Birth of Japanese Beauty Scissors
<Birth of Japanese Beauty Scissors>
Since Japanese scissors are considered the best in quality, I thought it would be interesting to learn about the birth of Japanese beauty scissors.
The first Japanese beauty scissors were made during the Meiji Restoration in the 1870s. To fully understand the birth of Japanese beauty scissors, we need to check out the historical background of Japan.
The Meiji Restoration and Modernization
In 1868 the Tokugawa shôgun ("great general"), who ruled Japan in the feudal period, lost his power, and the emperor was restored to the leading position. The emperor took the name Meiji ("enlightened rule") as his reign name; this event was known as the Meiji Restoration.
The Reign of the Meiji Emperor
When the Meiji emperor was restored as head of Japan in 1868, the nation was militarily weak, primarily agricultural, and had little technological development. Hundreds of semi-independent feudal lords controlled it. The Western powers — Europe and the United States — had forced Japan to sign treaties that limited its control over its foreign trade and required that crimes concerning foreigners in Japan be tried not in Japanese but in Western courts. When the Meiji period ended, with the death of the emperor in 1912, Japan had
- a highly centralized, bureaucratic government;
- a constitution establishing an elected parliament;
- a well-developed transport and communication system;
- a highly educated population free of feudal class restrictions;
- an established and rapidly growing industrial sector based on the latest technology;
- a powerful army and navy.
The young Meiji emperor was in traditional costume and western military dress.
On January 10, 1873 (Meiji 6), the samurai's right to be the only armed force was abolished and replaced by a modern, western-style, conscripted army. The new system was called chouheirei (徴兵令, Conscription Ordinance) and was the beginning of the end of the samurai system in Japan.
Previously, on August 9, 1871 (Meiji 4), the government had already issued the Danpatsurei (断髪令, Cropped Hair Edict), encouraging samurai to cut their distinctive Chonmage topknot. It created a minor photography boom when samurai rushed to photo studios to take their photo before their Chonmage was cut off. As a result of the edict, Western hairstyles, called Zangiri (散切り), became increasingly popular. This became a powerful symbol of the dramatic change overtaking Japanese society.
|CHONMAGE – Traditional Topknot
ZANGIRI – Western Hair Style
On March 28, 1876 (Meiji 9), samurai lost their right to wear swords. After that date, only military and police officers could wear swords. This is known as the haitorei (廃刀令, Sword Abolishment Edict). As a result of the haitorei, many Japanese swordsmiths lost their job or turned to the production of farming implements and kitchen cutlery, and hair scissors.