- Juju Kurihara
Fear of Being HAGE - the Mystery of Barcode Hair
Updated: May 10
Wow, you poor thing, William...
¨Poor thing¨ I thought. But why? He´s just losing his hair in his late 20´s and from the look at it, he´ll have a nice and shiny head top by the time he becomes 30. Then you might say, ¨so? what´s the big deal?¨
Then a Japanese girl over the coffee, has confessed me that she wasn´t sure if she could like a guy she´d recently met as her boyfriend. Because the boy in his mid 20´s, already shows the sign of boldness, well he has a bold patch.
The way people talk about boldness sounds like almost a phobia and actually I see many ads in everywhere.
I´m sure anyone who has come to Japan must have seen salary-man with this type of hairstyle.
It´s quite gross. I mean this looks quite a loser to me. Once I myself was a student and used to be in the train with many ojisan (おじさん/ middle-age men). I wondered ¨how long do they spend to stick this much hair on the head?¨ As they put some sort of wax or oil in order not to move the hair, they all smelt greasy smell which we call oyaji-shuu (オヤジ臭/ smell of middle-age men). And this type of hair, grow one side and stretch to the other side of the head is called ¨barcode hair¨ as in barcode of the products we buy.
It seems like they believe that their bald head is well covered. It´s obvious to me but belief is incredible. Oh, I´ve read in somewhere that the barcode reader can read barcode hair like the one with the red T-shirt above. That´d be really funny, ¨peep! 280 yen¨.
Our PE teacher in the primary school had thin hair and as we were kids and cruel, we called him ¨hage (禿げ)¨ means bald in Japanese. 10 years after we had a school reunion and as usual, we started talking about the teachers back then. There, one said, ¨hey do you guys know that Mr.A has had hair implant?¨ We were all curious and decided to go to the school festival in that year.
Yes, he did have abundant fringe which used to be some fluff. We all saw him and had a little chat although some did have a strange smirk on their faces.
He is just a school teacher and was so conscious about his hair. So imagine if they are handsome actors or cool dancers.
He is a leader of one of the famous Japanese Hip-Hop group, Da Pump, Issa.
He must be only 25 or 26 and his hair is in a danger. He often shows up in the TV with hats to cover his hage. Yeah, he´s got hair like chick.
Then he´s shaved. It looks much better.
Like him, there are many Japanese men worried about being bald. They are trying to deny, to hide and to increase their hair secretly.
According to Kleopatra, bald men are sexually strong. It´s said that her powerful lover, Julius Caesar was bald but he was well known as a womanizer. In fact, his another name was ¨bald lady killer¨ in Latin.
I´ve never heard of this but this maybe true. They are bald because they have more male hormone. Hmm, Kleopatra was right, she had proved it.
Whatever Kleopatra said good about bald men, yet it´s not so cool to be a bald man in Japan.
If you are sumo wrestler, how strong you are, you have to retire if you lose hair and no longer possible to tie a topnot, like this wrestler. That´s the rule. Being a bald man in Japan doesn´t give you a special bonus in your life, unfortunately.
He is Naoto Takenaka, an actor (photo right). He is hage and he´s accepted his baldness. It looks so much nicer like this than this (photo below).
It´s understandable that it´s sad to lose hair but it doesn´t mean they can traumatize the rest of us.
When we think about hage, it reminds us barcode hair and its smell. And that block us to think that it´s OK to be bald.
So please, guys, just shave it off!
And girls, having a hage boyfriend isn´t embarrassing!
Oh, those who just thought that Japanese men are sissy, this is not just Japanese men but is universal. Here are the photos of hage gaijin (禿げ外人/bald westerners).