Masks have long been worn in Japan as a common practice for a variety of reasons, but they're obviously an everyday necessity these days as people practice safety measures against the novel coronavirus. While any facemask will do, makers have tried to spice things up with glow-in-the-dark flashing masks for gamers and transforming monster masks for horror fans. A discount shop even recently equipped its employees with permanently grinning "smile masks" to look more welcoming.

Japanese history buffs, and particularly fans of the country's early warriors, can have their fun too now. Japanese company UM. Succeed, which specializes in goods related to Japan's tumultuous Sengoku period ("Age of Warring States"), has released mask cases modeled after menpou--the sometimes bearded face masks attached to armored samurai helmets.

Menpou were the armored face masks worn by samurai, as seen below. While they were clearly worn for protective purposes, they were sometimes decorated with facial hair and fangs.

The mask cases (blue, black, and red) are not masks themselves, but have an antibacterial agent, are made from the same material as aclear file, and are made to fit a standard mask inside them--so you can simply slip your standard mask in via strings. They're available from the company's online shop or 440 yen.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.