Hondamage (mens hairstyle) (本多髷)

Hondamage is a male hairstyle that was popular among Suijin (men of refined tastes) during the Edo period.

There was a wide variety of Hondamage, such as Wakasamahonda, Kingyohonda, Yamaihonda, Naniwahonda, Mamehonda, and so on.

How to make Hondamage

The front part of the head is extremely broadly shaved from the very edge of the ears to the temporal regions, and sideburns are combed up like a bamboo blind. The topknot made thin like a rat's tail is tied up with a paper cord, hanging down sharply to the top of the head. The characteristics of this hairstyle are the broad shaved part and a space enclosed by the line connecting the head, the ends of the topknot, and the root of the topknot.

This hairstyle looked so elegant and soft that, at first, it gained enormous popularity among customers who frequented Yoshiwara (a red-light district in Tokyo). There were the following stereotypes: a man without wearing Hondamage would be received coolly in the Yoshiwara red light district; a young master of a large merchant house should wear Hondamage.

Kamikirimaru (prostitute's haircut scissors)

Suijin in Edo was commonly dressed in a complete outfit of fine-patterned silk kimono in chic dark brown or dark gray with Hondamage hairstyle. A gentleman, who would carry a solid silver tobacco pipe casually in a bag made of famed fabrics imported from Spain and Portugal, or China, and exchange jokes by drinking sake quietly, was especially poplar in Yoshiwara.

Frankly speaking, the relationship between a customer and a prostitute is like a pseudo married couple in which a woman holds supremacy. This was probably for the purpose of preventing the fight for a customer among prostitutes. When a customer had a relationship not with his regular partner but with another prostitute, his regular partner had a right to punish him.

The punishment was such that his topknot was cut down; in a more severe case, he was dressed in female costume with make-up and exposed to public view. That is why the prostitute's scissors were called "Kamikirimaru."

When a man with his hair hanging loose and disheveled walked on the street, people might see what had happened to him, so each licensed quarter had a hairdresser particularly for playboys to rearrange their hair in a small topknot called Mamehonda.

[Original Japanese]