#533 Hayfever

Make no mistake, hayfever is not a good thing.

But it has an interesting background story and innovative products to combat it.

In Japan (except Hokkaido and Okinawa) hayfever around this season is pervasive.

The main culprit is the Japanese cedar tree.


Image from Wikipedia

Hayfever wasn’t common until the 60’s.

They planted trees after the war to use for building (since most Japanese houses have a wooden frame).

An unintended side-effect was the giant attack of pollen to everyone’s noses, eyes and mouths every year.

Everyone wears masks on the trains and outdoors.

Some people even use these goggle-like glasses and sprays:


Hayfever is called kafunsho in Japanese (花粉症・かふんしょう).

If you break it down character by character, it literally reads as “flower flour symptom”. Catchy.

Hayfever season is like the evil twin of the cherry blossoms season too.

Japanese media track the upcoming pollen season the same way, with maps and charts and levels of pollen.kafunsho.jpg
So, you can have an appropriate level of dread for the approaching assault to your respiratory system.

They even have the leader of Arashi doing the TV advertisements for hayfever medicine:


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