Why Do Japanese Wear Face Masks?
Hi, I’m Derek, the English teacher at Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi. Right now almost everybody wears a face mask in Tsukaguchi, Amagasaki where I both live and teach English in Japan. This is surely because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Japan and recently announced state of emergency declaration for Hyogo Prefecture and some other prefectures in Japan. However face mask wearing is not new to the Japanese. It is actually quite commonplace here even in normal times, especially in spring. As a Canadian living and teaching English in Japan, I wondered why. I therefore decided to ask some of my more advanced Smith’s School of English Tsukaguchi students why as part of their English conversation lessons.
Five Reasons Why Japanese Wear Face Masks
After asking my English conversation school students, I came up with 5 reasons why Japanese wear masks:
- To protect themselves from pollen because of pollen allergy (hay fever).
- For not giving their colds to others.
- To not catch colds from others.
- For hiding their faces (like when not wearing make up).
- To keep their faces warm when it’s cold out.
Of course there may be other reasons why Japanese wear face masks, but these 5 came up in the English lessons. How interesting!
Preferred Face Mask Color
If you take a walk near my English school in Tsukaguchi, you can quickly see that most face masks that people wear are white in color. They wear some other colors like grey, but white is predominant. According to my students of English, white is considered a clean color. I got it. Since face masks are mainly used to protect oneself and others from “dirty” things like viruses, etc., the clean image of white seems best. Again, how interesting!
Even after about 20 years of coaching and teaching English, I’m still learning new things from my students of English! It’s fun!