Chonmage (a topknot) (丁髷)

Chonmage is a topknot tied by old men in the Edo period.

From the shape of the small topknot tied by old men having a thin head of hair, it was called "chonmage." Today, ichomage (a hair-style like a fan, like the leaf of the sacred gingko tree), hondamage, which is often seen in period dramas, and oicho tied by sumo wrestlers are called chonmage, but those chonmage are not quintessential. Among chonmage today, sumo wrestlers' hair style at training time is the most similar to the quintessential chonmage although they do not have part of their forehead shaved.

Sanpatsudattokatterei (so-called dampatsurei [order of bobbed hair]) was issued as Dajokan fukoku (proclamation by the Grand Council of State) on August 9, 1871.

In 1873, the Emperor Meiji turned to bobbed hair, and men who tied traditional topknots for men decreased in numbers drastically and the western hair style and the shortcut hair style became widespread instead. Nevertheless, conservative people who still tied topknots for men were called 'chonmage atama' (in a playful way), and this naming has been used as the general term for topknots for men.

It took a lot of trouble for many people to keep the chonmage hairstyle by shaving the top of the head with a razor everyday like fictional characters' one seen in paintings, ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints), kabuki (traditional drama performed by male actors) and period dramas, etc.

Making clear the background of the needs for chonmage can lead to a better understanding of the pre-dampaturei society.

On the other hand, 'chonmage' seen in cartoons and character goods is simplified, which simplified chonmage may be based on chasenmage (a hair-style like a tea whisk) because mage (topknot) is rolled up vertically from the back of the head with the tips of hair spread roundly.

[Original Japanese]