Japanese article is here; https://japaneselanguagesalonbymikapanda.com/we-japanese-love-mask-407
Hello, this is MIKA!
It has been 2 years since the pandemic has started.
Of course we wish it finishes as soon as possible, however, the new fact has been found in the wonderland Japan.
It is, as you know, Japanese people loves a mask too much!!
Around 90% of Japanese take a mask every one of them obediently everyday even though their government doesn’t coerce them to do it.
I think it’s not special, but it makes many foreigners so souprised.
I wondered about it too, that’s why I’ve sarched and written the article!
So, this article is helpful to solve the question why Japanese people loves a mask so much.
The history of mask and Japanese
In Meiji era：1868～1912
During Meiji era, since 1868 to 1912, so many western cultures had come to Japan mainly from port towns such like Yokohama and Kobe.
A mask was one of them.
Japanese people love new things so much not only at present but also in old days!!
Westurn calture was the cutting edge of fashion, that’s why mask was cool for Japanese in Meiji era.
In Taisho era：1912～1920
About 100 years ago, Spanish flu had coused a pandemic during the world war first. That is the first occasion to make a habit of taking mask for Japanese.
After the pandemic of Spanish flu, that habit had gone out of use soon in Westurn countries. However, it hadn’t in Japan.
Because they already have found it was very hygienic at that time, there is the record they have used it very much during the world war second.
In Showa era：1920～1989
Even though after 19 years only by the defeat in war, the first Olympic games in Asia had been held in Tokyo, Japan.
In the middle of Showa era, our country was in the best possible economic condition.
However, in compensation for that, polluted air and water had given people the damage. In other words, they had the troubles of public nuisance.
At that time, mask was so helpful to protect their throat and lung.
In the same time, a hay fever has been the new trouble for Japanese people.
Because of the pollen of Japanese cedars, Ambrosias or something, we have itchy eyes and a runny nose!
Of course people has sought help to mask to cover their nose and mouth.
Pay attention for the hay fever in spring and auturm every year!
By passing this history, mask has been ingrained to Japanese life.
From the first, Japanese doesn’t have the resistance for mask at all, because it’s natural to take it for the prevention of hay fever and influenza, or infection to others.
Japanese can judge an expression by looking eyes
How do you think about their expression? I think they are smiling.
Why can I judge? Because Japanese can judge their expression by looking their eyes.
In contradiction to us, Westurn people judge other’s expression by looking their mouth.
It’s easy to understand with some emoticons, isn’t it?
English; : ) : D : ( ; ) :-0
How about it?
Japanese emoticons express the emotion by their eyes, but English one express it by their mouth.
It’s helpful to understand why Western people hates mask, because it covers people’s mouth which is the evidence to judge an expression.
On the other hands, Westurn people doesn’t have the resistance for a sunglass.
However, Japanese people don’t like it because their eyes are covered, that’s why it lets us be afraid.
It’s the reason why a sunglass doesn’t fit into Japanese society.
We take a mask because “Everyone takes a mask”
The captain of sinking ship said to passengers like that;
For american, “You’ll be a hero after diving to the sea”.
For British, “You’ll be a gentleman after diving to the sea”.
For German, “It’s the rule to dive to the sea when a ship starts to sink”.
For Italian, “You’ll be popular with the ladies after diving to the sea”.
And for Japanese, “Look, everyone is diving to the sea”.
This classic joke has been changed in the pandemic of Covid-19.
For american, “You’ll be a hero after taking a mask”.
For British, “You’ll be a gentleman after taking a mask”.
For German, “It’s the rule to taking a mask during the pandemic”.
For Italian, “You’ll be popular with the ladies after taking a mask”.
And for Japanese, “Look, everyone is taking a mask”.
Why don’t you take a mask even though everyone take it—Yes, for Japanese, it’s the torture for ourselves who don’t obey the action of others.
A groupism is one of Japanese national characters. We should precede the public than individual, act not to corrupt public morals, obey the rules which others do, bear with something which others do…
To sum up, many Japanese think unconsciously that we should curb our desires if they have a bad influence on the stability of our community.
“You should do like us”—Like this trend to force someone to obey the action of that community is “Douchou-atsuryoku（同調圧力）” in Japanese.
Unfortunately, we have the characteristic to criticize people who don’t obey the action of our community. Please be careful.
Of course we have the reasons like “I don’t want to be infected”, “I don’t want to infect”, and “I don’t want to couse troubles”.
However, I can’t contradict that there is the obsession like “I don’t want to be critisized not to obey the action of the community” and “I don’t want to be called to account”.
How was it?
This time, I’ve made clear the mystery why Japanese love mask by its history how to be ingrained to Japanese life, the way for Japanese to judge an expression, and the view point of “Groupism”.
You may think “Japanese groupism is too scary”. However, in fact, we can defend the expansion of infectious to a certain extent thanks to that characteristic. So we can’t say it’s always bad.
Anyway, I hope to finish the pandemic, disapper the groupism of mask, and the day we can spend as smiling with a natural face.
And, hug each other without mask!