Ichomage (mens hairstyle) (銀杏髷)

Ichomage is the most popular men's hairstyle through the Edo period. It is also called Ichoatama. One variation of Shimadamage (a Japanese hairstyle with a knot for a woman in olden times) has the same name as this.

('Chonmage' commonly known nowadays refers to this hairstyle; however, 'Chonmage' was originally a poor-looking hairstyle worn by thin-haired old men, and is a completely different thing.)

The front part of the head is shaved, and the rest of hair is tied into a topknot, which is folded on the top of the head with its ends splayed out to form a ginkgo leaf (in many cases, the ends of the topknot are not splayed out elaborately). The style of Ichomage varies according to social status and occupation.

Ichomage for the warrior class

Men's hairstyles of the warrior class were characteristically arranged in such a way that a topknot was made long, the front part of the head was shaved narrowly, sideburns were left natural, and the back part was tied tightly so as to look simple and austere. However, some of Yoriki (police sergeant), who had to disguise themselves as townspeople for the sake of their duties, shaved their hairline straightly just like townspeople. Many of them were said to be fashionable and worthy of being called 'Edo no san otoko' (men with three popular occupations in Edo: Yoriki [a police sergeants], Rikishi [a sumo wrestler], and Hikeshi [a fireman]).

Except some dandies, many samurai warriors including 'Asagiura' (a country samurai), who was a typical example of a rustic fellow, were fond of Oicho (a more elaborate form of Ichomage). Characteristically, the U-shaped part of the topknot called magejiri protruded straightly from the back of the head, and the topknot was longer than that of townspeople's Ichomage, and the end of the topknot slightly touched the top of the head almost without being crushed. Especially, some unsophisticated feudal lords in local provinces showed off the thick and long topknot, which stuck out from the top of the head, as if they put a semicylindrical-shaped Kamaboko (fish sausage) on their head. The back part was tightly smoothed down.

Yoriki called 'Fujo yakunin' (dirty officials), who lived among townspeople to be engaged in criminal investigation, arranged their hair more stylish similar to townspeople's Ichomage. The U-shaped part of the topknot was short, and the topknot itself was also short and thin. One example was neat and tidy looking 'Hosohake Shoicho' (small ginkgo leaf style), in which the ends of the topknot were splayed lightly, and the front part of the head was widely shaved; so it is equally close to both hairstyles of samurai and townspeople. Ronin (masterless samurai), who also lived among townspeople, saved their money by not shaving the front part of the head neatly and left the hair growing which looked like close-cropped hairstyle. The back part was slightly made fluffy.

Ichomage for townspeople

So-called 'Edokko' (a person born and bred in Edo) was particular about his hairstyle and frequently visited a barbershop to have his hair cut neatly, so that the barber shop became a good meeting place. Townspeople were definitely fond of 'Shoicho' hairstyle; however, a slight difference came out according to occupation.

Merchants preferred the small and plain topknot partly because they were engaged in the service industry. The ends of the topknot, which was barely seen from the front, almost slid down the head, and the U-shaped part of the topknot was very short and compact. Meanwhile, the young masters who were sons of those merchants were fond of graceful Hondamage hairstyle.

Additionally, spirited craftsmen were fond of the hairstyle in which the U-shaped part of the topknot was bent up at the tip, and the ends of the topknot that was fairly thick and short were roughly splayed out to look manly. In contrast, craftsmen who were fond of simple styles made the topknot thin, and twisted the ends of the topknot sideways a little. In most cases, the tabo (the back part of the Japanese hairstyle protruding backward) was bulged at the bottom, which was called Fukuroduke.

Icho-mage for young girls
Young girls had "Keshibozu" hairstyle (the hair shaved except at the top of the head like a poppy's fruit) until the age of six to eight; however, after that, they began to wear their hair long. Young girls also had hairstyles like Ichomage and Ichokuzushi (a variation of Ichomage) (called 'Takenofushi' in the Kansai Region) until their hair grew long enough to wear Yuiwata (hair style like cotton wrapped up), Momoware (literally, split peach; female hair style in kimono that the bun is split and a red fabric woven in the center), or Chigomage (hairstyle for kids) hairstyles (Sometimes they had also Otabakobon hairstyle [hairstyle resembling a handle of a tobacco tray]). While wearing those hairstyles, young girls had their eyebrows shaved.

Hairstyle of Tekomai (float leading dance)
Tekomai, which is now performed mostly by young women in festivals, originated from geisha in male clothing. The bangs are not bulged, but parted in the middle and thrown left and right. The topknot is very thick, and the ends of the topknot are splayed very widely. For the rest, this hairstyle has some femininity left.

[Original Japanese]