Fights over surgical masks break out in Yokohama amid Covid-19 outbreak

Twitter users debated over the nationalities of the brawlers.

Julia Yeo| February 27, 01:54 PM


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Due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Japan, surgical mask sales have skyrocketed and have become near-impossible to obtain, for many.

Fights break out over masks

Besides looming Covid-19 fears, the demand for masks in Japan is typically high in the current season, for colds and allergies in early spring.

At least two fights have broken out over the elusive commodity in Yokohama's Isezakicho neighbourhood, according to Soranews24.

One of the fist fights apparently took place on Feb. 25, where people were queuing for new shipments of surgical masks from Matsumoto Kiyoshi, a popular drug store chain in Japan.

A Twitter user shared a video of the altercation, explaining that a fight broke out in front of the store even before it opened.

The Twitter user said that he felt bad for the store clerk, so he called the police.

Another fight took place in the same vicinity, where four people ended up in a brawl.

The Twitter user who took the video explained that the fight occurred near a Matsumoto Kiyoshi store as well, although the user wasn't completely sure of the details.

However, the user said that it was due to the limited supply of masks, and warned others to be careful.

Twitter users speculate nationalities of brawlers

While Isezakicho shopping district is often considered the red-light district of Yokohama, several Twitter users were still shocked to see fights break out over masks.

Some ridiculed that they were ironically coming into close contact while trying to buy surgical masks for preventive reasons against Covid-19.

However, a large number of users speculated that those involved in the fight could've been Chinese, as a large proportion of residents in Isezaki district were foreigners, Soranews24 reported.

Twitter comment in Japanese


"Ah, it's Isezakicho. There are quite a lot of Chinese people there. The safety isn't too good there either."

Twitter japanese


"(PRC flag) people are fighting to buy masks at Japanese drug stores to resell at high prices elsewhere."

The Twitter user who captured the second video alleged that the four-way fight was between a Chinese couple, a Japanese, and a Filipino.

Soranews24 added that such occurrences were uncommon in Japan, considering that people residing in Japan periodically deal with emergencies due to natural disasters.

Top image via @Apple_JpN__/Twitter, Torjrtrx/Shutterstock