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JPN | Nov 25, 2020

Japan fights COVID-19 in luxurious style with million-yen masks

/ Our Today

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An employee of Cox Co, the operation company of the face-mask speciality shop Mask.com, shows off a luxury face mask decorated with the diamond, platinum and Swarovski crystals which is sellig for one million yen (US$9,640), at the shop, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan November 25, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato)


TOKYO (Reuters)

Japanese trend-setters can now protect against the coronavirus in luxurious style with opulent masks adorned with diamonds and pearls for a cool million yen (US$9,600) each.

Cox Co’s Mask.com chain began selling the hand-made masks last week, with the aim of cheering up people and spurring sales in a fashion industry depressed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The diamond masks are embellished with a 0.7 carat diamond and more than 300 pieces of Swarovski crystal, while the pearl masks contain some 330 Japanese Akoya pearls.

A diamond with 0.70-carat shines on a luxury face mask decorated with the diamond, platinum and Swarovski crystals which is sellig for one million yen ($9,640), is displayed at Mask.com, a face-mask speciality shop operated by Cox Co., amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan November 25, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato)

“Everyone is feeling down because of the coronavirus and it would be great if they could feel better by looking at one of these glittering masks,” Azusa Kajitaka, a mask concierge at the company’s store near Tokyo station, told Reuters on Wednesday.

“The jewellery and fabric industries have also been in a slump because of the coronavirus and so we did this as part of a project to help revitalise Japan,” she added.

Cox, part of retailing group Aeon Co, has opened Mask.com online and in six physical locations since September, offering more than 200 types of masks starting at 500 yen.

An employee of Cox Co, the operation company of the face-mask speciality shop Mask.com, displays a luxury face mask decorated with the diamond, platinum and Swarovski crystals which is selling for one million yen ($9,640), at the shop, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan November 25, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Issei Kato)

Some visitors to the store on Wednesday were concerned the million-yen masks might be out of their league.

“If I wear one of these face masks, I have to wear suitable fashion to match it. So I think it’s a bit embarrassing (to dress up),” said 66-year-old Mitsue Kaneko.

The Japanese masks are still far from the world’s most expensive. That honour belongs to a US$1.5 million mask made with 250 grams of 18 karat gold designed by Israeli jeweller Yvel.

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