Box maker responds to nationwide mask shortage the best way it knows how.

With the coronavirus pandemic coinciding with hay fever season in Japan, a nationwide shortage of face masks has been going on for the last few months. In response, many companies that weren’t previously in the mask-making business have entered the sector, and one of them is Saga Prefecture’s Sagasiki.

Sagasiki’s mask was developed using the company’s expertise from years in the paper goods industry. However, Sagasiki’s standard product lineup doesn’t use the gauzy material used by most face masks, but heavier paper used for boxes and product packaging, and the application of that experience has led to this.

Sagasiki calls it the Hacode Guard (coming from the Japanese word hako/”box”). It’s not so much a mask as it is a helmet, covering everything from the top of your head down to your shoulders.

Made of a single piece of paper, there are no staples, straps, or interlocking tabs, though the company’s photos suggest that it recommends using the Hacode Guard in conjunction with a standard mask.

But while it’s essentially a box you wear on your head, the Hacode Guard isn’t entirely rectangular. The front surface is actually curved so as to provide better visibility through the clear film that serves as the wearer’s window to the world.

▼ Being made out of paper means you could easily customize yours with stickers or doodles.

▼ The fit is secure enough to keep the Hacode Guard in place even as you lean forward.

▼ From behind, the Hacode Guard can double as Finn from Adventure Time cosplay.

Sagasiki and its Tokyo-based partner Amazing Day have already been donating the Hacode Guard to medical facilities in Saga and Tokyo, and now the companies have begun offering them to the general public online here, where a box of 100 of the single-use masks are available for 17,600 yen (US$164). They’ll also become available through other online market places next month, though it’s still unknown in what quantities.

Source: PR Times
Images: Hacode Guard official website
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