Japanese Cat Masks – How and When They Are Worn

Did you know that the tradition of wearing cat masks as a cultural symbol has been around for over seven thousand years? What is even more interesting about this story is that it has been passed down from generation to generation. And this fascinating history continues today in Japan where literally tens of thousands of people choose to wear these wonderful works of art daily. You can easily shop cute Japanese cat masks from online stores.

When This Tradition was Initiated?

Japanese Cat Masks - How and When They Are Worn 2

The tradition of wearing a beautiful mask to gain beauty and positive energy can be traced back to the early Japanese occupations of Hawaii. During that time, many native Hawaiians were forced to build a type of ka’elekuola (house of worship) out of stone. They used the leftover stone from building the house to construct the sacred place of worship. Later they would also construct an intricate mask that represented their chief spiritual spirit in addition to a mask to protect themselves while practicing their religious ceremonies.

From that time, the use of the ceremonial mask began to spread throughout Japan and other parts of Asia. During those times the only true religion was Buddhism, and in keeping with its teachings, the monks spent hours every day inside their large stone buildings in case they could not get to their prayer mats inside the temple. Obviously, the lack of any electricity was a huge deterrent to using their tools inside those large stone structures. That is the beginning of the tradition of using a beautiful and decorative Japanese ceremonial mask to gain spiritual, emotional, and physical energy throughout the day.

Particular Cat Masks Design

One of the most recognizable images from Japanese culture is the one of the cat masks. This particular design was most popular and used during the Edo period, which was a few centuries before Japan became a fully functioning nation. It is said that the first ever written record of the use of this type of mask comes from the scroll-painting called the Konosajyarumafu, which was written in the year six hundred, according to some records. The early Konosajyarumafus uses a very unique pictorial representation of what many believe is the first kimono design. The pictorials show two women sitting on a field, surrounded by a colorful landscape and trees.

Why Japanese Wear Cat Masks?

The tradition of using a ceremonial mask continues today in the Japanese culture. Many people wear a beautiful and ornate mask to bring good luck and good fortune to their home, to ward off evil spirits, and to gain protection from their home environment. Some use these masks as a way to represent their descent from a certain family history, to honor their ancestors, or just for fun. Either way, the use of a Japanese ceremonial mask has taken many different forms throughout the years, and each represents something different about its creator.

As you can see, the role that these Japanese masks play has varied throughout time and across the different cultures that have held sway in Japan. Although they primarily serve as visual stimulants to help people visualize what they are trying to achieve, they are also very meaningful and symbolic.