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Meiji Period Hairstyles

Meiji Period Hairstyles

Meiji Period Hairstyles by Ginko Adachi (1885)

With the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Japan opened its borders to the world and numerous outer influences started pouring into the country. Foreign styles and designs began to impact Japanese fashion; one of the first widespread crazes consisted of different ways of arranging women’s hair. Many Western models became extremely common, and artists even began to create encyclopaedias of different Western hairstyles that could serve as explanation and inspirations for women.

This print by Ginko serves as a catalog of fashionable hairdos for ladies of the time. As communication on fashion was always at the heart of Ukiyo-e, and there was a great curiosity in novelties from the West, prints like this example would enjoy great interest from the Japanese public of the Meiji period.

What brings a unique edge to this artwork is how the artist, instead of using simple cartouches, has imaginatively captured the hairstyle models within what looks like photographs. Undoubtedly inspired by this new and revolutionary medium, the artist thus enhanced the taste of the new age thanks to his creativity.

Western Updo by Kunichika Toyohara (1885)
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