Why Do People In Japan Wear Masks?

There have been a large number of people wearing surgical masks in Japan. Many foreigners, especially Westerners, find this situation very surprising and often wonder “Why do people in Japan wear masks so often?” The introduction of this cheap, practical and easy – to – use item has made it way into Japanese’ lives. The mask actually has a variety of uses and there are many important reasons behind it.

Why Do People In Japan Wear Masks? – 4 Main Reasons To Know

1. Health

First and foremost, the popular answer to the question “Why do Japanese wear face masks?” is health. People in Japan wear surgical masks as they want to prevent germs from spreading in public, especially when they come down with disease. In such densely populated cities in Japan, the risk of contagious diseases is very high. Japanese have a high awareness of the prevention of infection from an early age. Therefore, it is unsurprising that people in Japan wear face masks anytime and anywhere if they feel like being sick.

Why do people in Japan wear masks

The popular reason why Japanese wear face masks is health (Source of image: Culture trip)

In spring, with the advent of cherry blossom season, many people often suffer from hay fever as they are allergic to cherry blossom’ pollen. In some pharmacy, there are even anti-hay fever masks which are made of non – woven material to hinder pollen.

Like many other major cities in the world, cities in Japan also have some problems related to air pollution. Although air quality is not so bad, air pollution is inevitable on busy roads full of vehicles. Japanese do not want to inhale fumes and emissions so they certainly wear masks when they go outside.

And in the winter, the weather is extremely cold. People in Japan wear masks simply because they want to keep their faces warm.

2. Fashion

Secondly, the answer to “Why do Japanese wear masks?” is to look fashionable. It sounds strange to many Westerners, but in Japan mask is a fashion item or kind of accessory. There is not only dull white surgical masks, but also there is a variety of colorful masks with funny and lovely patterns and diverse functions. There are fragrant masks, or masks with anime characters printed on them.

More and more young people nowadays in Japan wear masks for fashion reasons. They also think that they look mysterious or attention – catching when they wear masks walking down the streets.

3. Cover Up

The third reason is a little funny but so common among females. People wear masks simply as they are too lazy to wear make-up. Masks can cover physical defects on your face like pimples, scars, acnes,…

The mask is so convenient and a quick fix when you want to cover up yourself. Some celebrities also wear masks after washing off their make-up as they want to hide their natural faces from paparazzi. Ordinary women or housewives find masks more convenient and time – saving than spending an hour wearing blush and lipsticks.

Let’s take a look at this video to find out more reasons:

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4. Anti–social

And the last answer to the question “Why do people in Japan wear masks?” is anti-social. There is no denying the fact that Japanese people often have social anxiety. They are sometimes afraid of judgments from others. Some people are shy and lack self – esteem. They just want to separate themselves with a fast – paced atmosphere out there, and then the masks come in handy. Japanese people wear masks to avoid getting social interaction. Sometimes, they sit on the subway wearing headphones and put on a mask so that nobody can bother them.


Masks are just useful for protecting health in Westerns countries, but in Japan, they are made use of in many different situations. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that sales figures for mask have surged over the last few decades in Japan. The answer to the question “Why do people in Japan wear masks?” may vary but masks are now a part of Japanese culture, and people wearing face masks is a popular scene in this country.

About Hayami Mori

Hayami Mori is an awesome travel blogger & photographer. She was born and raised in Tokyo and have been here for nearly 25 years. She loves traveling and always wants to introduce her beautiful Japan to travelers from all over the world. Therefore, her blog is a great source of information for people looking for what to do in Japan as well as provides some tips to make their trips unforgettable.