Yoshiro Harada, a newspaper delivery man from Tokyo, Japan, was only 24 years old when he decided to live the rest of his life as a tiger and became Shinjuku Tiger. Today, at age 69, he is considered a living legend of the business district.

Born in Nagano Prefecture, Harada moved to Tokyo in 1967 to attend Daito Bunka University. He started delivering newspapers while he was still in school, and eventually decided to quit the university and dedicate himself to his job full time. He can’t really recall the reason he quit his studies, all he knows is that he wanted to quit. The same can be said about his beginnings as Shinjuku Tiger. One day in 1972, as he was attending a shrine festival in Kabukichō, an entertainment and red-light district in Shinjuku, he passed by a row of shops and noticed one of them was selling colorful, plastic tiger masks. That’s when it hit him, he was going to live the rest of his life as a tiger.

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