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Demand grows for other kind of mask

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                A worker, above, applies the final touch on a rubber mask depicting President-elect Joe Biden, which is being sold for $23, at the Ogawa Studios in Saitama, north of Tokyo. Ogawa Studios is the only manufacturer of rubber masks in Japan.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A worker, above, applies the final touch on a rubber mask depicting President-elect Joe Biden, which is being sold for $23, at the Ogawa Studios in Saitama, north of Tokyo. Ogawa Studios is the only manufacturer of rubber masks in Japan.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                Above, mold bases for rubber masks depicting Biden are being prepared on a production line at the studio.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Above, mold bases for rubber masks depicting Biden are being prepared on a production line at the studio.

SAITAMA, Japan >> While surgical masks have been highly sought after this year, another kind of mask is seeing some demand — Joe Biden rubber masks.

Ogawa Studios, a Japanese manufacturer, began producing masks resembling the U.S. president-elect in mid October, ahead of last month’s election.

Workers in Saitama, a city north of Tokyo, mold rubber to form a likeness of Biden’s face, while features including his pearly white teeth and blue eyes are hand-painted.

“Biden’s keywords are dialogue and healing, so we created it with a gentle expression,” said Kouki Takahashi, an Ogawa worker.

So far, more than 1,000 masks have been sold.

The same manufacturer was flooded with orders for Trump masks before Donald Trump’s inauguration as president four years ago.

While sales of Trump and Biden masks were about the same in October, Takahashi said they saw more sales in November for the president-elect.

The manufacturer said making politicians’ masks is good for business.

“Compared to character products, politicians are in office for a long time, so their total sales tend to grow significantly as their popularity continues to grow,” Takahashi said.

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