Hironobu Hagimae. Photo by Brett Homenick.
On Saturday evening, I had the unexpected privilege of meeting stuntman Hironobu Hagimae. Hagimae-san isn't a name that's very well known in America (or even Japan), but his credits are quite cool. As a stuntman who specializes in car and motorcycle stunts, he has been seen in movies and TV programs all over the world -- not just Japan, but also America and even Australia.
Hagimae-san was the motorcycle stuntman for the original Kamen Rider (1971-73) and continued in that capacity throughout the '70s. His favorite Rider is Kamen Rider V3, and he is quite proud of the work he did on that show, too.
In the late '70s, Hagimae-san moved to America and did stunt work on the long-running TV series CHiPs. Due to his similar build to actor Erik Estrada, Hagimae-san was his motorcycle stuntman on the show. (So, yes, Kamen Rider and Frank Poncherello are related.) Hagimae-san also did stunts on the George Miller actioners Mad Max (1979) and The Road Warrior (1981).
I greatly enjoyed meeting Hagimae-san, whose career ought to be better known on both sides of the Pacific. I hope to see him again very soon.