Information Regarding the Wearing of Men-Masks in Kendo
The All Japan Kendo Federation released the following statement on March 10, 2023, regarding the use of men-masks in kendo as the Japanese government’s guidelines on the use of masks in general is changing from March 13, 2023.
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of the Government of Japan has recently issued the following statement:
“From March 13, 2023, onwards, the wearing of masks will be left to an individual decision, respecting the independent choice of the individual. We ask for your consideration to ensure that an individual's independent decision is respected so that they are not forced to wear or remove a mask against their will."
In accordance with the government policy and an investigation by the All Japan Kendo Federation, the wearing of masks in kendo will be left to the discretion of the individual from March 13, 2023, regardless of the “Guidelines for Preventing the Spread of Infections with the Resumption of Interpersonal Keiko (Taijin-teki-keiko)” that were issued on August 4, 2021.
However, in view of the fact that kendo is a martial art during the practice of which practitioners emit droplets that can cause transmission of COVID-19, we ask that the following points be borne in mind when practising kendo.
1. Please use a mouth shield if not wearing a men-mask.
The AJKF has conducted another scientific study on the droplet prevention ability of shields. There are many types of shields on the market, but according to the research conducted by the AJKF, all shields have a certain level of effectiveness against large droplets (5µ and above). However, for small droplets (0.5 μ or more), there was a difference in the splash prevention ability between shields, with some shields having little or no prevention ability depending on the shape of the shield.
However, according to an investigation conducted by the AJKF, plugging the gap at the bottom of the mouth shield with a sponge was highly effective in preventing droplet emission.
NOTE: AJKF Investigation. Most droplets of 5µ and above fall at a distance of 1.5 to 2m, but smaller droplets can float in the air and cause infection of omicron strains. For this reason, the AJKF investigated the dispersal prevention ability of five different shields against large droplets (5µ and above) and small droplets (0.5µ and above) respectively. The results are as follows:
- Large droplets (5µ and above): 14% to 89% droplet prevention
- Small droplets (0.5 µ and above): -30% to 47% droplet prevention
- Using a sponge: 68% small droplet and 95% large droplet prevention
Wearing a men-mask is a personal decision, but please note that some experts have suggested that people at high risk of serious illness (e.g. those with underlying medical conditions, people aged 70 and over) should continue to wear men-masks and shields to prevent infection.
2. Please continue to ensure the following basic infection prevention measures, regardless of whether you wear a men-mask or not. (Refer to the “Guidelines for Preventing the Spread of Infections with the Resumption of Interpersonal Keiko (Taijin-teki-keiko)”)
- Ensure thorough ventilation of the dojo, including the use of industrial fans (Very important). - Install carbon dioxide level readers. - Vaccination is recommended. - Avoid the “3 Cs” (confined spaces, crowded spaces, close contact settings). - Hand sanitisation.
3. In iaido and jodo, the wearing of men-masks is left to the discretion of the individual.
*Please note that this information is for Japan. Follow the guidance in your own country/region.