Where In Tokyo Can White And Black Folks Go To Get Their Hair Done?
By Mark Ellis
I remember when I first came to Tokyo about 20 years ago. After a month of being here I was in desperate need of a haircut. There was no way I was going to cut my hair myself. Somehow I managed to gather up the courage to visit the local hair salon. As soon as I walked in the door the stylist looked at me as if I had fallen in from outer space. I could tell she was even more freaked out than I was about the idea but there was no turning back. My head was a mess. I had to trust that anything she did would be far less hideous looking than anything I could have done myself. After a lot of sign language and broken English she finally began. When she was finished, I have to say, I did not get the results I was hoping to get. To save you the trouble of going the same nightmare I went through and to help you maintain that glamorous look you deserve I will introduce you to some of the finest English speaking hair salons in the city.
Our first stop is Y.S./Park.
A glamour conscious hair stylist named Young Soo Park established this salon in Daikanyama in 1980. There are now five locations throughout Tokyo (Aoyama, Roppongi, Hiroo, and Omotesando). Mr. Park has been quoted as saying, “Hair Stylists and customers both want it all!Functionality, elegance, ergonomics,design, beauty, the exceptional...I give it to them...”All of the salons have highly trained and experienced English speaking staff available to give you just the style you need to make you look your best for that special date or important meeting. The salon also has a long history of dealing with foreign clientele so you can rest assured that your special needs will be met. Unfortunately, their website is mostly in Japanese but if you have any questions you reach them at one of the following contacts:
10-8 sarugaku-choshibuya-ku, Tokyo
5-8-10 minamiaoyamaminato-ku, Tokyo
5-10-31 roppongiminato-ku, Tokyo
5-15-25 minamiazabuminato-ku, Tokyo
4-29-3 jingumaeshibuya-ku, Tokyo
Our next stop will take us to the best salon for people of African descent. Room 806.
When it comes to hair care, it is notoriously difficult being black in Tokyo. Salons need to use products and special styling techniques that are specific to black hair. The horror stories I have heard from people who have been here for a long time or who don’t know where to go are enough to make a person study hairstyling before they get on a plane just so they don’t come over here and get their head messed up by a well meaning stylist who doesn’t have a clue. In the old days, most people tried to make a friend who lived on one of the military bases. That way they could ask the friend to take them to a hair salon on base. Now there is another option. It’s called Room 806.
Room 806 was started by an entrepreneur from New York City named Milton A Mayo Jr. The first salon was started in his apartment. The room number was 806. Now they are a full service shop, which caters to visiting foreign artists and expats alike. Room 806 is located in Roppongi. They also have a branch called Sakura in Yokosuka. For more information you can reach them by phone at 03-5545-4325.