Sohatsu (hairstyle) (総髪)

Sohatsu is a hairstyle adopted by male Shinto priests and Confucian scholars from the early part of the Edo period. The hairstyle for females is called Sogami, which is written with the same kanji characters as Sohatsu.

It is a hairstyle in which the forehead is not shaved and the bangs are slicked backward, and the hair is tied together in the back or a topknot is made. The hairstyle in which the hair is tied in a high position is called 'Kuwai atama' for the reason that it looks like kuwai (arrowhead), and most doctors adopt this hairstyle in jidaigeki (historical plays), but this is fictional. Normally doctors, who went to the war fronts as noncombatants ("kinsoi" or surgeons), shaved their head in order to avoid being shot by mistake; hence, men without a hair were recognized either as a doctor or as a monk in the Edo period. As Nyobon (sexual indulgence) is a sin for Buddhist monks, some infidel monks went to play at Yoshihara yukaku (red-light district) pretending to be a doctor or a master of haiku (a Japanese poem in seventeen syllables having a 5-7-5 syllabic form and traditionally containing a reference to the seasons). Apprentice doctors retained some hair.

Shinto priests and Confucians, in order to show that they had no intention to fight for ideological reasons, did not make Sakayaki (shaved forehead), which was a symbol of samurai (warriors), and retained their hair. Furthermore, not only Confucians but also other thinkers selected this hairstyle; thus, Sohatsu became fashionable among young people with the thought of Sonno Joi (anti-foreign imperialism) at the end of the Edo period.

There remain some pictures and photographs of historical characters in Sohatsu, including Shosetsu YUI, Ryoma SAKAMOTO and Isami KONDO.