HOME Japanese Honorable Hairstyle! The Origin of the Samurai's "chonmage"
Japanese Honorable Hairstyle! The Origin of the Samurai's "chonmage"

Japanese Honorable Hairstyle! The Origin of the Samurai's "chonmage"

Date published: 26 August 2020

Chonmage is a characteristic hairstyle of Japanese samurai. In the eyes of modern people, such a hairstyle is undoubtedly rather quirky, so why does Japan have this kind of hair culture in the first place? Let's explore the origin of chonmage.

This unique hairstyle is called "mage", which originated from the hair bun of nobles around Gregorian calendar 600. Around 1200, from the Kamakura and Muromachi Periods, men began to shave their hair on the top of their heads and put it into topknot, which is now fairly well-known.

Japan had a period of no diplomatic relations with other countries, known as "sakoku." But at the end of the Shogunate when Japan opened its doors, it is said that many non-Japanese people were surprised by the appearance of samurai's chonmage.

In this way, the samurai shaved the hair on the top of their head to prevent itching from getting hot when wearing a helmet.

To do your own chonmage, shave the hair on the top of the head, tie the remaining hair and fix it with vegetable oil. It is said that people first used the tweezers to remove the hair from the top of the head, but in the Edo Period, people began to shave it with a razor.

Although the samurai's chonmage was originally used for the head's breathability, it gradually became a proud symbol of the samurai fighting for the monarch and also became popular among ordinary citizens. Since then various styles of chonmage have been produced.

The chonmage culture introduced above can also be seen in the rikishi's hairstyle who are active in more current professional sumo matches. So chonmage shows the honor and pride of the samurai fighting for the monarch.

Illustrations courtesy of Manga de Japan

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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