Amid Coronavirus Fears, Japanese Twitter Responds to Abe's 2 Mask Promise with Memes

Tokyo Culture Coronavirus 2020.04.03
As always, Japanese Twitter users hit the nail on the head, responding to coronavirus mask worries with all-too Japanese anime-themed memes, from classic manga to Ghibli and Pokemon.
This April 1st, families across Japan were left wondering if Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was playing an April Fool's joke on them. As cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) infection continue to spread across the world, and people around Japan are asking those in government to employ more proactive measures, Abe announced his newest plan to tackle Japan's coronavirus situation: an offer of two masks per household. Despite his insistence that the two washable, reusable fabric masks are a good response to the sudden demand, Japanese Twitter is unsurprisingly... unimpressed.
  • On Twitter, many people's impression was that Abe was clearly trying to hide from the truth. So the first response was this image, shared all over the platform, of the prime minister hiding between his two masks. The image has been accompanied by hashtags like #アベノマスク (Abe's masks) and tweets of all kinds, from fairly insightful comments like "we already know how to make masks out of handkerchiefs, why would we need cloth masks?" to people simply laughing at how the masks look, well, a little small for an adult face.
Twitter user @milk3285 quickly responded to the announcement with a comment about how his friend told him would have much preferred two 10,000 yen bills to two masks, including an image of the mask of his friend's dreams.
User @getterlabo agreed, saying "I'd like my two masks to come in this design. Also, I'd like 20 of them, not 2."

The ridicule, of course, did not stop there.
  • The next meme to explode all over Japanese Twitter was this one, featuring the plight of one of Japan's most beloved manga and anime families, the Sazae household. Written across the top in colorful lettering is the phrase "Two Masks per Household." The Sazae family doesn't look pleased with the situation, either.

    Next came Ghibli.
Utilizing a scene from the classic Hayao Miyazaki film Whisper of the Heart, Twitter user @sokuishippai writes "Shizuku, it's because there are only two masks."
Japanese Twitter just couldn't help but imagine how their favorite families would be putting the masks to use. Can't you just feel Chihiro's pain?
  • As this Dugtrio shared by @haruki126 proves, when you have only two masks, even the closest of families may have to make some sacrifices
Finally, Twitter user @moist0ast came to our rescue, showing us the proper way put the two masks to use as a four-person family! What a relief to finally understand!

Have you found the best way to use Abe's two fabric masks? We'd love to hear! Let us know on the JAPANKURU twitter... or instagram and facebook, if you prefer.
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I came to Japan for a semester abroad, and have been here for over a decade now. Maybe it's a happy accident, but I'm not planning on leaving any time soon! So tell me all your Japan-related recommendations on the Japankuru instagram or X (twitter), @japankuru !

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