Asia-Pacific

Manga "Tiger Mask" hero cheers Japan orphans

Rubber masks of cartoon character "Tiger Mask"
Image caption Tiger Mask is a professional wrestler who donates his winnings to an orphanage where he was raised

Children's homes in Japan are receiving anonymous donations of school bags and other gifts left in the name of a popular manga character.

It began on Christmas Day with a donation of school bags. The donor refused to give his name but left a drawing of a man's face hidden behind a tiger mask.

The drawing is a reference to a classic manga comic pro-wrestler character.

After media coverage, the gesture has been copied across the country.

For the children of the orphanage it was a welcome surprise.

The donor refused to give his name, says local official Yasuhiko Taniguchi, but he did leave a drawing and a note.

It read: "I am Tiger Mask - I have come to your city and I want you to distribute the gifts to all the children's homes here."

For Japan's millions of manga readers the reference was immediately obvious.

Tiger Mask is a classic comic from the 1960s about a professional wrestler who donates his winnings to the orphanage where he was raised.

And after news reports of the first gift on Christmas morning there has been a wave of anonymous philanthropy in the character's name.

Many orphanages have received satchels, others fruit, vegetables and bags of rice.

One donor left more than 92,000 yen (£700) in cash, with a note saying there are Tiger Masks across Japan.