It doesn’t get more manly than having a guy’s oiled chest on your mouth.

Face masks in Japan have undoubtedly evolved into a full-on fashion accessory, with the advent of multiple styles catering to everyone from anime fans to nightclub workers. Not everyone is thrilled about this, however, like our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma.

He’s a man of simple tastes, and views clothing and grooming for their utilitarian purposes only, such as preventing burns in delicate areas when cooking bacon. Past attempts to make Masanuki over always ended up with him looking like either a dictator or a dictator’s prisoner.

2018 Makeover

2020 Makeover

Up until now he was quite happy with a plain white mask, but social trends were dragging our reporter kicking and screaming to get a “fashion mask” of his own. He started his search at the Tokon Shop (“Fighting Spirit Shop”) which is the exclusive merchandise site of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and it was here that his search also came to an abrupt end.

Masanuki clicked on his shopping cart mere seconds after setting his eyes on a mask crafted by none other than pro-wrestler Hiroshi Tanahashi, a.k.a. “The Japan-Made Heartbreak Kid,” a.k.a. “The Highflying Star,” a.k.a. “Mr. Tokyo Dome,” a.k.a. “The Once-In-A-Century Phenom,” a.k.a. “The Child Prodigy of the Sun,” a.k.a. “Ace.”

Tanahashi’s nicknames were surpassed in number only by his title belts, making him one of the greatest of all time in Japanese pro-wrestling. If anyone understood Masanuki’s own no-nonsense aesthetic, it’d be him.

That being said, the image of the actual mask on the website was blurry, and he purchased it so fast he didn’t really get a good look at it until the day it arrived in the mail.

▼ It came in a “Fukkin M”

Masanuki was surprised at how understated the mask appeared out of the package. Far from the vivid colors of wrestling gear, this looked rather dim and kind of like a Tool album cover.

But once unfolded, our reporter couldn’t contain a gasp of “Oh my God.”

Spread across the front of his mask was the muscular torso of Tanahashi and “Go Ace!” written in the bottom corner. By the way, “fukkin” (pronounced fook-keen) is the Japanese word for “abdominal muscles,” in case you were wondering about that label before.

It was the most beautiful thing Masanuki had ever seen and perfectly encapsulated how he wanted to present himself to the world. “This’ll do Ace,” he said slipping on the mask for the first time, “This’ll do.”

▼ “Hey, my eyes are up here.”

With Mr. Tokyo Dome’s rock-hard abs pressed firmly across Masanuki’s lips he felt as a safe as a baby in its mother’s oily, muscular arms. Surely nothing could penetrate this washboard, be it a backhand chop, lariat, or coronavirus.

Or so he thought until checking the package which clearly stated that this was “designed only for fashion and not intended to block infections or pollen.” That seemed odd considering it was called an “anti-bacterial fashion mask,” but it meant our reporter would have to add his own filters if he wanted proper protection from the elements.

But even with that weakness, it was still cool. It was unfortunate that the naked man on his face couldn’t stop viruses or even the Asian Mist, but he felt certain it would at least stop the kids at the 7-Eleven from pointing and laughing at him once and for all.

Source: Tokon Shop/Anti-Bacterial Fashion Mask Hiroshi Tanahashi
Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]