13-year-old donates over 600 handmade masks amid shortage in Japan

By grape Japan

The spread of the novel coronavirus in Japan has caused a shortage of medical supplies, with sickness masks chief among them. While many have turned to government instruction and helpful DIY Twitter tips on making their own masks (including a Japanese model who comically converted her bra into one), a junior high school student in Yamanashi Prefecture has decided to make masks for those in need.

First year junior high school student Hime Takimoto, 13, from Kofu city recently donated 612 handmade masks to the prefecture, Sankei News reports. "When I saw all these long lines in the drugstore, and heard that people were reselling masks online at marked up prices and that people who needed masks weren't getting them, I asked my mom to break down my otoshidama (New Year's gift money given to children in Japan) and bought the material to make masks," Takimoto said.

Screen Shot 2020-03-23 at 11.18.02.png

Yamanashi Governor Kotaro Nagasaki received the batch of handmade masks from Takimoto personally, saying he was touched by her efforts, and that he wants to distribute the masks to facilities looking after children and the elderly.

Each mask comes with an attached message of "I'd be happy if this could be of use to you."

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© grape Japan

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That's great. It would also be interesting to know what materials she used and how she made them. This might be a useful solution for people who are unable to buy their own masks.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

WONDERFUL news in the midst of so many bad news.

May she be an example among the youngsters!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yeah, so I am sure I will got a lot of negatives on my comment, or even have TPTB take it down, but seeing as how most experts question the utility of professionally made masks, I don't think I would trust one made by a 13 year old girl. Not to mention, neither her, nor the governor are shown wearing the masks in the photo. Good intentions, good on her. But I don't think this is really something to celebrate.

Let the negatives begin!

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

It is great, but she should sell home-made masks for at least ¥500.

only problem is masks don’t stop the virus. They do stop pollen, and double insulated with the interior mask moist, can limit radioactive dust particles.

wash your hands, don’t touch your face. Keep distance. Eat healthy food.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Saw her on tv last night.

She's just an ordinary kid with an extra-ordinary heart.

She made all the masks by herself on a sewing machine with colorful material.

It looks like the masks are double or tripled layered and are washable. It'd be like holding a folded handkerchief over your mouth & nose. Not perfect at all, but no ones saying the masks are surgical N95 masks.

The point is, while the masks may be limited in offering viral protection, it's an example of what people can do to show kindness to others. Giving without receiving.

She never sought any publicity.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

A cute gesture, if nothing else. It's always good to see people selflessly helping others.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't think I would trust one made by a 13 year old girl

She did an amazing thing, but they are probably not helpful from a clinical perspective.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

...but seeing as how most experts question the utility of professionally made masks, I don't think I would trust one made by a 13 year old girl.

Professionals only question how big the utility is, not if it is useful or not. It is very difficult to assess exactly how much healthy people wearing a mask properly decreases the contagion rates but data from related SARS epidemic show a very clear effect.

If the masks are made properly (layered, with materials that are hydrophobic, etc.) they will help reducing the risks, specially if compared to using nothing at all.

Absolutely nothing reduces the risk to 0, not even self isolation and frequently washing your hands properly, but that is very different from not being useful.

only problem is masks don’t stop the virus. They do stop pollen, and double insulated with the interior mask moist, can limit radioactive dust particles

Masks (3ply or better) are perfectly capable of stopping the virus, that is because the pathogen is NOT flying around by itself like pollen does and instead it is contained in the much bigger droplets of secretions that do not penetrate the masks, secondarily mask can help avoiding transmission by touching your face in those cases where washing your hands is not an option for a long time (like when riding the train).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Takimoto-san began making the masks using cotton and elastic at the end of February and worked up to 5 hours/ day to complete 612 masks, 400 adult-size, the remainder for children. On the 17th of March she visited the Yamanashi prefectural office to deliver the masks. Cost: 80,000¥, every yen of it her own.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

She should get an award for her efforts.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

so selfless!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

well done, girl! keep up the good work.. stay healthy and safe always...=)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Won't stop the virus. Helps keep people calmed down with magical thinking. As long as they realize the real cure is hand washing, go ahead and hide behind the masks this enterprising young lady produced with her own hands and cash. How did she lay her hands on ¥80,000 (around $750), by the way? That is a lot of babysitting money.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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