Will This Weird Japanese Contraption Make Masks Comfortable? Or Just Make You Look Very Strange?

Nationwide Culture Covid-19 2020.09.04
It's big, it's plastic, and it sits on your nose. Only in Japan.
With the outbreak of COVID-19 raging on around the world and showing no signs of disappearing any day soon, we all live (as they say in Japan) "with corona." Social distancing is a way of life, of course, and for most of us, we wouldn't dream of leaving the house without a mask to cover our mouth and nose. But there's no use in lyingーwe all know that masks can get pretty uncomfortable, especially during these warm summer months. Which is clearly why Japanese manufacturer Tokyo Chikuma Kasei Co. had the idea of making life easier for us.

Image Source: StarQ

Tokyo Chikuma Kasei Co. most often produces plastic parts for appliances, but their newest product is what they're calling the "inner spacer," made specifically for use under standard pleated surgical masks. While putting this little plastic contraption on your nose beforehand might look a little bizarre, it's meant to push the mask away from the face, giving wearers more space to breath through their mouth and nose, preventing excess heat buildup, and also helping to prevent the skin troubles that masks can sometimes cause.

Image Source: StarQ

Through their convenient little diagrams, you can see how the complicated plastic shape just about clips onto the wearer's nose, pushing against both the face and the mask, and creating a little pocket of air.

After looking at the illustrations, I can't help but wonderーhow effective is it really? How much space does it create? Is the feeling of plastic pushing against your nose and cheeks actually worth the relief of a little extra space?

Image Source: StarQ

The inner spacer comes in two varieties, made from either hard plastic or a slightly softer polymer. The hard type, they say, is rigid enough to create a wide gap between the face and the mask, and is especially good for people who have issues with the mask pushing up and into their eyes. (I can relate to this problem immensely.) The soft one is not only a little more subtle, it can also be a more secure fit for some.

At 868 yen for a set of both varieties, is it worth buying the inner spacer and testing just how well it works in the gross humidity of the Tokyo summer? I'm still on the fence about that. If you want to learn more about Tokyo Chikuma Kasei Co., and see where they're selling the inner spacer, you can check out their official website. For more updates and info from Japan, follow Japankuru on twitter, instagram, and facebook!
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