As with other countries, fashions are constantly in motion in Japan, heading off in new directions then doubling back every few years. The latest trend in Tokyo this autumn is a 黒髪ブーム kurokami boom or a boom in jet black hair, inspired by the popularity of idols like Oshima Yuko of AKB48 and elegant model Mitsu Dan. Most Japanese go to junior high and high schools that have strict guidelines for student appearance, and a student or teacher is designated as the Public Morals Officer who makes sure skirts aren’t raised too high and hair isn’t dyed a lighter color. (My daughter would sometimes be questioned about her hair, but of course she’s haafu and light brown her natural color.). When they graduate from school, it’s common for Japanese to enjoy their newfound freedom and lighten their hair color (those rebels!), but now this trend is reversing, and black is, well, the new black. One a trend starts to take hold in Japan it’s not uncommon for it to skyrocket until it seems everyone has become part of the wave. This is due to a phenomenon known as 右へ倣え migi e narae, which is a command to “line up, standing just as the person to your right is standing,” which also describes the tendency of Japanese to copy people around them when a new trend starts to take hold.
The latest trend in Tokyo this season is black hair.