12 May 2016 --- An unobtrusive stick-on patch called the Soba Allergy Tattoo has been developed to detect the allergy and therefore prevent harm.
One of the most common food allergies in Japan is soba. About 0.03 percent of people are allergic to the buckwheat noodle according to Hokkaido’s Soba Association. As it is one of the most common allergies in Japan, similar to the prevalence of peanut allergies in North America, information and knowledge about the allergy is found throughout the country.
However, this awareness is not common for foreign tourists who are often not familiar with the allergy, which can cause anaphylaxis shock. Therefore, a group called the 230 Soba Street Promotion developed the Soba Allergy Tattoo with the help of advertising agency J.Walter Thompson Japan, to raise awareness of the allergy.
In partnership with dermatologist, Dr. Mami Nomura, a temporary tattoo was designed. The tattoos featured traditional Japanese motifs and designs that are applied to the skin with the broth from soba rather than plain water. If the wearer is allergic to soba their skin turns red and the color becomes visible through the clear plastic section of the tattoo design.
Two hundred of the temporary tattoos were handed out at a recent event at Koyo-tei, one of the oldest sabo restaurants in Sapporo.
Thankfully none of the tourists that tried out the tattoos were allergic and were able to enjoy eating their soba.
With a depreciating yen, more tourists are visiting Japan which raises the need for more awareness of the soba allergy. J. Walter Thompson is hoping that the campaign will expand across Japan in the months to come.
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