Author Victor Hugo once said, “Virtue has a veil, vice a mask,” but what if Japanese, contemporary, and fetish masks are your vice? You’ll want to check out Tokyo Mask Festival Vol. 2!

Although most of the masks you’ll see the average Japanese person wearing today are the surgical kind as polite measure to help prevent passing on colds and other airborne germs, the country has a rich history of wearing masks, from samurai and kendo men masks used to protect skillful soldiers and swordsmen, to the more decorative kinds worn by decora fashionista and a number of Japanese glam bands, or visual kei bands, today. Recently BABYMETAL, a mash-up of idols and guys shredding on their guitars, have made the kitsune mask recognizable both within Japan and abroad with their band’s fox-God theme.

▼ BABYMETALbabymetalkitsune

In fact, if you’re in Japan right now, you might see a few people walking around with oni (ogre/devil) masks and a pack of beans today to celebrate the Setsubun holiday held today, every year on February 3.

Masks also play an important part in theatre and festivals, where Noh masks have been said to be so well crafted that that one mask can display a range of emotions based on the lighting and angle from which it is viewed. You can see masks of spirits and popular folklore characters worn by festival volunteers during parades, or numerous stalls selling rows of plastic masks depicting iconic children’s anime characters.

▼ Traditional Japanese masks, including two large Hyottoko (boy/spirit with a funny face) and Okame (the female version of Hyottoko) masks surrounded by other characters such as oni (ogres/devils) kitsune (foxes), and tengu (mythical demons).japanesemasks

But at TOKYO MASK FESTIVAL VOL.2, which will be held on February 20, masks and only masks are the center of attention. First held last June, the event has been described as a “festival by mask lovers for mask lovers”, where mask enthusiasts can come together, put their best “face” on, and shop for original masks and mask-related gear from local sellers and artists.


Last year a number of guests were invited to speak or perform at the event, including mask-wearing idol group Kamen Joshi.

▼ Kamen Joshikamenjoshi

Just the weekend after Valentine’s Day, the festival should be a promising place to find out more about masks and mask-making in Japan, or buy something to hide your face in shame with if your V-Day confession doesn’t as well as planned, or for any poor shmucks out there who forget to surprise their partner with something special.

Event Information:
February 20, 2016
Place: Kawasakishi Sangyoshinko-kaikan Exibition Hall, 7-8 min. walk from JR Kawasaki or Keikyu Kawasaki Station
Cost: Free for elementary-aged students or younger, 1,000 yen for junior high school students or older

Top/feature image:, edited by RocketNews24
Insert images:, PixabayKamenjoshi Official