Buzz over mozzie-sucking device in Japan

KATORI KUSEI: The dual-function device, which filters out airborne pollutants and traps mosquitos, was a hot topic online after Sharp announced the product in March.


    Jun 14, 2016

    Buzz over mozzie-sucking device in Japan


    AN AIR purifier that filters out not only airborne pollutants, but also mosquitoes, is drawing attention in Japan.

    The dual-function device, released by Sharp, has been selling exceptionally well.

    Called Katori Kusei, the air purifier works by sucking in mosquitoes along with pollen and dust.

    It has an ultraviolet light to lure mosquitoes and an adhesive sheet that traps them.

    Advance orders for the product were 10 times more than what the firm usually receives.

    This is despite the lack of TV commercials for the product since it was released on April 23. The company had been tightening its purse strings due to financial issues.

    To cater to the unexpected demand, Sharp has now trebled its production from the initial 3,000 units a month.

    One unit retails for around 50,000 yen (S$639) plus tax.

    The model was initially targeted at customers in South-east Asia, such as Malaysia and Singapore, where mosquitoes are a nuisance.

    In Japan, the sales of air purifiers tend to taper off once the hay fever season of early spring is over.

    But the Katori Kusei has bucked the trend. It was a hot topic online immediately after Sharp announced the product on March 17.

    The firm usually gets up to 200 advance orders for conventional air purifiers but the demand for Katori Kusei had shot up to 2,300 units the day before its release.

    According to Yodobashi Camera's Umeda Store in Osaka, customers in their 50s and 60s show the most interest in the product.

    The in-store display, which demonstrates the mosquito-catching function, appears to attract many customers who stop and look out of curiosity.

    But another leading home appliance maker downplayed the product's popularity, saying: "It was simply because the release coincided with social anxiety over Zika virus."