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Ear pick for children’s ears

By Philip Kendall

Q-Tips; cotton swabs; ear buds; whatever you know them as, most of us have stuck one of those little fluffy-ended paper sticks in our ears at some point in our lives.

Japan, though, has a rather unique fondness of ear picks, or “mimi-kaki” as they’re known here. So much of a fondness, in fact, that a brand new three-pronged wire monster of an ear pick – with a whopping 2,000 price tag – has just entered the already rather crowded ear pick market.

Despite many Western medical specialists urging people not to put anything smaller than their finger too far into their ear, the use of ear picks in Japan remains remarkably popular, with many people describing the sensation of a good ol’ cotton swab sweep as one of the most pleasant and relaxing sensations there is.

So relaxing, in fact, that there are even dedicated ear-cleaning parlors where customers can enjoy a beverage while lying back and having their ears cleaned by a young lady armed with an ear pick. The very thought of allowing a stranger to put a wooden stick in my ear, quite honestly, makes this writer shudder, and I’d much rather clean my own ears in private before quickly throwing the dirty cotton swab away to hide the evidence of my uncleanliness. There again, perhaps that’s just what years of catholic schooling does to a guy…

Apparently, though, we’ve all been doing it wrong. Thanks to the instructional images that accompany the new 2,000 yen ear pick from utensil maker Leben, we can clearly see that, up until now, we’ve all been pushing our ear-wax deeper into our ear canals. Why did no-one tell us sooner? Thankfully, this new brand of ear pick, seemingly straight out of the devil’s own workshop, is here to save us from our waxy fate. With three-prongs of looped copper wire, this unique ear pick - unlike regular cotton swabs, apparently - gets in behind the ear-gunk and pulls it out, kind of like a tiny pixie ear rake. The process looks nothing short of terrifying.

Despite having already sold by the bucket-load on online stores like and Rakuten, Japan’s ear-cleaning elite are not entirely convinced, with many taking to Internet forums to express their doubt:

“Doesn’t this look even a little bit scary to anyone else?”

“I bet that’s fiddly to clean…” and, perhaps the factor that’s most important for mimi-kaki otaku, “But how does it feel!?”

Drug stores in Japan often stock a wide range of wooden and plastic ear picks, including models featuring character designs like Hello Kitty, and it’s not uncommon to find city-themed ear-wax removers on sale in souvenir stores, much to the bewilderment of western visitors.

Japan, it would seem, is a nation of very clean-eared people.

Source: Rabitosokuhou

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asians have different ear wax than white people. asian wax is dry and it crumbles so maybe that is why asians need to pick it out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I must have asian ears, then.

I'm sure I've seen the three-pronged thing many times in the Seikyo catalogue - I'm sure it can't be all that new. I'm quite happy with my little bamboo mimi-kaki which does the job it's supposed to, no need to spend ¥2000 for a posh one.

When the kids where little I used a mimi-kaki that had a light attached - great for seeing into tiny ears and making sure I wasn't poking the wrong bits.

Clean ears is good.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Same here.

I love my Bamboo mimi-kaki and it is great when someone cleans your ears.

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Read the medical literature - a bad idea. A q-tip on the outer rim is as far as you should go. I remember being told nothing smaller than my elbow as a kid.

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In the past ear cleaning was maybe a once every couple of decades practice in Western countries. You went into your local ENT and the nurses cleaned out all the compacted earwax.

However in the past decade we've been spending a lot more time with stuff in our ears, like "in ear" earphones. Every time you put these in it pushes wax into the ear. Loud music also compacts the earwax, even if you avoid earbuds (and most people don't).

These ear picks, provided they're used with care and cleaned after every use, are probably a good idea.

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develop return of investment is linked to market-oriented innovation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan, it would seem, is a nation of very clean-eared people.

I think it must be equivalent to the Western obsession with dental hygiene.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Does seem like a smart thing to do, nothing worse than an ear full of wax.

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