "Rock Hand Battle" sport in Tokyo, Japan. Noriya Kazami, 25, a cartoonist and an inventor of "Rock Hand Battle" said she took inspiration from the legend of Mitsuishi (Three Rocks) and the Demon's Handprint. She also created a comic book series based on the legend, in which a devil was tied to rocks and made to stop harassing the local people. The devil left a handprint on one of the rocks, making a "rock hand".

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W8Z
May 15, 2017
Ryoichi Ando, 27, a virtual-reality researcher and an inventor of "Bubble Jumper" sport, wears an inflatable...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Ryoichi Ando, 27, a virtual-reality researcher and an inventor of "Bubble Jumper" sport, wears an inflatable bubble protector as he poses during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan. Ando said he felt as if he were wearing the kind of augmented body suit found in science-fiction movies that boosts the wearer's strength.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W90
May 15, 2017
Ryoichi Ando (R), 27, a virtual-reality researcher and an inventor of "Bubble Jumper", competes with...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Ryoichi Ando (R), 27, a virtual-reality researcher and an inventor of "Bubble Jumper", competes with his opponent as they demonstrate the sport in Tokyo, Japan. In "Bubble Jumper", players walking on stilts and wearing inflatable bubble protectors crash into each other like sumo wrestlers.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W9K
May 15, 2017
Isao Uebayashi, 38, a sports science researcher and an inventor of "Slide Lift" sport, poses in a motor-assisted...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Isao Uebayashi, 38, a sports science researcher and an inventor of "Slide Lift" sport, poses in a motor-assisted wheelchair in Tokyo, Japan. "Technology can improve and supplement human ability," said Isao Uebayashi, 38, a sports science researcher and an inventor of "Slide Lift". "Anyone can do 'drift racing' with this wheelchair," he said.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W9G
May 15, 2017
Isao Uebayashi, 38, a sports science researcher and an inventor of "Slide Lift" sport, demonstrates with...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Isao Uebayashi, 38, a sports science researcher and an inventor of "Slide Lift" sport, demonstrates with a motor-assisted wheelchair in Tokyo, Japan. Equipped with special wheels, the motor-assisted wheelchair can be moved by "Slide Lift" racers in any direction, including in racing car-like drifts.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W8J
May 15, 2017
Isao Uebayashi, 38, a sports science researcher and an inventor of "Slide Lift", demonstrates with a...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Isao Uebayashi, 38, a sports science researcher and an inventor of "Slide Lift", demonstrates with a motor-assisted wheelchair in Tokyo, Japan. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W8R
May 15, 2017
Tomohiro Hamamura, 25, who works in IT sales and is a "HADO Kart" player, poses for a photograph wearing...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Tomohiro Hamamura, 25, who works in IT sales and is a "HADO Kart" player, poses for a photograph wearing a head-mount display and an armband sensor in Tokyo, Japan. Hamamura says, "When I play this sport, I don't need to think seriously. I just feel the existence of another world which is different from my real world."

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W8S
May 15, 2017
A passer-by looks at a "Hado Kart" player during the sport's demonstration, in Tokyo, Japan. REUTERS/Kim...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
A passer-by looks at a "Hado Kart" player during the sport's demonstration, in Tokyo, Japan. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W93
May 15, 2017
Piyohina, an Internet idol and singer of animation songs, poses wearing a head-mount display and an armband...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Piyohina, an Internet idol and singer of animation songs, poses wearing a head-mount display and an armband sensor for playing "HADO" in Tokyo, Japan. "When I play HADO, I always simulate in my head the best way to fire an energy ball," Piyohina said.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W9M
May 15, 2017
Junpei Sasaki, a singer and "HADO" player, poses for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan. "Sometimes I can feel...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Junpei Sasaki, a singer and "HADO" player, poses for a photograph in Tokyo, Japan. "Sometimes I can feel the sensation of the energy ball leaving my hand when I play HADO. It makes playing the sport really exciting," Sasaki said. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W8P
May 15, 2017
Hirohiko Hayakawa, 26, a Ph.D. student in media design and an inventor of "ToriTori", poses as he controls...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Hirohiko Hayakawa, 26, a Ph.D. student in media design and an inventor of "ToriTori", poses as he controls a drone in front of a goal net as he demonstrates the sport in Tokyo, Japan. Players controlling the small drones score a point by putting them in the goal net and opponent controlling the big drone acquires a point by capturing the small drone. Hayakawa said: "The drone in the air is a part of the player's body and this sport integrating human and machine makes me experience the feeling of flying." He said he was inspired by the bird catchers ("tori tori" in Japanese) in Kenji Miyazawa's classic 1934 fantasy novel "Night on the Galactic Railroad". REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
JAPAN-SPORTS/SUPERHUMAN
RTX35W9D
May 15, 2017
Kosuke Sato, 25, a Ph.D. student in human informatics and an inventor of "Carry Otto", demonstrates in...
Tokyo, Japan
The Wider Image: Japan's "superhuman" athletes
Kosuke Sato, 25, a Ph.D. student in human informatics and an inventor of "Carry Otto", demonstrates in Tokyo, Japan. Sato said he wanted to create a sport anyone could enjoy regardless of age, gender or disability. "Carry Otto" is a motorized wheel device with reins that pull a rider seated on a dolly. Riders race each other. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
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