Nowadays Japanese people commonly wear surgical masks to prevent the spread of germs, as a fashion statement, or even just for a little sense of privacy. But masks have a history almost as old as Japan itself. Originally they were used in prehistoric religious rituals beginning in the Jomon period (10,000 B.C. to 300 B.C.). Masks are alive and well in Japan today, and you can own a piece of the tradition! But if you want to hang one on your wall, you may want to know what they’re all about when someone asks!