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Japanese Women's Hairstyles Through the Ages

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Shimada Mage | Tied-back hair with a comb on top, c. 1650-1780
Heavenly being with beautiful hair, late 1700s

Print by Toyono Bulshikawa, 1764-1772

Library of Congress, no restrictions

During the Tokugawa Shogunate or Edo Period (1603-1868), Japanese women began to wear their hair in much more elaborate fashions. They pulled their waxed tresses back into a variety of different kinds of buns, decorated with combs, hair-sticks, ribbons, and even flowers.

This particular version of the style, called the shimada mage, is relatively simple compared with those that came later. The long hair is looped in the back, the front is slicked back with wax, and a comb is inserted on top at the back.

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