TOKYO (Reuters) – A year into the coronavirus pandemic, a Japanese trader has come up with a different take on the theme of facial disguise – a hyper-realistic mask that represents a stranger’s characteristics in three dimensions.
Shuhei Okawara’s masks will not save you or others against the virus. But they will give you the same appearance of an unknown Japanese adult whose characteristics have been printed onto them.
“Mask shops in Venice presumably do not buy or sell faces. But that is likely to occur in fantasy stories,” Okawara told Reuters.
“I thought it would fully do that.”
The masks will go on sale early next year for 98,000 yen ($950) each at his Tokyo shop, Kamenya Omote, whose commodities are popular as accessories for parties and theatrical performances.
Okawara selected his model, whom he paid 40,000 yen, from more than 100 applicants who sent him their photos when he inaugurated the project in October. An artisan then revised the winning image, produced on a 3D printer.
Early analyses suggest the need for the masks to be strong, Okawara said.
“As is often the case with the customers of my shop, there are not so many people who buy (face masks) for specific purposes. Most see them as art pieces,” Okawara said.
He plans to slowly add new faces, including some from overseas, to the lineup.
($1 = 103.4300 yen)