Japanese Mask

The Japanese mask is worn during Shinto ceremonies and during No theater performances. It's a Japanese accessory that has been anchored in popular culture for centuries. Traditional Japanese masks are inspired by Asian folklore.

Know that thanks to the Kimura Kami team you will be able to hide your identity with several types of Japanese masks: hannya mask, Japanese mouse mask, Kitsune mask or Oni Japanese mask (worn by samurai warrior)...

In order to help you in the choice of your mask, we are going to explain the meaning of the different masks on our Japanese online store (after a short introduction on the origin of this ancient mask)!

Why do Japanese people wear mask?

The traditional Japanese mask has been worn since the Edo period. During this period, the shogunate reigned as the undisputed master over the Japanese archipelago! Thus the wearing of the mask is popular and ancient.  Japanese people today wear masks in everyday life mainly for their health. A Japanese anti-pollution mask protects from microbes and some viruses but this is not its main function.

With the advent of the kawaii style, the wearing of printed and colored masks has become popular. So much so that the Japanese cloth mask has become a real fashion accessory. This type of mask is called a masuku. The Japanese wear this cotton mask for : To have a unique and trendy style according to the colors, embroidered or printed patterns of their mouth mask. Hide a part of their face. It's quite practical, the mornings when we lack of time to make up.

Conceal their identity. This is very useful for Jpop or cosplay stars who are real fashion phenomena. The patterns of the masuku masks in our collection are inspired by irezumi, yakuza and kawaii fashion. Some of them have an activated carbon filter and an elastic cord so that they are comfortable to wear (vs. the one-size disposable mask).

Nowadays, Japanese people still wear masks but only for certain occasions. Let's see together when it is appropriate to wear one and what is the meaning of Japanese masks!

The festival mask

Nowadays, traditional Japanese mask is worn in matsuri festival and traditional arts. It is also a Japanese prop used in animated films and manga. The ninja in the Naruto manga wear a Japanese Kitsune mask to hide their identity. The kitsune is a Japanese deity that represents a magical Japanese fox. In Chihiro's journey, there are also the faceless ones who wear a white Japanese mask.

The Japanese masks in our collection can be used as a disguise for a cosplay event, a party or for Halloween. You can also hang them on a wall to have a Japanese decoration. It is a traditional Japanese object ideal to have a Japanese atmosphere in your room! It is quite common to see masks with the effigy of Shinto deities. If you wish to make a trip to Japan, here is what you need to know

1. When can you buy a Japanese festival mask?

To be transparent with you, if you travel to Japan, you can directly buy this type of mask on the spot from a street vendor. Depending on the Matsuri festival you are attending you can choose for example:

  • A cat mask
  • A Japanese dragon mask
  • A Hyottoko mask
  • An Okame mask

These lightweight masks are small in size to fit children's faces. This is why Japanese people wear their masks sideways during matsuri. Of course you can also find them on our website kimurakami.com!

2. The most popular: the manga mask

In popular culture the ninja mask is used by the shinobi to hide their faces. In the manga Naruto or Boruto, the kitsune mask is the accessory of the secret troops of the village hidden from the leaf. Each anbu mask has its own colors and symbols to distinguish the other members. In real life, this Japanese fox mask is worn during the Kitsune no yomeiri gyôretsu!

3. How to wear a Japanese mask?

If you participate in a festival, we advise you to fully immerse yourself in the Japanese atmosphere. To adopt a matsuri style, you can wear a kimono yukata. It is a comfortable and pleasant Japanese clothing that you can see in many festivals or ceremonies.

You can put it on with a pair of wooden geta sandals and tabi socks if it's not too hot! To keep a more European outfit, then just wear a haori jacket over a plain tee-shirt! Finally, add a folding fan, it's a good Japanese accessory to finalize your Matsuri outfit!

Terrify your enemies with a samurai mask

The samurai, on the other hand, wore a mask for a completely different purpose. He wished to terrify his enemies on the battlefield. There are three types of masks.

1. The samurai half mask

It is also called the mempo mask. This Japanese war accessory came to complete the armor of the samurai warrior. It represented a Japanese demon with sharp teeth.

2. The sonen mask and the hanbo

The sonen is a complete mask protecting the face of the warrior. They are rare and ancient masks that are difficult to get! As for the hanbo mask, its purpose was to protect the chin.

Japanese theater masks

In Japanese theater, some roles are essentially played with a mask. The particularity of the latter is their handcrafted manufacture. These unique objects change expressions depending on the light and the angle from which they are viewed.

There are five main categories of Noh masks. There are :

  • the masks of women,
  • men's masks,
  • the masks of old men,
  • spirit masks
  • and demon masks.

The earliest Noh masks were lacquered and carved in hinoki (cypress wood). These works of art have been preserved for generations in the houses of the No. If you are interested in the art of the scene here is our selection of ancient masks.

1. The mask of the avenging spirit: hannya

In Japanese culture, hannya is a yurei. It is a Japanese ghost coming back to earth to terrify humans. In the theater, hannya is the incarnation of lady ryuko. This noble Japanese woman is in love with a destructive love that will turn her into a demon.

2. The mask of the demon Tengu

A tengu is a demon warrior. It is a Japanese character with a long nose who wears geta sandals and a long kimono.

3. The mask of the wrestler and kappa demon

Kappa loves to torment humans, but they are especially big fans of sumotori. Legends tell that they took human form to participate in sumo wrestling.

4. The demon mask

In Japanese theater, a mask with horns represents a female demon, and conversely a mask without horns is male. The traditional oni masks express an intense savagery! It's also an excellent choice for a Japanese decoration if you like yokai universe!

How to choose your Japanese mask

The cultural richness of Japan is incredible, and even more so with all the Japanese deities, kami and yokai who gravitate there. The mystery that lies around these mythical and mystical beings is intense! Above all, you must choose a mask according to your tastes and its meaning!

Whether you're a fan of cosplay, an inveterate airsoft player or just someone looking for a Halloween mask, you'll find in our Japanese store something to delight the Japanese divinity or the otaku inside you!