Japan has a wide tradition in designing and making masks, which are extensively used in the Noh theater and for religious Shinto Kagura dances. There are also some masks used in local celebrations or during festivals, like the oni (demon) mask used for Setsubun.
One of the most interesting masks is Hyottoko, visible on the left upper corner in today’s photo, representing a strange character with pursed lips and bulging, sometimes uneven eyes. Hyottoko (name derived from hi “fire” and otoko “man") is wearing a white scarf with blue dots and blows fire through a bamboo pipe, because it is the god of fire in some regions (especially in the Iwate Prefecture, an area famous for its iron industry). However, in other regions the same mask represents just the fool character in peasant comedies…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: