Tuesday 21 July 2020

Behind The Mask In Japan

Why Japanese People Wear Masks
A Dumb Gaijin's View
    Having lived and worked inJapan for a number of years and visiting over many more I often questioned why so many Japanese people wear masks even when they are not ill or where there is no fear of a virus that we now face. A possible explanation.

 Japanese people have an in-built desire for cleanliness in respect of themselves and for others. The obsessive  taking off of shoes before entering a house or the use of slippers in the toilet are examples.In most cases the use of a mask is not to prevent an individual getting a disease but to prevent others getting it and to show respect for others by wearing a mask.This is particularly so in places like Tokyo where people live  closer together than many other place around the world.

The use of masks can often be attribted to pollution and dust, as most masks will assist. Although most Japanese cities are not pollluted there can be issues with pollen and dust.

In some circumstances it could be fashionable to wear a colored or patterned mask to be a fashion statement.

There might be no better way for a young lady to cover up a zit or lack of make-up with a mask.

Japanese people are modest  and often shy and see a need for a degree of separation between themselves and the world. I often noticed that many people on the subways in Tokyo would block out the crowded world around them by closing their eyes and sleeping.
Another interesting aspect of shutting down and nothing to do with masks is when a senior executive (president) will shut his eyes and appear to have dozed off in a meeting.He is simply signalling that he has faith in whoever is making the decision (which is usually done down the line anyway.) Note in some cases they were sleeping because of a late night the day before.

Like so many times, we get it wrong and misunderstand the Japanese so who knows.

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