When talking about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Japan, it is often pointed out that a custom of wearing face-masks had already been in place here for decades. However, back then you might see only one allergy or cold sufferer with a mask in a crowd of a hundred or so people – but now that ratio has been reversed.
This begs the question of what will happen when COVID-19 is no longer considered a society-altering problem. Fashion magazine VOCE decided to find out by a poll of 72 readers, more than 90 percent of whom considered a face mask to be an asset rather than a burden, and feel comfortable with one on.
Granted that’s a rather small sample size, but it echoes the results of another survey by marketing firm Planet earlier this year. In it, 4,000 people were asked more directly if they would continue to wear a mask after the COVID-19 situation subsides.
According to the results, 24.5 percent gave a firm resolution to continue wearing a mask, and a further 47.8 percent said they would probably continue, but not as strictly. It would be more on their own terms based on the situations, like in crowded places, or time of year, such as cold and flu season. A further 11.8 percent responded that they don’t really want to wear a mask, but would if everyone else is, to avoid causing a problem.
That leaves only 15.9 percent who said that they would flat-out stop using face masks after COVID-19.
The reasons for this are actually largely the same as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic ever started. Firstly, face masks are a great way to hide cosmetic imperfections, from blemishes to bone structures that weren’t shaped to one’s liking. They can also save a lot of time for people who regularly use makeup by covering up over half the real-estate in one fell swoop.
Masks also hide facial expressions, which means people don’t need to fake them as often in certain social situations. That in turn reduces anxiety some people may have of others reading their face to detect lies or true emotions hiding beneath the surface.
Comments online have only added to the list of benefits when it comes to wearing a face mask, and very few of them have anything to do with COVID-19.
“The number of times I’ve had to shave in the mask era has decreased dramatically.”
“This is a paradise for ugly people.”
“With masks you don’t have to worry about nose hairs sticking out.”
“It’s better during the winter anyway because the dry air won’t hurt your throat.”
“My face probably makes embarrassing expressions at this point, plus I can chew gum at work now.”
“I do a chin mask unless I’m indoors or in a crowded place, so it’s no problem at all.”
“I get skeeved out now without a mask on a train where everyone is breathing all over the place.”
“It’s good at hiding a hangover.”
“I don’t smell other people’s bad breath nearly as much now.”
Overall, people don’t seem terribly enthusiastic about wearing face masks, but the coverings do seem to fix a lot of peripheral pet peeves that people have. One could argue that these problems would be better solved by tackling the underlying issues such as encouraging better hygiene and less superficiality about people’s looks, or by working towards a society where people don’t have to feel forced to smile, but instead do so willingly.
One could argue all that, but it still doesn’t change that face masks can make you look like a ninja while you’re grocery shopping.
Sources: Yahoo! Japan News, Planet Inc., Itai News
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Masks, the same as many other measures, have advantages and disadvantages to consider, right now the pandemic is still a present danger so it is understandable that people give more importance to the advantages of wearing a mask. Once the risks from COVID is reduced to the same degree as other infectious diseases it is likely that people will begin to consider more importantly the disadvantages and less people will consider wearing one constantly.
Hopefully other measures (like proper hand washing and avoiding going out while sick) will also get a booster on popularity that remains for a long time.
Nice attempt at subliminal messaging by the advocate for Big Pharma.
nonsense, once you begin to see monsters at every corner it may be time to consider how to control your bias.
Do you believe COVID is the only disease for which the spreading is reduced by masks? Why do you think disease like influenza have such a huge drop of incidence, coincidence?
I don't wear a mask outdoors (unless it's very crowded) and never did even during the height of the pandemic. I of course wear one indoors with the exception of a pub or restaurant.
Have you never been to Japan? Wearing surgical masks in public has been commonplace in Japan for decades.
They are worn in the Spring to help reduce the symptoms of hay fever. And, especially during cold/flu season to prevent catching and, more importantly, spreading colds and flu to others.
There's even a scene in the 1967 James Bond film, You Only Live Twice, where a would-be Japanese assassin is wearing one.
I thought this stuff was common knowledge.
I don't wear a mask at home, But everywhere else I do and I had my boaster. Just today Omicron, tomorrow another round of Rhinovirus and the annual Avian flu etc. I also see a high percent will not gamble and keep on wearing their masks in Japan.
Dust masks have been a "security blanket" for germophobes/hypochondriacs for years, but are helpful in reducing allergies (dust/pollen) for those susceptible.
It would be nice to not have to wear a damn mask when going outside, especially in the height of summer. However, I think the mask wearing habit will be here to stay for a while, especially in Asian countries like Japan where it was already commonplace to wear masks well before covid arrived.
Don't you mean 'if'?
Everyone has a choice , not sure why some commentators have issues with people wearing masks .
Once the pandemic risk is gone, mask usage practice would be back to pre-COVID days I guess…. It’s a good practice to wear mask when you are under the weather in crowded public places. Lots of folks, including myself, would suffer from seasonal Kafun so mask would remain part of our life, whether you like it or not.
We have an innate biological imperative to see/feel each other’s faces, body language, vocal tones and micro expressions to order to function and connect. Children especially are at risk, and there’s a danger that they may grow up detached if the masks stay on for too long. Of course wearing them now, but the damage of them staying has to be considered. The sooner we ditch them the better. Always hated the things. Ima dake wa shoganai.
Have a read into concepts like polyvagal theory, and you will see how much our body and autonomous nervous system need safety cues and socializing to function, our entire full spectrum health is determined by it. Hard wired; connect to survive! These are ancient systems that work for a reason, and have taken millions of years to develop. It’s what makes us human.
I’d be very wary of living behind a veil for any second longer than necessary. Maybe a bit dramatic, but how good do you feel meeting someone for the first time wearing a mask?
The mask is here to stay. We didn’t see a single trash can in train stations in Tokyo for over 15 years after the Sarin gas attack. Never mind that trash cans were not used in the attack. The mask will not be going away for at least a decade.
This is a very important way to show the world that the barrier method of preventing Covid is viable. Bravo Japan...
Basically it clearly shows that in Japan, the underlying motive to wear a mask it's not the actual fear of Covid, or other diseases, but more on a personal level, like hiding one's face for a lot of reasons, like, makeup, personal hiygene, but most often, just personal self issues due to their weak and very weak personalities and self esteem...
The first mistake is believing this is going away.