Japan’s brown haired plague

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Brown Haired Japanese GirlWhen you think of Japanese hair color, I’m sure that black is the first color that comes to mind. Sure, most people in Japan have black hair unless they dye it. However, there are those with natural colors other than black. The Japan Times has exposed a growing form of discrimination in Japan for those with natural brown hair.

Now I have never changed the color of my hair, and lack the knowledge to know what needs to be done to lighten your hair from black to brown. I suspect the whole brown hair hate stems from the younger generation dyeing their hair lighter in order to stand out and be different. Japan traditionally is a very homogeneous culture that frowns upon that kind of standing out.

Brown Haired Japanese GuyHowever, this idea of wanting to stand out negatively affects those that have no choice but to stand out. The article points out that in order to not attract attention, natural brown haired people have to spend money and time to keep dyeing new growth every week or two. The author then noticed something that went on in staff meetings she attended at a school. She wries,

Later I began to notice during junior high school staff meetings that teachers regularly mention chappatsu (brown hair), when they talk about students’ problematic or delinquent behavior.

So even though you may already know about the younger generation’s desires to stand out, there is also a silent, conformist movement plaguing some in Japan. Personally, I like to see Japanese with brown hair. But I’m used to seeing different color hair. What do you think about this issue?

Read more at the Japan Times.