• Coronavirus

Osaka Restaurant Owners Reveal Smiles for ‘No Mask Calendar’

The Yomiuri Shimbun
The “No Mask Calendar,” which is full of pictures of dining establishment owners in Osaka smiling without masks in response to the downgrading of COVID-19.

OSAKA — Restaurant owners and others have created a calendar featuring photos of themselves taken without masks, in response to the downgrading of COVID-19’s status to Category V under the Infectious Diseases Law.

Called the “No Mask Calendar,” it is an A2 sheet of paper measuring 420 millimeters in width and 594 millimeters in length, and is dated for one year from May 1 of this year.

Kayoko Maki, the 47-year-old president of a design company in the Minami district of Osaka that works to attract foreign visitors to Japan, proposed the calendar, and 52 izakaya pubs and others responded to her call. A total of 300 copies were made and will be displayed at the participating establishments.

In June 2021, Maki and like-minded people created a calendar featuring photos of dining establishment owners and others wearing masks, hoping that they could stay positive even amid a sharp decline in customers due to COVID-19. At that time, they promised to make a calendar featuring photos of the owners without masks when the pandemic eased.

“I can finally serve customers and show my smile [without a mask],” said Maki, who also runs a sushi restaurant in Minato Ward, Osaka. “Foreign tourists are coming back, so I want to revive [the dining industry even more] from now on.”