We’d offer it a tissue, if we weren’t also kind of scared of it.

As with many of the country’s traditional arts, there’s an amazing amount of care and technique that goes into the making of Japanese masks. By skillfully blending subtle contours and textures, the highest-quality masks take on an eerily lifelike yet unearthly atmosphere, which explains why they feature so prominently in Japanese horror stories and folktales.

But hey, it’s not like they’re really alive, right? Ordinarily we’d say of course not, but this video of a mask with a pained expression that looks like it’s shedding a torrent of tears has us rethinking our stance on the issue.

The video was posted by the mask’s creator, craftsman Kenichi Asano. As part of the production process, Asano has to boil off the resins from the hinoki (cypress) frame, but as the mask bobs on the surface of the scalding water, it starts to look more and more like it’s fully aware of its painful situation.

Online reactions have included:

“It’s crying because of how hot the water is.”
“You could use this as a torture scene in a movie.”
“That’s seriously scary…”

For his part, Asano says that he’s enough of an old hand at making masks that this step doesn’t bother him, and that he actually looks forward to what sort of expression a new mask will show at this stage. He’s got a point, as there’s an undeniable beauty to his work, but all the same, we’re happy this isn’t happening in our kitchen.

Source: IT Media, Twitter/@k1asano

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