Photo/Illutration An IKE mask, with a covering designed so wearers can play a wind instrument, is shown at the municipal community center of Hashima, Gifu Prefecture. (Fumiko Takaki)

HASHIMA, Gifu Prefecture--Good news for saxophonists and other wind instrument musicians searching for a way to play without spraying potentially infectious spit while doing so.

A leading Tokyo-based musical instruments retailer has developed a face mask with a hole in it with a maker of everyday sundries here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for musicians to perform in groups due to the danger of spreading the virus.

Technad Corp., based in Hashima, released its IKE mask in mid-August, which it created with Shimamura Music Co.

“I want to return to the days where music can be played by stopping the virus spreading through droplets from people’s mouths,” said Technad's president, Masumi Hara, 53, displaying the masks at a joint presentation event organized by the Hashima Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The masks were made out of material featuring silica gel, which removes moisture and odor on their inner side, according to company representatives.

The hole in the mask over the mouth is big enough to let people wearing them drink beverages with a straw. The masks are also fitted with a flap on the inner side so the hole can be covered. 

Technad is also looking to pitch the IKE masks to police offers and others who need to blow whistles.

The masks sell for 1,680 yen ($16.03) before tax and come in light gray, white and black.