If you ask Japanese people if they know what a meme is, they will probably look at you saying “what?”. In other words, memes, like we know them, aren’t a thing in Japan. But this might be changing as Japanese people are turning to memes during the coronavirus outbreak.
Two Masks Per Houshold Memes
On April First, Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe announced that the Japanese government would give two masks each to 50 million households to fight the coronavirus. When I first read the headline I thought it was an April fools joke because it just sounds ridiculous…
And it gets even more ridiculous when you see what those masks look like:
After the news was published, Japanese people immediately started making memes out of it.
This illustration shows an iconic seven-member family from a popular Japanese TV-show struggling to share the two masks they received form the Japanese government.
The following two images are taken from famous Ghibli movies and should portray parents refusing to give their mask to their child.
And the last meme about Japan’s two mask announcement shows Japan’s prime minister wearing two of his small masks, covering his entire face.
Japanese "Mitsu Desu" Meme
If you’ve ever been in Tokyo and wanted to hop on a train, chances are you couldn’t get in because it was full. That’s why the Japanese and especially the Tokyo government wanted to reduce the amount of people gathering in public places.
Tokyo’s mayor Yuriko Koike said to reporters wanting to interview her the phrase “mitsu desu” which means as much as “Dense!” or “Too Close!”
This alone got turned into a meme and people started saying “mitsu desu” when they saw too many people in one place.
But it only really took off after someone on youtube created a song using some of her phrases.
The Mitsu Desu Meme
Here are some examples of the mitsu desu meme:
Mitsu Desu Inspires Japanese Video Game
The phrase “mitsu desu” even inspired some video games:
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