Covid-Inspired ‘Silent Cut’ Haircutting Service Gains Popularity in Japan

Devised by a Tokyo hair salon during the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the ‘Silent Cut’ service is becoming increasingly popular in Japan.

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As a way of curbing the spread of the coronavirus during the Covid-19 pandemic, authorities in Japan started promoting “no conversation” or “less conversation” policies in schools, shops and supermarkets. Less talking meant fewer risks of spreading the virus via saliva droplets, so everyone understood and complied, but the two policies seemed incompatible with businesses like hair salons and barber shops, where conversation is basically part of the service. However, one Tokyo salon decided to implement the ‘silent cut’ service and it proved so popular that others quickly followed suit and kept it even after pandemic-related restrictions were lifted.

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Photo: Hair Spies/Unsplash

“It’s great…! I’ve been waiting for this service for 20 years. Because chatting is so depressing, I only get a haircut every 3 years,” one person wrote about the silent cut service.

“I’m saved because the conversation with the hairdresser is troublesome,” someone else commented.

The no-dialogue haircut (给カット) or silent cut not only survived the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions across Japan, but it actually increased in popularity. A recent survey revealed that over 70 percent of respondents preferred the silent experience, with the most common explanations being that they found it more relaxing, as they were able to rest instead of spending what little energy they had left on hearing unwanted information and making small talk.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nO8doL6bBU

As it turns out, hairstylists prefer the silent cut as well, with many claiming that they were taught to chat up clients in their apprenticeship.

“I started chatting because I was taught in my early days to ‘talk to customers and get information about their preferences’, but focusing on topics that I didn’t like made me feel very uncomfortable, so I decided to put their privacy first, ” one hairstylist said.

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