Masks continue to be in short supply in Japan due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. While several Japanese companies have stepped up production and even began making masks for the first time, these efforts have yet to meet demands. Electronic manufacturing giant Sharp made headlines when it announced it would sell masks, but the online store had to shut down when it was overwhelmed with requests and forced to switch to a lottery system.

Meanwhile, as we reported earlier, hand-made mask instructions are popular and many are experimenting with making masks at home out of available materials, even turning bra cups into masks.

But just because you have to wear a mask doesn't mean you can't have a little fun and express your individuality as well. You can now buy a "fashion masks" like the one just announced from Pokemon Shirts, but it looks like Twitter users in Japan are getting creative making their own.

Case in point. Nachu (@itacchiku), who graciously allowed us to use her photos in this article, made this seasonally appropriate mask featuring cherry trees in full bloom.

With permission from Nachu なちゅ (@itacchiku)

You can also see a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant, along with two people pounding mochi rice cakes. If you're puzzled about the meaning of it all, the first three are characters from the fairy tale Momotarō, but when combined with the rice cakes, it's instantly recognizable as the package design of Mochi Taro rice crackers, a famous snack which many Japanese have enjoyed since childhood. Nachu bought a sweatshirt featuring the design two years ago, and she used the fabric to make her mask.

With permission from Nachu なちゅ (@itacchiku)

Her Twitter post already has 3,670 likes at the time of writing, which indicates how many users appreciate this familiar design which probably evokes happy memories of childhood for many Japanese.

Nachu isn't the only one getting creative with their mask-making. Let's take a look at a few others which have also showed up on Twitter lately:

Does this design look familiar? If you've been playing Animal Crossing (for example), then you'll surely recognize it as the Nintendo Switch.

These masks featuring the god of Thunder Raijin and his brother Fūjin, the god of wind, look like they'd make quick work out of any virus that came their way...

With Children's Day coming up soon, this carp streamer mask is a very seasonally appropriate choice, but perhaps a bit embarrassing to wear at the office.

If you're an anime fan, you can also show your enthusiasm for your hobby with a home-made mask. For example, here are masks any Kimetsu no Yaiba: Demon Slayer fan should recognize:

Or you could go with a classic like Sazae-san, which may be more suitable while grocery shopping:

And that's only a small sample. You can find other examples of DIY mask creativity if you follow the hashtag #自慢のマスクを見てくれよ (look at these masks I proudly made).

By - Ben K.