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Japan Subculture Research Center

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No-No-Hair Summer: Time To Trim The Fur in Japan


Apr 28, 2012

It’s summer time. Time for a haircut and time for Ya-Man to launch it’s summer defoliation campaign, No-No-Hair,  because lords knows there is nothing more unsightly than a man or woman with body hair. Or maybe everyone is  considered sexier if they look prepubescent in parts of Japan. “The No-No Hair” hair removal device has sold over 2,500,000 units since we first wrote about it in 2010. “It doesn’t pluck, it’s doesn’t shave, yet it removes your unsightly hair!” What more could anyone ask for?

Ya-Man launches their summer "No No Hair" campaign at Bic Camera urging Tokyoites to remove all unsightly fur before swimsuit season is upon us.

The popularity of the device and its wonderfully obnoxious sales campaign does make a man consider some hard questions. How much body hair is enough?  How much is not enough? Why is it good to have plenty on your head but not on your legs? Why do American adult films have a prevalence of women with completely shaven pudenda? Why do Japanese women tend not to shave their pubic hairs?

What started me on this chain of serious pontification, two years ago was a tweet from one of my favorite journalists covering Japan, Hiroko Tabuchi. (@hirokotabuchi if you want some good japan related tweets to read).  The tweet in question: Unshaven Women: Free Spirits or Unkempt?http://nyti.ms/9tbMPW “Is the fear that no man will want you and your hairy legs valid?” The article in the NYT itself was fairly interesting. Personally, I’ve always thought armpit hair on a woman, French or non-French, was kind of sexy.

For hairy Japanese and barbarians.
For hairy Japanese and barbarians.

In Japan, a certain degree of hairiness used to be considered sexy, in both men and women.  Body shaving wasn’t the big deal it is now as Western influences permeate Japan. Men, now, are also expected to be hairless. This seems odd to me.  It’s as if Japanese men have agreed to neuter themselves.  And of course, there are products to help rid them of any trace of icky manliness, such as the No! No! for Men neo-laser razor. Perfect for getting rid of those stray stomach hairs, or any hint of a five-o-clock shadow.

Three years ago, on a very long sleepless night, I had a strange dream about badger-dogs (tanuki) which I turned into a long short story. It’s my pontifications on hair, culture, and Japan from the viewpoint of a literate bake-tanuki, or were-badger dog. Obviously, it was inspired by the Miyazki Hayao film about Tanuki, several years ago, which I watched on the night I had the dream.  Whatever.

Anyway, for your enjoyment, I’m posting it here. It’s crude, rude, and probably inappropriate but then again anyway you talk about it, “pubic hair” is quite a mouthful.  For your reading pleasure: Letters From An Angry Werebadgerdog.

20 thoughts on “No-No-Hair Summer: Time To Trim The Fur in Japan”
    1. @Mark. Because they’re not walking around nude all the time. Many trim them during the summer so they don’t peek out of their swimsuit. But really, other than that, when it comes to shaving their pubic hairs, why should they?

  1. heh, most amusing nightmare induced writing… glad I didn’t have such dreams after seeing pom poko.
    Guess I’m SOL… being like a viking means not smooth, luckily still have all the hair on my scalp too. So if chicks dig the hairless manboy they’s going elsewhere anyway. hehe, before they even figure out that I’m middle aged too.

    So tell me… if ever I visit, will the public run away from the 6′ tall viking looking tourist dude?

    1. I wouldn’t worry about it. After the release of “My darling is a foreigner” you’ll probably be mobbed with women who’d love to date you. (I’m not really sure about that. lol).
      Middle-age doesn’t mean too much in Japan, as long as you have a job, are reasonably polite, and not horribly grotesque, you could do all right.

  2. Hilarious. I salute you! Particularly liked Taro’s question “why do you want women to look like underage shells?”, or something to that effect!

    Japanese women may not go in for Brazilians but I do see a lot of shaved arms. That must take a hell of a lot of maintenance.

  3. Thanks Sophie! I wrote the thing in one giant burst of insomnia and coffee nerves and it turned out pretty much the way I wanted it to.
    Yes, I think shaving arms must be a tremendous pain in the ass.

  4. Not sure if it’s the same thing, but the American version of No! No! Hair currently enjoys a 1.5-star rating on Amazon (common comments include “waste of money,” “it hurts,” and “basically like taking a cigarette lighter to your body hair.”)

    From what I’ve seen of Japanese consumer culture, I tend to believe that a huge segment of that economy is dedicated to poorly reasoned groupthink.

  5. I am a blond caucasian and have slight “peach fuzz” on my cheeks. It causes my Japanese friends so much worry and they want to touch it and ask about it and it is driving me nuts so when I go to Tokyo next I am definately investing in some nono hair! peer pressure wins out everytime!

    1. Maybe you should just leave it and let people rally you 桃ちゃん? (mono-chan)? Please post a review if you do buy it.

  6. Those dance moves would make Bob Fosse blush (or gag).
    A plea to any ladies who are considering removing hair anywhere on their faces or forearms – just don’t.
    You will have to maintain this look with expensive, regular maintenance for the rest of your life. That peace fuzz is what helps to keep your skin protected and moisturized – even bleaching anywhere except the upper lip is going too far. Years ago, a friend came to me weeping because she had shaved her arms and the regrowth was coarser and longer than what was there before. Some Japanese women do indulge in “face shaving” or “skin shaving”. This procedure is extremely costly and must be performed regularly by a qualified esthetician. This can only work for those who wear a solid wall of makeup on their faces and avoid sun exposure 100% of the time.
    I resent the false dichotomy of “free spirit or unkempt” in the above-quoted NYT Times headline.
    Maybe it’s time for the ladies to run a little quiz at bedtime along the lines of “how’d ya like my grooming asoko?” Anything less than genuine enthusiasm would result in immediate ejection from the conjugal bed for the foolish swain.
    There’s plenty of hot men from all over the world who have far, far better things to do than critique your esthetic choices, ladies. They’re called real men, and they do exist.

  7. I’ve just read Tanuki san’s letter to The Shaving Arts. Very, very funny. Like all effective satire, it will offend those who needed it.

  8. ok and PS I just finished reading your book it was great. I grew up in Tokyo in the 70 and the in the late 70s there were quite a few ojisan with pinkies missing asking me on dates…I was 16 but I knew the score and declined like a proper ojosama….. your book was a .fantastic read thanks so much!! ostukaresamadeshita

  9. Perhaps instead of “why Japanese women don’t shave out their pubic hair” we should ask why has it become normal practice in the West to shave it, to the point you have to wonder if someone doesn’t do it?

    1. Dumb asses. Just because you are and our culture is full of closet pervs does not mean the rest of the world is attracted to women with child-like features, such as shaved pussies. Time for Westerners to realize that the world does not revolve around our cultural beliefs. Dumb asses would shave hair that is naturally there to protect a very sensitive area? For what??? Stupidity of man. For man’s stupid ass pleasures.

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