Japanese Hairstyles

Hair styles are closely linked to Japanese Culture. When donning a kimono, spending enormous amounts of money on fixing the hair is not unheard of. In Sumo, the wrestler’s hairstyle expresses his ranking. Let’s take a look at some words relating to hairstyles.

hageoichouchonmagebouzumeririokabbamohikan kattobenpatsu


hage はげ Hage – Bald

  • We’ll start with the simplest hair style — none at all!
  • This can also be seen as an insult, so be careful!

jissai, hage te iru no wa suzushii desu.
Actually, being bald is very cool (temperature)!

実際 jisai – actually…        
はげ hage – bald        
でいる de iru – being bald
涼しい suzushii – cool; refreshing

oichou 大いちょう o-ichou – High Ranking Sumo’s Doo

  • A ichou is a Gingko tree. Evidently the Gingko tree’s leaf is shaped like the Sumo’s topknot. (or the other way around)
  • The o means ‘great’ or ‘big.’

( 理髪店で ) 私の夢はお相撲さんになることですので 大いちょう にしましょう。
(rihatsuten de) watashi no yume wa o-sumou-san ni naru koto desu node
o-ichou ni shimashou.

(At a barber shop) My dream is to be a Sumo wrestler, so please give me a Sumo-doo.

理髪店 rihatsuten – barber shop        
で de – at        
私の watashi no – my (NO is possessive)        
夢 yume – dream (both sleeping dream and future dream)        
は wa – topic marker, particle        
お相撲さん o-sumou-san – polite ‘nickname’ for a Sumo wrestler        
になる ni naru – become        
こと koto – thing (in this case, the whole idea of having a dream of becoming a Sumo wrestler)        
ので node – because        
おおいちょうにしましょう o-ichou ni shimashou – to do a o-ichou (to go for that hairstyle)

chonmage ちょんまげ chonmage – Topknot

  • During the Edo Period this was the hairstyle of choice among the samurai. I have heard this style was chosen to make wearing a helmet easier.

sessha no chonmage wa totemo kakkoii de gozairu.
(Using Samurai style words) My chonmage is very cool (styling).

拙者 sessha – I (Samurai word – you will notice that Japanese has many, many personal pronouns.  This really flavors the language. 
の no – possessive marker (sessha no = my)        
とても totemo – very        
かっこい kakkoi – cool, styling        
でございる de gozairu – another samurai-like word that means ‘desu’ (to be)

bouzumeriri ぼうず bouzu – Close-cropped Hair

  • A common cut for school boys in the more traditional schools.
  • In English is this called a ‘buzz-cut’? I am not sure, but the sounds are very similar
okappa おかっぱ okappa – Bobbed Hairstyle

  • And this is the common cut for school girls
mohikan katto モヒカン カット mohikan katto – A Mohawk

  • I don’t see too many of these here in Fukui-ken, but maybe in Tokyo…
  • Needless-to-say, this isn’t a traditional Japanese style cut

    EXAMPLE: 校長先生は急にオレンジのモヒカンカットで学校に現れました。
kouchou-sensei wa kyuuni orenji no mohikan katto de gakkou ni arawaremashita.
The principal suddenly appeared at school with an orange Mohawk.

校長先生 kouchou-sensei – principal        
急に kyuuni – suddenly,        
オレンジ orenji – orange color        
の no – possessive (orange’s mohawk)        
モヒカンカット mohikan katto – mohawk        
で de – with (a mohawk)        
学校 gakkou – school        
に ni – at (school)        
現れました arawaremashita – past tense of arawareru (to appear; to come into sight)

benpatsu べんぱつ benpatsu – Chinese Style Pigtail

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