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How do Japanese view facial hair?


Facial hair has been a topic of interest for many cultures around the world. In Japan, facial hair has a long and complex history, and its significance has evolved over time. In this article, we will explore the different perspectives that Japanese people have towards facial hair.

The Historical Context

Historically, Japan has had a complicated relationship with facial hair. During the Edo period (1603-1868), men were expected to shave their beards and mustaches as a sign of social status. Samurai warriors, who were considered the elite of society, would often shave their heads and faces to show their loyalty to their lord. However, during the Meiji period (1868-1912), Western influence led to a change in societal norms and many men began to grow mustaches and beards.

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The Modern Perception

Today, the view of facial hair in Japan is more diverse. While some people still associate it with the old-fashioned samurai image, others see it as a symbol of masculinity and individuality. However, there is still a stigma attached to facial hair in some areas such as corporate culture where clean-shavenness is preferred.

The Influence of Pop Culture

Over the past few decades, pop culture has played a significant role in shaping the perception of facial hair in Japan. Many Japanese celebrities, such as actors and musicians, sport various styles of facial hair which has made it more acceptable among younger generations.

The Impact of Religion

Religion has also played a role in shaping how Japanese people view facial hair. In Shintoism, which is the indigenous religion of Japan, beards are considered impure and unclean. On the other hand, Buddhism, which was introduced to Japan from China and Korea, does not prohibit beards or mustaches.

Grooming Habits

Japanese men take great pride in their grooming habits and this extends to their facial hair. Many men use specialized products such as beard oils and waxes to maintain their facial hair. Additionally, barbershops that specialize in beard trimming have become more popular in recent years.

Perception Among Women

The perception of facial hair among women in Japan varies widely. Some women find it attractive and feel that it adds to a man’s rugged appearance, while others prefer a clean-shaven look.

Facial Hair in the Workplace

In many corporate settings in Japan, facial hair is often frowned upon. This is particularly true for customer-facing roles where a clean-shaven look is deemed more professional.

Cultural Differences

It’s important to note that cultural differences exist when it comes to facial hair in Japan. For instance, men with beards or mustaches may face discrimination when traveling to certain areas such as hot springs where they are not allowed due to hygiene concerns.

The Role of Tradition

Tradition continues to play an important role in how Japanese people view facial hair. In some areas of the country, particularly rural areas, men may still be expected to maintain a clean-shaven appearance as a sign of respect for tradition.

Facial Hair as an Act of Rebellion

For some young Japanese men, growing out facial hair can be seen as an act of rebellion against societal norms. This is particularly true for those who feel confined by traditional expectations around grooming habits.


In conclusion, the view of facial hair in Japan is complex and multifaceted. From historical context to modern-day perceptions influenced by pop culture, religion, grooming habits, workplace expectations and cultural traditions – there are many factors at play. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference – whether you choose to embrace your natural growth or follow established societal norms – the choice is yours!

What do Japanese think of facial hair?

Beards are often associated with negative connotations like unkemptness and dirtiness. Therefore, many Japanese men prefer to shave their beards before going out or being in public to maintain a clean and neat appearance.

Is facial hair acceptable in Japan?

When visiting Japan, you may notice that a majority of men, particularly those in professional jobs, do not have facial hair, including mustaches. While removing a mustache can be inconvenient, having one can be seen as a negative in Japanese culture.

Are facial hair attractive?

Overall, studies have shown that women tend to find bearded men more attractive than those who are clean-shaven, especially when considering long-term relationships. However, the relationship between attractiveness and facial hair is not always consistent.

How is facial hair viewed in China?

In contemporary China, a clean-shaven appearance is generally preferred over a bearded one. It is commonly believed that having facial hair is untidy and unclean, as maintaining and cleaning a heavily-bearded face requires significant effort. This preference is rooted in cultural norms.

Do Japanese people care about body hair?

Hair removal salons are prevalent in Japan for both men and women, and even children in recent years. This reflects a common belief in Japanese society that hairless bodies are more attractive than hairy ones. The term “ムダ毛 mudage” in Japanese refers to body hair as unwanted hair.

Do Japanese girls shave public hair?

In Japan, it is common for people to shave their faces, arms, legs, and pubic areas. In fact, having hair in the pubic area is seen as attractive. With the influence of Western culture, this practice has become more widely accepted in Japan.

The Impact of Westernization

Westernization has had a significant impact on the perception of facial hair in Japan. During the Meiji period, many Western cultural influences were introduced to Japan, including the idea that facial hair was a symbol of masculinity and individuality. This led to a shift in societal norms, and many Japanese men began to grow mustaches and beards.

The Influence of Fashion Trends

Fashion trends have also played a role in shaping how Japanese people view facial hair. In recent years, there has been a growing trend for “hipster” styles, which often include beards and mustaches. This trend has made it more acceptable for men to experiment with different grooming styles.

The Role of Social Media

Social media has also played a significant role in shaping the perception of facial hair in Japan. Many influencers and celebrities showcase their grooming habits on social media platforms, which can influence young people’s perceptions of what is acceptable or desirable.

Regional Differences

It’s important to note that there are regional differences in how facial hair is viewed in Japan. In urban areas such as Tokyo, where Western cultural influences are more prevalent, beards and mustaches are generally more accepted. However, in rural areas, traditional values may still hold sway, and clean-shaven appearances may be more common.

The Impact of Gender Roles

Gender roles also play a role in how facial hair is viewed in Japan. While beards and mustaches are generally more accepted among men, women may face negative perceptions if they choose not to remove facial hair. This is due to societal expectations that women should present a certain “feminine” appearance.

The Role of Age

Age is another factor that can influence how facial hair is viewed in Japan. Among younger generations, beards and mustaches are generally more accepted as a symbol of individuality and self-expression. However, older generations may still view them as unprofessional or untidy.

The Future of Facial Hair in Japan

As society continues to evolve, it’s likely that the perception of facial hair will also continue to change. With the growing acceptance of individuality and self-expression among younger generations, it’s possible that beards and mustaches will become even more commonplace in Japan. However, traditional values and societal expectations may continue to impact how facial hair is viewed in certain contexts such as the workplace or formal events.

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