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Tweet of the Week #105: Japanese Company Creates Business-card Face Mask

Will face masks replace business cards in Japan?

By 2 min read

Several months after the pandemic, surgical face masks have become part of our everyday lives. Whether we like it or not, stepping outside without a mask is not only dangerous but socially irresponsible, too (unless you’re lucky and living in the middle of nowhere). 

So, instead of fighting it, why not adopt what has become 2020’s hottest fashion accessory.

Masks become fashionable, but there’s a catch

Earlier this year, masks were scarce in most countries. Even if you could find one, they were limited to basic white or blue. Now, we have all kinds of styles to choose from, and some are way more expensive than others. Whether it’s a cool home-made design from Etsy or something simple from a 30-piece value pack, masks are now an excellent tool for expressing ourselves.

You gotta’ complete the look.

However, the fashion industry has been tiptoeing around how to treat face masks. Will embracing masks beyond medical necessity stick? Burberry, the first big-fashion house to launch its masks collection, seems to think so.

Unfortunately, due to masks becoming vogue, there could be an awkward downside. We’re slowly becoming unable to recognize each other due to something called “face blindness.” Oops!

Even in Japan, where masks were a cultural norm even before the coronavirus, people have growing concerns about remembering faces and being remembered.

The Japanese ‘business-card mask’

The face blindness scare inspired 101-year-old Japanese printing company Nagaya to develop a possible solution: the business-card mask.

In Japan, business cards are so culturally significant that they’re considered an extension of the individual. 

The first thing you do when meeting a new person is to typically exchange business cards. But does printing your contact details on your face mask really help?





“[Absolutely memorable] Business-card masks now available to solve face blindness. Print names and titles on a three-layer mask using a special printer. You can purchase as few as one, and the price is ¥1500, including shipping and tax.”

Beyond the business-card design, the clever printing company, seeing some more potential deals, also offers sales and customer service masks with a companies’ logo, slogan or any other information the buyer deems relevant.

How to use zettai in Japanese

Although seen very early in Japanese studies, 絶対, or zettai, is a strong word that can be an adverb (e.g., absolutely, unconditionally) coupled with the particle . However, it’s sometimes used with a noun (e.g., absoluteness) or even an adjective (e.g., absolute, unconditional). In which case you’ll see 絶対 in a compound adjective such as 絶対的 (zettai teki).

絶対にけません = I absolutely won’t lose!

このに絶対は = In this world there’s no absoluteness

絶対的な信頼しんらい = Gain absolute trust


Japanese Romaji English
おぼえられる oboerareru can remember
わかりにくい wakarinikui hard to understand
問題もんだい解決かいけつ mondai o kaiketsu solve a problem
登場とうじょう toujyou entry, appear
3層構造さんそうこうぞうのマスク sansoukouzou no masuku 3-layer mask
特殊とくしゅ tokushyu special
肩書かたがき katagaki title

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