<The First Japanese Hair Scissors>

The first person to make hairdressing scissors in Japan was ‘Tomono Yoshikuni.’
He was initially a blacksmith who made Katanas (Japanese swords). However, the announcement of the ‘Haitōrei Edict'  (a law prohibiting the carriage of Katanas by any person besides the police or military) on August 9, 1871, ended the role of most Katana-making blacksmiths. After that, 'Tomono' was in charge of making guns and cannons in the army’s artillery.

The first person to show the hairdressing scissors to ‘Tomono’ is ‘Kidaira,’ who sold beauty tools. He used to be a ‘Kamiyui’ in Yokohama. A ‘Kamiyui’ is a traditional barber who gives traditional Japanese haircuts. Many 'Kamiyui' switched jobs and worked as barbers during the period. 'Kidaira' started beauty supplies, a business selling beauty tools to people who had recently become barbers. He thought hair scissors and western combs were also needed in the future.

Male Kamiyui Female Kamiyui
 

In fact, in March of 1873, King 'Meiji' took a haircut which fueled the start of barbershops across the country, and tools such as hairdressing scissors were lacking. The trading company at that time imported hairdressing scissors. However, the quantity was small, and the imported scissors' price was high enough to reach the average monthly income of an average person. Therefore, even after becoming barbers, the former ‘Kamiyui’ continued to use the big and crude traditional Japanese scissors called ‘Tokoyabasami.’  

Thus, "Kidaira" was thought to make barber scissors in Japan. With that in mind, he sought out ‘Tomono Yoshikuni.’ The scissors that 'Kidaira' had at this time are known to be of French origin.

On the other hand, 'Tomono Yoshikuni' also witnessed barbers having difficulty using the ‘Tokoyabasami’ to give haircuts and decided to make western hairdressing scissors.

 

 

‘Tomono,’ who used to make Katanas, already possessed the technique to make swords out of steel, which he used to make the hairdressing scissors with improvements on the handle. On August 21, 1877, he exhibited his hairdressing scissors under the brand "Yoshikuni" at the 1st Japanese National Industrial Exhibition in Tokyo. 'Tomono Yoshikuni' is recorded in history as the first person to make beauty scissors in Japan, and later many of his disciples made hairdressing scissors independently.

9.0 inch / 6.3 oz 9.8 inch / 4.2 oz

 

 

 

Illustrations of the Japanese National Industrial Exhibition
1877 ~ 1903
June 14, 2021 — Michiko Scissors
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