politics

Obama masks a big hit in Japan

21 Comments

For those who just can't get enough of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, a Japanese mask-maker is giving thousands of people the chance to be his spitting image. Ogawa Rubber Inc, Japan's top rubber mask studio, is moving into high gear and is manufacturing more than 300 masks of the next US president each day ahead of his inauguration on Jan 20.

"We sold as many as 2,500 faces of Obama in a month. It was a great hit for us," said Takahiro Yagihara, chief creator for the mask-maker based in Saitama. "I've seen a couple of Obama faces made in the United States, but ours is the best. We hope somebody will don our Obama mask at his inauguration."

Yagihara's studio has created a variety of rubber masks, not only those of politicians but also the faces of cartoon characters and sumo wrestlers as well as the head of a bronze Buddha statue.

One of its most successful masks was of Japan's popular former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The company sold 3,500 masks of the flamboyant lion-maned leader.

But Koizumi's successor Shinzo Abe was a flop, selling only about 600 masks. Abe quit after one year in office after an election rout.

The studio did not even bother making masks of Abe's somber and unpopular successor, Yasuo Fukuda. But it has found a hit in incumbent Prime Minister Taro Aso.

"Aso has also suffered from low approval ratings, but at least he's got character," Yagihara said, looking at a mask bearing Aso's trademark sarcastic grin.

Aso, who took office in September, had first enjoyed high popularity in part thanks to the strategy of selling a soft image of liking cartoons.

But his support rate has slumped to 20% as voters question his handling of the financial crisis in the world's second-largest economy.

Yagihara, who keeps an eagle eye out for new masks, saw dim prospects among other Japanese politicians.

"I don't see any face among Japanese politicians that would match Obama's," he said.

© Wire reports

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


21 Comments
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Mammy I want one.

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I'm sure a mask that makes Obama look like a white person would go over well at his inauguration. That wouldn't be interpreted as offensive at all.

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brighton: what are you talking about???

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They look a bit pale to me.

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Wow...how can I order one of these masks? I'd wear it while mowing my parents lawn.

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BeatlesFan Probably only available in Japan. Don Quiote will no doubt be selling them next to the adult toy section.

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Don't forget to buy your Obama manju...chocolate with a white cream center.

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Oh I must have one of these, definately - it is so Kawaaaiiiiiii! yuk

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Har!

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I suppose Japan's gun laws will prevent accidental shootings when goofballs show up at people's doors wearing these things. On a different note, will Japan also be embracing Obama lawn jockeys?

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sort of like a tengu mask, eh?

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"sort of like a tengu mask, eh?"

Are you saying Obama is a liar? Ha ha ha!

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They need to get the skin tone right. The masks look like white men with a slight tan. I wonder if there's an underlying cultural issue preventing the Japanese artist from painting the skin the right color, since it's a black man they are representing. Sort of like the movie Gedo no Senki, where most of Earthsea's peoples were black but you won't see a single black person in that movie. Only slightly tanned people.

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This is just plain freaky. When/where/why do the people who purchase them intend to wear them?

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Get ready for a spate of robberies by Barack H. Obama in the Saitama area.

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''i have seen a couple of them made in the u.s but i think our's is the best'' the company creator says.why do u jp think anything japanese is best.another ''yamato'' at it again.

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Headline: Muggers in Osaka wearing Obama masks rob business man, promise to use the money to spread the wealth.........then don't.

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kinda creepy

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Decoys?

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My prediction is Obama will be the foe of the world. These masks will be used in demonstrations against America and their new President.

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TV Announcer voice: Yes, you too can be just like Obama and promise trillions of dollars (of other people's money) in handouts so you can be more popular!

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