Is it Fashionable? Why Japanese Wear Surgical Masks Everywhere?


If you get on train during winter, you would probably surprise that almost all Japanese wear surgical masks.


Are they infected or trying to do something bad??


In this post I’m going to discuss why Japanese love to wear surgical masks.


Learn those 5 things and get ready to go to JapanThere are 5 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Japan

How does a Love Hotel work? → Who Uses Love Hotels?




Reason 1: Crowded Train



If you are on train in cities, you probably feel something like


Oh my god, this person is too close to me!

No space to get away. Help!!


As mentioned in Bizarre Facts about Japan: Packed Train you cannot imagine how a train possibly carries so many passengers at once.


Japanese wear surgical masks especially during winter because virus and germs are everywhere. They cannot completely avoid contacting others who have infected, so they wear masks and try to prevent getting germs and virus as much as possible.




Reason 2. To Reduce Dryness

You might think it’s odd to wear surgical masks when you are not sick, but try once.

It actually helps to reduce dryness.

Winter in Japan could be very dry because its precipitation is low during cold season. I always feel dry, but I find masks reduce dryness.

It’s good for your nose and throat when it’s super dry.


Reason 3: Media

Here comes again, media encourages to wear surgical masks.

On TV and the Internet, you would probably see a lot of topics on surgical masks, flu and cold.

They exaggerate the importance of masks and strongly recommend to wear surgical masks.

People see others wearing masks everyday so that they don’t feel it’s unusual or strange.

They think “everyone is doing…Why don’t I try?”


Reason 4: Actually Sick or Allergic



Some people wear surgical masks because they are actually sick.

They don’t want to spread virus when their body is fighting against virus.


Others are actually allergic to certain pollen.

The number of people who have pollen allergy is high in Japan.

Most of them experience cedar allergy. It’s an especially serious problem in cities because concrete doesn’t absorb pollen and it flies away everywhere.


Reason 5: Cannot be Sick

Most of Japanese think that they cannot be sick because they have to work.

They think that catching a cold is irresponsible and not acceptable as businesspersons.


It’s like American businesspersons try to be fit and exercise everyday. That’s their standard. They must be in fit.


In Japan, people usually don’t take day off unless you have flu or really really sick.

They think that they have to work everyday and have to recover during weekend if becoming sick.

As a result, they wear surgical masks to prevent from getting germ and virus.


Reason 6: Marketing and Promotion





It relates to media and there are various surgical masks in drug stores.

Yes, it’s just a mask! Some make fashionable masks to attract women. Their shape is like 3D so that they don’t mess up women’s face with make-up.

For men, they promote simple and practical masks.


Reason 7: To Hide Face

Some say they wear surgical masks because they don’t want to show their face.

They might be shy, or they might not wear make-up. Maybe a guy doesn’t shave a beard and wants to hide it.

Once they wear surgical masks and feel comfortable, they would probably wear the masks everyday.



If you visit Japan first time and see lots of people with surgical masks, don’t be afraid.

They are not a surgeon, cleaner or suffering from pandemic.


Japanese wear surgical masks to avoid getting and spreading virus.


If you live near Mount Aso (阿蘇山), you better to wear surgical masks because ashes are everywhere. See, it’s useful!!

(Memo: Mount Aso erupted on October 8, 2016 around 1:46 a.m.)




Learn those 5 things and get ready to go to Japan → There are Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Japan

How does a Love Hotel work? → Where are Love Hotels?





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