Products that claim to filter out or kill viruses are hugely popular in Japan; likewise, the market for surgical masks, sterile hand sanitizers and air purifiers is pretty healthy. There’s no shame in wearing a mask on the crowded train to work and, since the swine flu outbreak of 2009, it’s become pretty standard procedure to use a hand sanitizer upon entering the office building. While such precautions might seem a little obsessive, it’s become just a part of everyday life in Japan.
As the market grows, the design of these products is getting increasingly funky. This summer an air purifier called Virus Attacker, designed by the famous Nendo team for S.T. Corporation, came out on the market. Minimal and white, the Virus Attacker leans forward in order to target those nasty bugs, while adding a touch of space-age glamor to your home.
Anxious parents looking to protect their infants from infection have been snapping up a new product that completely encases a child in a protective environment when out and about. Basically a protective covering made out of breathable fabric that fits over baby strollers, the Vacuum Mask is designed to filter out harmful viruses, creating a sterile environment that would have been the envy of hypochondriac millionaire Howard Hughes. With little in the way of a media campaign, according to Nikkei Trendy, the product has sold out in many pharmacies across the country since it went on sale on 19 Oct.
Outdoors adult protection is still restricted to surgical masks, but recently cooler versions than the classic hospital white have been appearing on the market. We like this zebra print version by Pico and the girly mask from Design Mask, made with Gothic Lolita’s in mind.
As the weather gets colder and trains fill up with sniffling passengers, sales of anti-virus products look set to be brisk. Stocked up yet?