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As the Economy Falters, Japanese Hairstyles Change

If you're an economics-policy wonk, you might want to pay attention to hairstyles. That's because Kao, a Japanese cosmetics company, has been surveying women throughout the past few decades to see whether their hairstyles change with the state of the Japanese economy. According to the entertaining (but not-so-scientific) research, women wear their hair long during boomtime, and they go in for a trim when things aren't looking so hot:

Until the early 1990s, when Japan's economic bubble burst, 60 percent of women in their twenties kept their hair long. . . . During the 1990s economic slump, short hair — defined as above the collarbone — became the dominant hairstyle for Japanese women. But since 2002, long hair has regained some popularity — just as the economy started to expand.

The original story points to shorter haircuts in Japan's future. But do you think this has anything to do with money, or is it just about style?


inertia inertia 9 years
I've been living in Tokyo since early 2002. Hair is shorter now than when I moved here, but Reuters missed one BIG thing... the explosion of affordable extensions and hairpieces over the past decade. Some of the trendiest styles right now actually require a combination of short hair and long extensions in order to achieve the right volume, because almost no one has dense enough hair normally. Nearly every girl in Shibuya has cheap pinch-braided extensions (you can get a full head of human hair for $300 or less), and a fair number of the elegant older ladies in Ginza are also wearing high-quality hairpieces attached to their updos. Right now, it's just common sense to get a short haircut for maximum style versatility. Maybe if the economy gets worse, extensions will become less popular and women will have to start growing out their own hair again.
tkoblondee tkoblondee 9 years
Personally I think it has nothing to do with money.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
It's interesting, but I wouldn't necessarily read too much into it beyond what ashcwebb stated already :)
juiceejuice juiceejuice 9 years
isn't this just similar to the length of skirt theory?
Toveracre Toveracre 9 years
I think they go hand in hand, more & more women go short for simplicity & care (and many other reasons), then a trend may begin because of it. But, i do agree that other than marketing reasons the study is useless since so many factors are involved.
belladande belladande 9 years
Unless people need to find out the best time to market shampoo and extensions to women in Japan, this study is useless-at least as it's presented by reuters.
designergirl designergirl 9 years
I don't think that it has to do with money. I have short hair, and I spend more money keeping it looking neat and tidy than I ever did with long hair. I like ashcwebb's analysis, I know short hair makes me feel different than other women and more in control.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I think it's about women trying to feel more powerful and deticated. I mean, it makes sense when you cut your hair when the job market isn't too good. Then you won't be labelled.
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