MANILA – For those who grew up in late 80s and early 90s, you've probably been a great fan of the Japanese sentai series, "Maskman."
"I am an avid fan and ginagaya namin ang mga Maskman noon kapag naglalaro kami nung bata ako," recalled Georgette Inaba.
The Angeles City, Pampanga native loved the series so much that she happily found herself married to one of Maskman actors.
"Pinangarap ko talaga siyang maging husband ko since nung bata ako kaya super saya ko," she said.
Georgette is married to Inaba Kazunori, who used the screen name Ryousuke Kaizu. He played Red Mask (Takeru) as the leader of the group in the series.
"Until now, kapag naiisip ko na pinapangarap ko lang siya and now husband ko na siya...di pa rin ako makapaniwala," she said.
Georgette was introduced to Inaba by common friends. They got married in 2002 and they have two children. The family lives in Tokyo, Japan.
But starting a family in a country that has a different culture was a struggle at first for Georgette.
"Super hirap kasi po ibang iba ang kultura natin sa kanila lalo pa yung age gap namin mag-asawa. Marami kaming pinagtatalunan and di pagkakasunduan. Pero now, nalampasan namin po iyun. Basta ang palagi naming iniisip iba ang kultura namin kaya kailangan mag adjust ang isa't-isa sa amin," she explained.
But she still managed to instill Filipino qualities in their family.
"Yung pagiging magalang at masayahin natin," she said.
Georgette shared that she and her husband respect and value each other's privacy.
"And sa family namin bawal ang nakasimangot. Kung meron man darating na problema or di magandang nangyayari, ang iniisip namin ay marami pa rin magagandang nangyayari sa buhay namin kagaya ng kumpleto kaming pamilya, healthy lahat kami. Yun lang naman ang importante," she said.
Like her, her children are equally proud of their father's role in the popular series.
"Proud sila, lalo na yung panganay ko, ipinagmamalaki niya ang papa niya sa school and ang bunso naman namin ginagaya ang papa niya," she said.
Aside from karate and judo, which Inaba had trained for before shooting Maskman, Georgette said her husband is also into music and sports like scuba diving, golf, surfing, and tennis.
Now, the couple is managing their own ramen restaurant in Tokyo.
"Businessman na siya ngayon and paminsan-minsan guest siya sa mga event, pero depende sa schedule niya," she said.
"Hikari Sentai Maskman" was aired on TV Asahi for one year (1987-1988). In the Philippines, the title was changed into "Laser Squadron: Maskman." It was Kim Atienza who dubbed the Filipino version of Takeru/Red Mask as 'Michael Joe'.
Inaba shared that when he first auditioned, he didn't think he would land the lead role. Then TOEI, the producer of the Super Sentai series, called up and had him guest in the 'Flashman'. He really never thought that he would be the next red sentai.
The first three episodes of the Maskman were the most memorable for Inaba as he deemed these as the starting point of his career.
He said many opportunities followed after Maskman. He is likewise humbled by the support that he continues to receive from fans all over the world who were inspired by Red Mask.
Still a star-struck fan, Georgette is keeping the Maskman spirit alive among fans, especially Filipinos.
"Alam ng asawa ko na gustong gusto ko ang Maskman and maraming Pilipino din ang mga nanonood sa kanya noon kaya sabi ko sa kanya hindi importante sa atin ang edad o kung matagal man na ang Maskman. Ang importante sa mga Pinoy ay yung nakapagpasaya sila na katulad namin," she said.
It is in this light that the Inaba couple, together with some friends, came up with an idea to keep the memories of Maskman and other well-loved Japanese children's series alive.
"Kaya namin binuo ang Tokuspirits charity event para makita nang mga kababayan ko ang mga hinahangaan namin noon," she said.
The charity event will benefit the Kids Cancer Vibe organization. It will be held on March 27, 2016 in San Fernando, Pampanga and would bring together some actors from the Maskman and other much-loved Japanese television series like Fiveman and Bioman to the Philippines.
"Pangarap ng asawa ko na makatulong lalo na sa mga Pilipino dahil malapit daw ang puso niya sa mga Pilipino. Kaya nagka-idea kami bakit di kami gumawa ng event ang hikayatin ang mga ibang kaibigan niya dito na Japanese actors and actresses na sumali sa magandang adhikain na ito para sa kababayan natin," she said.
The event will also hold an auction of items donated by Japanese actors and actresses.
"Rare items nila or mga souvenir na galing sa kanila. Lahat nang kinita ay maibibigay sa mga cancer patient na mga bata, para sa medicine at pangangailangan nila," she said.
Inaba, with Bioman's Pink 5 Michiko Makino and Fiveman's Fiveblue Kei Shindachiya hope to see their Filipino fans in the charity event next year.
In a message translated by Georgette, Inaba said, "I hope you are all with me for this charity event. See you soon Minna San. AuraMask!!!!"