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Do Japanese men have to shave?


Facial hair is a popular topic among men of all cultures. While some men prefer to maintain a full beard or mustache, others prefer to keep their face clean-shaven. In Japan, the tradition of shaving goes back centuries, but do Japanese men have to shave? In this article, we will explore the history of Japanese shaving traditions and answer this commonly asked question.

A brief history of Japanese shaving traditions

Shaving has been a part of Japanese culture for over a thousand years. The practice of shaving one’s head was originally done by Buddhist monks as a symbol of their detachment from worldly possessions. Later, during the samurai era, warriors would shave their heads and faces before battle as a sign of discipline and respect for their opponents. Today, many Japanese men still follow these traditions and consider shaving to be an important part of their daily routine.

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The importance of appearance in Japanese culture

Appearance is highly valued in Japanese culture. From personal grooming to clothing choices, there is a strong emphasis on presenting oneself in the best possible way. This includes maintaining a clean-shaven face for many men. While facial hair has become more popular in recent years, particularly among younger generations, there is still a general expectation that men will keep their faces shaved or neatly trimmed.

The role of work culture in shaving habits

In Japan, work culture is notoriously demanding and competitive. Many companies have strict dress codes that require employees to look professional at all times. This often includes being cleanly shaven. While there is no official law or rule that requires Japanese men to shave for work, it is often seen as a sign of respect and professionalism.

The influence of Western styles

In the early 20th century, Western fashion trends began to influence Japanese culture. This included the popularity of beards and mustaches among Western men. However, during World War II, facial hair was banned in Japan as part of the military dress code. After the war, clean-shaven faces once again became the norm for Japanese men.

The rise of beard culture in Japan

In recent years, there has been a growing trend among younger Japanese men to grow beards or other types of facial hair. This can be attributed to the influence of Western fashion trends and the desire to stand out from traditional norms. However, even with this trend towards facial hair, many Japanese men still choose to shave their faces due to cultural expectations and work requirements.

The benefits of shaving

Aside from cultural expectations, there are also practical benefits to shaving regularly. Shaving can help exfoliate the skin and prevent ingrown hairs. It can also help keep the face looking youthful and fresh. Additionally, many men find that shaving can be a relaxing and meditative experience.

The downsides of shaving

Of course, there are also downsides to shaving. For some men, regular shaving can cause skin irritation or razor burn. It can also be time-consuming and require expensive grooming products. Additionally, some men simply prefer the look and feel of having facial hair.

Alternative grooming options

For those who do not wish to shave regularly but still want to maintain a professional appearance, there are alternative grooming options available. These include using electric razors or other hair removal tools that allow for more flexibility in styling facial hair. Some companies may also allow employees to have neatly trimmed beards or mustaches as long as they meet certain guidelines.

The bottom line

So, do Japanese men have to shave? The answer is no – there is no law or regulation that requires them to do so. However, cultural expectations and work requirements often make it necessary for them to maintain a clean-shaven face. Ultimately, it comes down to personal choice and individual preferences when it comes to grooming habits.


Shaving is an important part of Japanese culture with a long history dating back centuries. While there has been a recent trend towards facial hair among younger generations, many Japanese men still choose to shave due to cultural expectations and work requirements. Ultimately, whether or not one chooses to shave is a personal decision based on individual preferences and grooming habits.

Do Japanese men shave?

Typically, beards are viewed negatively in society and associated with being unkempt or dirty. Therefore, Japanese men often opt to shave their beards when in public in order to maintain a clean and tidy appearance.

Do Japanese boys have body hair?

Men in Japan are similar to men in other parts of the world. Research shows that many Japanese men have less body and facial hair compared to Europeans or non-Asian North Americans. Although my brother and I like having beards, our full-blood brother shaves less than three times a week.

Why do Japanese guys shave their hair?

The popularity of hair removal salons for all genders, including children, in Japan is a reflection of the widespread cultural belief that a hairless body is more attractive than a hairy one. In Japanese language, body hair is often referred to as “unwanted hair.”

Is facial hair OK in Japan?

In the workplace in Japan, having a beard is often considered unprofessional. This may be due to the fact that facial hair is less common among Japanese individuals and can be viewed as unkempt. As a result, many Japanese companies aim to present a pristine image to their clients by discouraging beards.

What cultures can’t shave?

Several religions, such as Sikhism, Islam, and certain branches of Judaism, have rules that prohibit either men or women from cutting their hair, or require men to abstain from shaving their beards.

Do men bathe together in Japan?

For centuries, the Japanese have excelled in the practice of onsen, or hot spring baths. In the past, both men and women would use the same facilities, but now they are typically separated by gender. Although mixed-gender onsen (konyoku) were once common, they are now difficult to find, as cities like Tokyo have prohibited such establishments.

The cultural significance of facial hair in Japan

While Japanese culture has a longstanding tradition of clean-shaven faces, there are also cultural values associated with facial hair. For example, in Japanese folklore, a man with a mustache is often depicted as a wise and respected elder. Additionally, some samurai warriors were known to grow beards or mustaches as a sign of their strength and courage. Today, many Japanese men who choose to grow facial hair do so as a way to express themselves and stand out from traditional norms.

The impact of globalization on grooming habits

With the rise of social media and global fashion trends, there has been an increasing influence of Western grooming habits on Japanese culture. This includes the popularity of beards and mustaches among men worldwide. While traditional Japanese grooming habits still hold strong, there has been a growing acceptance of facial hair as a fashionable choice for men.

The role of grooming in personal identity

Grooming is an important aspect of personal identity for many people, including Japanese men. A clean-shaven face may be seen as a sign of professionalism and respect, while facial hair can convey individuality and style. Whether one chooses to shave or grow facial hair is often tied to personal identity and cultural values.

The future of grooming in Japan

As Japan continues to experience cultural shifts and influences from global trends, it will be interesting to see how grooming habits evolve in the coming years. While clean-shaven faces may continue to be the norm for many Japanese men, there may also be a growing acceptance of facial hair as a fashionable choice. Ultimately, the decision to shave or not will remain a personal one based on individual preferences and cultural values.

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