Shuhei Yamaguchi has what may be the coolest job ever or possibly the worst job—I’m not quite sure which. You see, the Tokyo Zoo conducts an unusual training exercise designed to simulate the escape of a dangerous animal—in this case a Siberian tiger—to measure the staffs’ response to such an emergency. And the 26-year-old Yamaguchi plays a vital part in all of this…he gets to put on a costume and be the tiger.
Check out the video after the jump to see what he has to go through as the tiger stand-in—mainly being chased by the zoo’s trainers who wield nets, sticks and tranquilizer guns (though the report makes it clear that no shots were actually fired at Yamaguchi).
It’s not the Most Dangerous Game-esque idea of chasing a man in a tiger costume around with guns and weapons itself that I find troubling—this is Japan, after all, and they have weird…fetishes. It’s the fact that it took 70 people more than an hour to capture Yamaguchi.
Let me repeat that for maximum impact: it took 70 trained and armed staff over one hour to take down a guy in a cheesy tiger suit. And the zoo reps consider this a success? Seriously?! Do you not understand why this is really, really disturbing?
If it takes that many men that long to capture a guy in a costume, shouldn’t it set off a bunch of red flags? ‘Cause I’m sure a real Siberian tiger will not only be much tougher to take down, but will probably be a little more dangerous and can do a lot of damage to a zoo full of people in one hour. Uh…see the potential problem here?
Note to self: on my next trip to Tokyo, avoid visiting the zoo.