A venture firm in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, has developed technology to produce a mask bearing a shocking resemblance to the person ordering it, and they’re taking off as gifts and for stage performances.
The maker, One Face, has created a program to automatically create three-dimensional data by processing only two pictures of a person’s face — one from the front and another from the side.
Using the latest 3-D printing machine from the U.S., the Z Printer, the fully automatic program applies ink to special powdery plaster based on the 3-D data.
“We want to inspire people with our products, each of which are the only one of their kind in the world,” said Masao Ito, 38, the firm’s president.
While the company’s main business is manufacturing models of industrial parts, Ito decided he wanted to “make something for the general public” and eventually developed the mask production program.
A mask is made of about 850 layers of plaster 0.1 mm thick. Each one is individually solidified and colored. The 2-mm-thick face mask surprises the customers themselves, with one commenting it was “even creepy” for looking exactly like that person.
The life-size masks are expensive — ¥30,000 each — but orders have poured in from across the country from people captivated by their realism. The company has also received a series of orders from show business professionals who require props for kabuki and other performances.
The product lineup varies from small mask key holders, priced at ¥10,000 each, to samurai dolls with the person’s face costing ¥148,000.
Ito suggests these items can be used “as gifts for your boss’s retirement, children’s celebrations or a sign to reserve your bottle at a bar.”
The firm doesn’t accept orders for masks of celebrities without their OK, he added.
This section, appearing Saturdays, features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published March 4.
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