Reading the newspaper, my eye is often drawn to the strange and unique. My favorite articles tend to be more on the social side, and articles about men’s health, Japanese society and facial hair always draw my eye. As someone who sports a [rather small] goatee, I like reading about cultural feelings towards facial hair. In Canada, where the winters are long and cold, facial hair is not just for fashion, but for warmth too. In Japan, beards have been viewed less favorably in recent years.
The Japan times ran a story about a new bylaw passed in Ishigaki City, Gunma Prefecture which banned civil servants to wear beards at work. The reason given was that the public viewed bearded men as being “unpleasant”. After doing further research I found that globally this feeling has been growing, however a recent article from Australia has countered this feeling. The article states, in fact, that beards make men MORE HANDSOME! On top of that, they have health benefits, primarily protection from UV rays and thus keeping we bearded men looking younger, longer!
In conclusion: Beards = Healthy, Handsome and Youthful! Time to chuck out my razor and grow myself a beard. Check out the aforementioned articles here:
Doing a quick count, I found that almost half of the Japanese Prime Ministers from the Meiji Era until now sported facial hair of some sort, from waxed mustaches to pointed goatees to full flowing beards. However, in the past 50 years, NO Prime Ministers have had beards. I find it very interesting how society has changed. I’m going to go look up the Canadian Prime Ministers to see if this trend is true in Canada too…