Face masks in Japan

By Rakiya Washington

While reading Geek in Japan, which is a book written by Hector Garcia, I have learned so many things about Japanese culture and their language. But one interesting piece that stood out for me were face masks worn in Japan. I have always seen Japanese, Chinese and Koreans wearing these and I always wondered what they were used for. I’ve learned that in Japan, face masks are worn commonly either to avoid contagion of a cold or to avoid pollen. This is why its use increases during spring. The pollen is called kafunsho. It is one of the greatest major threats in Japan. It comes from trees built after the destruction of World War II and trees imported from other places. Also, due to Global Warming, the presence of pollen has increased dramatically. I just hope that they find new ways to contain the pollen.

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