<History of Masks>
In Japan, people started to wear masks to prevent getting sick after the influenza epidemic in 1919. After another influenza epidemic in 1934, masks became extremely popular in Japan and even this continues even today. Masks were first invented for factory workers, however, it became a daily life commodity in Japan.
<Why Japanese wear masks?>
In Japan, you might see a lot of Japanese people wearing masks.
This scene can be really surprising for foreigners because, in many other countries, people don’t wear masks unless that are REALLY REALLY sick.
There are many reasons why Japanese people wear masks every day.
The main reason is to prevent from others to get sick or prevent getting sick from other people. Especially in the winter, many people get sick by influenza and because the train is usually packed in the mornings in the cities, it increases the risks of getting influenza.
Another main reason is because many people suffer from are allergic to pollen, people wear masks to prevent from hay fever.
Other than the reasons that are not related to health, some young girls will wear masks to hide their non-makeup face. That is why there are many Japanese girls wearing masks at the airport because wearing makeup in the plane is uncomfortable, but they don’t want people to see their non-makeup face so they will wear masks to hide. Some will wear masks because it is believed that masks will look your face small. Moreover, there are people who will wear masks so that they don’t have to talk with people or to hide their face. For example, many celebrities will wear masks to hide their face in public.
Many foreigners think that Japanese people wear masks because they are sick, but there is another reason that is not related to their health.
Since there are so many Japanese wearing masks every day, there are a variety of masks. There are colored masks such as blue, pink, black, etc. and there are also masks for healing sore throat which has a wet pad that is attached to the mask so you can wear it while sleeping and help to heal your sore throat. There are also masks that cut UV from the sun and masks that are made with organic cotton, silk, etc.
It is interesting to see the variety kinds of masks, and if you want to be a “real” Japanese, you have to wear masks!