Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

Japan college entrance exams ban masks with English on them; Sharp ones get OK

A box of masks sold by Sharp Corp. is seen in this image. (Mainichi/Maki Nakajima)
A line of masked examinees are seen reading their test reference books while waiting to enter an exam hall in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, on Jan. 16, 2021. (Mainichi/Yohei Koide)

TOKYO -- Masks with English writing on them have been banned from standardized university entrance exams being held across the country on Jan. 16-17, but it turns out masks with the logo for Sharp Corp. are not.

    In reference to the tests' coronavirus prevention measures, the National Center for University Entrance Examinations issued guidance reading, "Please do not wear masks or other items with English writing, maps or other printed material on them."

    Electronics maker Sharp, which also sells masks, reacted to the rules on its official Twitter account on Jan. 15 by saying, "As it seems examinees for the standardized university exams aren't allowed to wear items with English writing or maps printed on them, Sharp's can't be used (at exam venues)."

    However, in response to an inquiry from the firm, the national exam center said that wearing the company's masks would "not be an issue."

    Sharp then tweeted, "We've been in touch with an individual at the center for university exams, and they've told us wearing Sharp masks will not be a problem and that they can be used. So it's all right. Do your best."

    The university exam center said, "If all the item has is a company or manufacturer logos, or a single one (design), then they can be worn." The employee that manages the Sharp Twitter account responded to the news by saying the company would be "honored if (our masks) can be of use."

    But they added, "We want examinees to know that, in the event that a mask has a problem, they (the test centers) are fully ready to distribute replacements."

    The National Center for University Entrance Examinations' coronavirus prevention policies are available to read (in Japanese only) at the following link:

    (Japanese original by Maki Nakajima, Tokyo Web Editorial Center)

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media