Hikimayu (painted eyebrows) (引眉)

Hikimayu is a makeup technique applied from the Nara period to the Edo period, meaning to shave or pull out eyebrows.

Nara period

After shaving or pulling out eyebrows, thin arc-shaped eyebrows were drawn with ink.

Heian to Azuchi-Momoyama period

After shaving or pulling out eyebrows, oval-shaped 'tenjo-mayu' eyebrows were drawn with ink at positions higher than the removed eyebrows.

Originally, hikimayu was applied together with ohaguro (black painted teeth) at Mogi (coming-of-age ceremony for girls). From around the mid Heian period, it was adopted into the genpuku (coming-of-age) ceremonies for male nobles and generals of the Taira family.

From the Muromachi period on, the position of the tenjo-mayu became still higher, and the eyebrow style came to be incorporated into Noh masks.

Edo period

From the Edo period on, hikimayu came to be limited to women who meet the conditions below, and was applied together with ohaguro at genpuku ceremonies.

Married women in general (apply both ohaguro and hikimayu, except for women married to samurai families who were to apply hikimayu after giving birth to a child).

Unmarried women from age 18 to age 20 (even when applying ohaguro, hikimayu was optional).

Until the mid Edo period, the original shapes of the eyebrows were drawn with dilute ink after they were shaved or pulled out.

From the late Edo period and on, eyebrows were left undrawn after they were shaved or pulled out.

In theatrical performances and ukiyoe (Japanese woodblock prints), eyebrows were drawn in pale blue after they were shaved or pulled out, which is a technique called seitai.

Wearing ohaguro without shaving eyebrows is referred to as genpuku.

Other examples of shaving eyebrows are often seen in pictures and ukiyoe prints depicting girls from around age 2 to 12 produced from the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period.

After the civilization and enlightenment, both hikimayu and ohaguro declined and almost died out by the mid Meiji period. At present, it is applied only in some theatrical performances and traditional festivals.

[Original Japanese]