Why Are Bangs so Popular Among Japanese Girls and Women?

  • Bangs are hugely popular in Japan among girls and women (and some men, too). Walk down any street in Tokyo, sit in any coffee shop, or take any train during rush hour, and it is likely that most of the women or girls you will see are sporting bangs in various shapes and styles.

    Japanese women take a lot of price in their appearance, and it can be quite intimidating coming from the west to see that everyone makes such an effort with having coordinated clothing, current fashions, and perfectly ironed out clothes. This can be seen particularly on the fashionable streets of Harajuku, but also in many other places.

    Japanese women will usually wear makeup for most occasions, and will also be likely to dye their hair usually involving light browns and even blonde shades. When it comes to hairstyles, however, the bangs are a sure winner. This article will delve into the world of bangs in Japan and why they are so incredibly popular here!

    Bangs in Japan

    It is estimated that almost nine out of ten women in Japan have bangs as part of their hairstyle. In Japanese bangs are called ‘Maegami’ (前髪), and are regarded as the default hairstyle for both Japanese women and also younger Japanese girls.

    Indeed, not just in Japan but in countries nearby such as Korea and increasingly in China, bangs are seen as a hairstyle which can narrow the face and make it appear smaller. They are also regarded as a young-looking hairstyle, and looking as young as possible is also sought after in Japanese culture.

    Bangs can vary in size and shape. Some of the most popular ones in Japan include a front bang with a medium bob, short bangs with longer hair, straight bangs with straight hair, and more wispy bangs with curly or wavy hair. The style of bangs people choose may depend on the shape of their face, their hair length, and the particular look they want to achieve.

    But why are bangs so popular in Japan? Read on to find out some of the reasons to explain why this haircut has taken off so much in the country.

    Television Personalities and Other Stars

    One reason for the enduring popularity of bangs must be the huge popularity of bangs among celebrities, idols, models, and other stars in Japan. In Japan, idols and celebrity figures really do influence the fashion choices of Japanese young people.

    You could say that about the whole of the modern world to an extent, but here in Japan fans will go to great lengths to follow the fashion and style choices of their favorite singer or actor. Many female Japanese celebrities sport bangs, including the very well-known singer Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and various members of the J-pop group AKB48.

    Related to this is the fact that many anime and manga characters have bangs, too! Women and girls in anime and manga in Japan are often depicted and cute and adorable, even if they are strong and brave characters. One way to indicate this cuteness is by giving them bangs, which some could argue has further fueled the popularity of the style.

    Attractive, Adorable, and Innocent Looking

    In Japan and within Japanese culture, bangs are seen as good-looking and an attractive hairstyle to have. This is clear from the fact that they are seen on models in advertisements, and encouraged by hair salons to ideally complement Japanese face shape.

    Indeed, bangs are regarded as a good choice for women in Japan who wish to make their faces look smaller, narrower, thinner, and more shapely. Smaller faces are popular in Japan and are seen as a standard of beauty here.

    This is not just a recent thing, as bangs were also popular in history in Japan. One traditional hairstyle called Okappa (おかっぱ) features a sharply-cut set of bangs. This hairstyle is still used among younger schoolgirls and children of kindergarten age.

    Perhaps related to this is the notion in Japan that innocence, naivety, and youth are all attractive qualities, and having bangs is thought to represent this image of innocence and cuteness in Japanese women. You will notice that this notion of innocence is not only seen in hairstyles but also in the adorable and cute dresses, ribbons, bows, knee-high socks, and pink frilly items popular among the population!

    For a Japanese woman wanting to fit in, appear cute and innocent, and replicate the look of their favorite idols, having bangs is a must. Perhaps over time this will change or develop, or perhaps the desire to look cute will fade away in place of a desire to look strong and feisty! What do you think?