The reasons behind Japan’s surgical mask trend
Now this is an increasingly common sight in Japan. Many of the population of this little island state seem to have taken to wearing surgical masks on a daily basis. Have you ever wondered why this is so? Here are some reasons why these masks are an increasing trend.
- Health and sickness
The most obvious and practical reason. When ill, Japanese people take it on themselves to prevent one’s own germs or sickness from spreading in public places; a critical point in the often extremely densely populated cities of Japan. With so many people in such close quarters, risk of disease and contagion is higher. Japanese are taught about prevention from a young age, and this can be seen clearly portrayed
Furthermore industrialization leaves quite a lot of harmful particles and chemicals in the air, of which the masks can help filter out most of them. Such pollution is most notable in the morning and late afternoons, when commute is at its peak.
- Fashion and cover up
To some, this may seem odd, but it has been proven that an increasing number of Japanese people use masks as an accessory. This has lead to the production of masks with designs, targeting comfort and looks as compared to the traditional surgical masks. Some wear masks to hide physical imperfections, or on days they just don’t want to use make-up. Masks cover hard-to-hide situations like pimples, zits, or scars. It’s an easy quick fix when you just want to cover yourself up for the day.
- Social related
Japan has a reserved culture which is very conscious of the judgement of others. Hence many who are shy and lacking in self-esteem sometimes wear masks as a way to add a degree of separation between society and themselves.
Sometimes, one feels the a needlessness to have to smile at people or just want to avoid conversations, masks serve as a way to tell others that they are not in the mood for social interactions.