Register :: Log in :: Profile   


Top knots (chonmage)

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // The Bakumatsu to Meiji
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Wave Tossed
Tsushima no Kami
Tsushima no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 1698
Location: Columbia, Maryland U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 10:26 am    Post subject: Top knots (chonmage) Reply with quote
I don't know how important this is, but I'm curious: When did men during the Meiji period stop wearing their topknots? And I'm curious as to why -- what impelled them to cut their hair rather than continue to wear it in the traditional ways?

I used to believe that laws were passed, dictating the hairstyle, such as the laws banning the wearing of swords. However, looking at pictures and reading some sources, it seems that the short hairstyles evolved rather than being legislated. Was it because these men of the Meiji era wanted to be "Western"?
_________________
"Walk the thousand mile road, step by step" -- Miyamoto Musashi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Obenjo Kusanosuke
Kii no Kami
Kii no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 4526
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Wave,

Good question. As you no doubt probably noticed while watching jidai geki from your impressive collection (that’s meant as a compliment), there are a tremendous variety of chonmage hairstyles among the Japanese during the Edo period. Based on the style of one’s hair, one’s social status, profession, wealth and rank could be determined. Even among the samurai, there was a wide range of ways by which one could display his status and wealth by the way the pate is shaved and the way the topknot is styled.

Even before the Meiji government came into power, people began cutting their topknots and adorning western attire in an attempt to ride the wave (no pun intended) of modernism and or because of a fascination with foreign culture and fashion. However, most Japanese kept the top knots—it’s not so easy to get rid of a top knot culture that had existed since at least the Heian period.

But if you can accept that modernization was one of the main goals of the Meiji government, than you can understand that it became necessary to bring about and end feudal institutions and things that represented feudalism. Thus, the chonmage hairstyle was a vestige of feudal society and culture that needed to be ‘cut’. Some local municipalities tried to outlaw chonmage early on in the Meiji period, as early as 1871, but it didn’t fly to well because of the long history of wearing them and also, closely cropped hair was affiliated with the clergy and criminal prisoners. As you can imagine, some people didn’t want to look like a criminal. Others were flocking to barbershops. I guess it was a matter of taste. However, by 1876, the Meiji government decided the time had come to bury the last visible signs of feudalism among the population and banned the samurai from wearing their swords and banned the chonmage for all strata of society except for sumo wrestlers. This edict went into effect at the end of March 1876 (I believe!!). It should be noted that the Emperor Meiji cut his topknot in 1873, so if the Emperor has gone and done it, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the rest of society to conform.
_________________

Heee heee! Shita iro! Shita iro! Here comes his lordship, Baka Tono!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rekishinotabi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Matsuhide
Bamboo Spearman
Bamboo Spearman
Veteran Member



Joined: 15 Oct 2007
Posts: 329
Location: Denver

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Based on the style of one’s hair, one’s social status, profession, wealth and rank could be determined. Even among the samurai, there was a wide range of ways by which one could display his status and wealth by the way the pate is shaved and the way the topknot is styled.

Are there any good resources detailing those styles and their implications?
_________________
Rekishi to wa, takeyabu ni, tadayotteiru kiri no you na mono desu.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
BlueCollarRonin
Village Councilman
Village Councilman
Veteran Member



Joined: 13 Sep 2007
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Matsuhide wrote:

Are there any good resources detailing those styles and their implications?

That is a good question. I was aware that one's hairstyle was indicative of class and occupation, but I have never scene a illustration or description of some of the different styles and there implications. In truth, the first indication that the styling of chonmage varied by rank or occupation was jidai-geki though I doubt I have a collection as large as Wave's.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Obenjo Kusanosuke
Kii no Kami
Kii no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 16 Dec 2006
Posts: 4526
Location: Tokyo, Japan

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Matsuhide wrote:
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
Based on the style of one’s hair, one’s social status, profession, wealth and rank could be determined. Even among the samurai, there was a wide range of ways by which one could display his status and wealth by the way the pate is shaved and the way the topknot is styled.

Are there any good resources detailing those styles and their implications?


I have something...somewhere....but I have no time to look it up for a while as I have to pack and get to the airport. I'll be away on business for the next 11 days.
_________________

Heee heee! Shita iro! Shita iro! Here comes his lordship, Baka Tono!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rekishinotabi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tatsunoshi
Miko no Kami
Miko no Kami
Forum Kanrei
Forum Kanrei
Multi-Year Benefactor
Multi-Year Benefactor



Joined: 07 May 2006
Posts: 4824
Location: 京都日本 Cincinnati, OH

PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2009 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Here are a few, courtesy of the PMJS list:

Nihon no kamigata = traditional Japanese coiffures : dentō no bi kushimatsuri sakuhinshū.
Kyōto : Kyōto Biyō Bunka Kurabu, 2000. ISBN: 4838199023


Nihon no josei fūzokushi = The history of women’s costume in Japan / [hensha Kirihata Ken]. Kyōto-shi : Kyōto Shoin, Heisei 9 [1997] ISBN: 4763615254


Edo 300-nen no joseibi : keshō to kamigata / Murata Takako.
Kyōto-shi : Seigensha, 2007. ISBN: 9784861521263


In English there is an exhibition catalog:
The shape of chic : fashion and hairstyles in the Floating World : Yale University Art Gallery, March 18-May 4, 1986 / Shauna J. Goodwin.
Publisher [New Haven] : The Gallery, c1986.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Wave Tossed
Tsushima no Kami
Tsushima no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 1698
Location: Columbia, Maryland U.S.A.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Obenjo Kusanosuke wrote:
also, closely cropped hair was affiliated with the clergy and criminal prisoners.
During the Edo period, men of the hinin outcast class were required to keep their hair cut short without topknots. So I was wondering: why would someone want to have their hair styled like that of a hinin?

Though probably wanting to be more modern (and more "Western") over-rode considerations of not wanting to look like an outcast. Also early in the Meiji rule, there was an "Emancipation Edict" that was supposed to abolish the outcast categories (eta and hinin).
_________________
"Walk the thousand mile road, step by step" -- Miyamoto Musashi
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
heron
萩守
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 27 Jan 2007
Posts: 1123
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I just came across a reference to this in a book I am reading about Takasugi Shinsaku. Takasugi shaved his head in 1863, for various reasons, and then let it grow into a zangiri (normal Western haircut) style, as can be seen in the 1865 and 1866 photos of him. The five from Choshu who went to England cut their hair on the way: when Ito and Inoue came back to Japan villagers would not believe they were Japanese, because of their short hair. Westerners associated the chonmage with backwardness and a lack of civilisation and this was one reason why Japanese cut their hair. But Inoue and Ito commented they felt like children with short hair. For Takasugi who was torn throughout his life between his feudal background as a samurai and his appreciation of the demands of the modern world, his haircut could be seen to symbolise a definitive break with his father's household.

According to this book the law sanpatsudattou 散髪脱刀 was enacted in 1871, and that is what koujien says too Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Bethetsu
Hida no Kami
Hida no Kami
Veteran Member



Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 1341
Location: Center of Musashi

PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
heron wrote:
According to this book the law sanpatsudattou 散髪脱刀 was enacted in 1871, and that is what koujien says too Smile
According to the Kojien, the 散髪脱刀 made cutting hair and wearing swords optional, and the 1876.3.28 Haitô-rei廃刀令 forbade non-uniformed personnel from wearing swords. Neither the Kojien nor the J-Wikipedia says the latter law banned the chonmage, so was there actually a law forbidding it?

The 1876 law is as follows:
http://ja.wikisource.org/wiki/大禮服竝ニ軍人警察官吏等制服著用ノ外帶刀禁止

自今大禮服著用竝ニ軍人及ヒ警察官吏等制規アル服著用ノ節ヲ除クノ外帶刀被禁候條此旨布吿候事
但達犯ノ者ハ其刀可取上事
The last clause says that swords worn in defiance of the law would be confiscated.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
onnamusha
Archer
Archer
Veteran Member
2009 Benefactor
2009 Benefactor



Joined: 03 Apr 2008
Posts: 487
Location: Very rural Tennessee

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 5:23 am    Post subject: Re: Top knots (chonmage) Reply with quote
Wave Tossed wrote:
I don't know how important this is, but I'm curious: When did men during the Meiji period stop wearing their topknots? And I'm curious as to why -- what impelled them to cut their hair rather than continue to wear it in the traditional ways?

I used to believe that laws were passed, dictating the hairstyle, such as the laws banning the wearing of swords. However, looking at pictures and reading some sources, it seems that the short hairstyles evolved rather than being legislated. Was it because these men of the Meiji era wanted to be "Western"?
This may or may not be relevant, but I remember reading in Women of the Mito Domain that Aoyama Enju, the head of household and teacher at the Aoyama school, had had to paste on a topknot during the late Edo era, and he was actually quite relieved when the Meiji era came along and he could stop worrying about the paste for his fake topknot melting and causing it to slip during his teaching sessions and simply revert to being comfortably balding. Maybe sheer relief at not having to maintain a difficult hairstyle was part of the reason, eh? Very Happy
_________________
"It is largely left to her (Nature) own natural bodily perfection, and she has no special need to resort to artificial coloring and powdering to look beautiful." -Takeda Shingen's "death poem," borrowed from Zen literature.

http://twitter.com/NagasakiOsada
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002457986799
http://tennterakoya.blogspot.com/
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website Yahoo Messenger
BlueCollarRonin
Village Councilman
Village Councilman
Veteran Member



Joined: 13 Sep 2007
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Top knots (chonmage) Reply with quote
onnamusha wrote:
This may or may not be relevant, but I remember reading in Women of the Mito Domain that Aoyama Enju, the head of household and teacher at the Aoyama school, had had to paste on a topknot during the late Edo era, and he was actually quite relieved when the Meiji era came along and he could stop worrying about the paste for his fake topknot melting and causing it to slip during his teaching sessions and simply revert to being comfortably balding. Maybe sheer relief at not having to maintain a difficult hairstyle was part of the reason, eh? Very Happy


An interesting anecdote.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Post new topic   Reply to topic    The Samurai Archives Citadel Forum Index // The Bakumatsu to Meiji All times are GMT - 10 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Help the Samurai Archives




alexisRed v1.2 // Theme Created By: Andrew Charron // Samuraized By: Aaron Rister

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group