Can a student in some Japan Kobudo school dye his(her) hair

Sid Vishez

White Belt
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hello!

I am conducting a small survey and I hope somebody native from Japan can answer it. I am interested in the interaction of traditional and modern Japanese culture in martial arts schools. I will try to ask some specific questions:
1. Are there formal requirements that students not be allowed to dye their hair in Kobudo schools?
2. Can a student in a Kobudo school at the age of 9-11 dye his hair green or blue, for example?
3. Should a student ask a teacher at his or her school for permission to dye his or her hair?
4. Can a student with dyed hair participate in competitions and performances?
5. How much does a teacher's attitude toward the issue of student hair coloring depend on the teacher's personality?
6. How dependent are attitudes toward hair coloring on the student's accomplishments in the discipline?

I am very much interested in any subjective opinion on the matter. Thank you in advance for your answers.
 

Hyoho

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
719
Reaction score
324
Hello!

I am conducting a small survey and I hope somebody native from Japan can answer it. I am interested in the interaction of traditional and modern Japanese culture in martial arts schools. I will try to ask some specific questions:
1. Are there formal requirements that students not be allowed to dye their hair in Kobudo schools?
2. Can a student in a Kobudo school at the age of 9-11 dye his hair green or blue, for example?
3. Should a student ask a teacher at his or her school for permission to dye his or her hair?
4. Can a student with dyed hair participate in competitions and performances?
5. How much does a teacher's attitude toward the issue of student hair coloring depend on the teacher's personality?
6. How dependent are attitudes toward hair coloring on the student's accomplishments in the discipline?

I am very much interested in any subjective opinion on the matter. Thank you in advance for your answers.
Not a native but 42 years of Japanese life and residency. And head a Kobudo Ryu. Also a guidance counselor there for many years.

It's not encouraged. After all Koryu has cultural values in what we do and the way we conduct ourselves in society. It would simply lax to let these values denigrate. Why would you be letting your nine year old dye his hair anyway?

What is ironic is that some youth have premature greying of the hair. Checking them monthly they are sent home if the grey shows to go get it dyed black.

I suppose you could always be a ninja as purple seems to be the "in colour". :bucktooth:
 

Chris Parker

Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
6,235
Reaction score
1,073
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hello!

I am conducting a small survey and I hope somebody native from Japan can answer it. I am interested in the interaction of traditional and modern Japanese culture in martial arts schools. I will try to ask some specific questions:
1. Are there formal requirements that students not be allowed to dye their hair in Kobudo schools?
2. Can a student in a Kobudo school at the age of 9-11 dye his hair green or blue, for example?
3. Should a student ask a teacher at his or her school for permission to dye his or her hair?
4. Can a student with dyed hair participate in competitions and performances?
5. How much does a teacher's attitude toward the issue of student hair coloring depend on the teacher's personality?
6. How dependent are attitudes toward hair coloring on the student's accomplishments in the discipline?

I am very much interested in any subjective opinion on the matter. Thank you in advance for your answers.

This is a rather imprecise set of questions... I mean... kids the age of 9-11 seems quite narrow in terms of the questions, and seems less like a survey, and more like you have a particular person in mind? The rest is all based on who you're dealing with... but, to keep it simple, koryu (classical arts) tend towards being rather conservative in nature, so anything that is overly outwardly ostentatious will be commonly frowned upon, or discouraged. That said, it is really down to the instructor and school in question... a number are more allowing, especially of Western students, who are less expected to conform to Japanese norms and behaviours... but, if in doubt, ask the teacher (or seniors at the dojo) for clarification. So, to take it all in order...

1: There might be, ask the teacher.
2: Maybe, ask the teacher.
3: Yes, ask the teacher.
4: Koryu don't tend to have competitions (that's not a "kobudo" thing), and embu (demonstrations) are commonly formal events, tied to various religious and spiritual rites and so on... but ask the teacher.
5: Many things can influence a teachers attitude towards a student, most notably the students' efforts to learn, develop, and conform to the teachings... dyed hair, if it's seen as something undesirable, may limit the interest the teacher has, as it can be seen that the student is about being looked at, admired, seen, noticed etc, and that might go against the teachings of the school (koryu tend to be about the preservation of the school rather than accommodating students personal desires), but, if unsure, ask the teacher. Or, better, the senior students, who would have noticed any changes in behaviour in the teacher regarding different students.
6: That's just number 5 again.

Look, the main thrust here is that classical schools reflect a conservative, non-showing-off attitude... vibrant, multi-coloured, or unnatural shades, overt tattoos, multiple piercings, these are all things that may have a teacher be less interested in teaching... but, then again, a teacher might not care provided the student is attentive, hard-working, and focused. Until there are more definite details, it's not something that can be answered.

I would ask, though, considering the references to children, competition, what exactly are you meaning when you say "kobudo"? When discussed in Japanese arts, it tends to mean koryu, which is how Hyoho and myself are interpreting it... classical samurai arts predating the Meiji restoration... in Okinawan arts, the term is more commonly used to refer to weaponry arts, such as nunchaku, tonfa, kama, etc. What exactly are you asking about?
 
OP
S

Sid Vishez

White Belt
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Hello Chris,

You are very right, the reason for my small survey is my son's situation at one of the Kobudo sports schools outside of Japan. That is why I tried to formulate as specific questions as possible.

You gave a very comprehensive and detailed answer, which satisfied my interest.

When I say Kobudo, I am talking specifically about Okinawan arts with weapons. The term is used in my country in that sense.

I am really interested in how modern attitudes toward personal freedoms and self-expression clash with traditional views. And it seems that this problem is as old as the world - there are people of conservative views and there are some exuberant revolutionaries :)

Thank you and Hyoho very much for this interesting discussion.
 

Hyoho

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Oct 6, 2013
Messages
719
Reaction score
324
Hello Chris,

You are very right, the reason for my small survey is my son's situation at one of the Kobudo sports schools outside of Japan. That is why I tried to formulate as specific questions as possible.

You gave a very comprehensive and detailed answer, which satisfied my interest.

When I say Kobudo, I am talking specifically about Okinawan arts with weapons. The term is used in my country in that sense.

I am really interested in how modern attitudes toward personal freedoms and self-expression clash with traditional views. And it seems that this problem is as old as the world - there are people of conservative views and there are some exuberant revolutionaries :)

Thank you and Hyoho very much for this interesting discussion.
It certainly is not a traditional Japanese thing and never will be I hope. Just how far you want to take it in the West is I suppose up to your teachers there.

Japan is a tow the line fit in with everybody else country. In education right from kindergarten, if the nails sticks out knock it back in again. University offers freedom of expression but when you start work its back to the standards. Some years ago it was unthinkable that you even did business with someone who was not your age but the faceless internet has changed all that.

I have had Kendo friends told that if they wanted to try for hachidan they would have to stop smoking. Not just how good you are at Kendo but your general character. To set an example to others. So equally it applies to your appearance and the way you dress

MA does generally express a set of values to the extent that if you do it you are more likely to secure a good job.

Is it a bad thing that Japan frowns on these things? Looking at Japan as the success story I am happy the way things are. The only sad thing is that fact that being so insular has benefitted them little on the international stage.
 

Holmejr

Purple Belt
Joined
Dec 23, 2017
Messages
316
Reaction score
189
Just remember its more important to be his father than his friend. Hell have plenty of friends in his lifetime.
 

Gyakuto

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
1,206
Reaction score
939
Location
UK
Deru kui wa utareru
 

Latest Discussions

Top