Motorcycle runs on the wall in Hokkaido's famous circus. (Hiraku Toda).

ASAHIKAWA, Hokkaido--A motorcycle daredevil hurtled around the sides of a huge bucket called the Wall of Death, at a show held here recently.

Spectators at the top of the bucket reached down holding 1,000 yen ($9.20) bills for the biker to grab as he made three-second laps at 40 kph.

Each time his 400-cc bike climbed closer up the wall, the 9-meter-diameter bucket rattled strongly, giving the onlookers a shake.

In a flash, Akinori Fujita, 45, the leader of “the world motorbike circus,” snatched away a tip at the event, which ran from June 4-6.

Fujita began the show with a first lap on titled boards at the bottom of the bucket, and then blasted the bike up the vertical wall in one go.

Spectators’ cheers and engine roars were audible even outside the circus tent.

The motorbike circus is a feature at Hokkaido festivals. This year, its tour kicked off in Asahikawa at Gokokujinja shrine.

Tokiwa Park, the festival's venue, had about 300 stalls. A large, colorful tent was set up at the center of the park for the circus.

Upon entering the tent after walking up a wood ramp, spectators take places around the edge of the bucket to watch the show that runs on the 4-meter high wall.

Fujita, a Sapporo native, worked part time in the Kigure circus when he was in high school. After graduating from high school, he joined the circus group.

While there, he learned to do motorcycle stunts, riding a bike in a big iron globe built like a cage, and performing on the flying trapeze.

Wall of Death-style motorcycle circuses have a long history in Hokkaido, reportedly dating back to before World War II.

Fujita took over the motorcycle circus about 10 years ago.

“The bucket is much more difficult than the iron globe. The angle of the globe increases gradually, but the side of bucket is vertical. And it’s wooden, so it’s very slippery,” he said.

The shows are performed more than 10 times a day, depending on the weather and number of spectators. A single show is seven or eight minutes.

In addition to grabbing tips, Fujita preforms other stunts including riding with no hands and while blindfolded by the Japanese flag.

Fujita pays a physical price for battling gravity and centrifugal force, that manifests in daily muscle pain during the shows. However, he said he was “happy to make spectators feel surprised and excited.”

He stressed his is the only motorcycle circus in Japan using the vertical wall although there are other people doing similar stunts elsewhere around the world, and he tries to get acquainted with them.

“I have been communicating with the French team through social media,” Fujita said. The team came to Japan before but Fujita's shows in Hokkaido got in the way of him meeting them.

After Asahikawa, Fujita takes his show to the Sapporo Matsuri festival from June 14 to 16.

Following those, he plans to have shows in Abashiri in the middle of August, in Chitose in early September, and in Kuriyama in late September.

His only show outside Hokkaido will be at the Hirosaki Cherry Blossom Festival in Aomori Prefecture.

The show's admission fee for adults is 700 yen, and 500 yen for children.