In 1985, about 30 bald men in their 30s who were running businesses in Matsusaka, Mie Prefecture, created a group called Hagetemo Katsura wo Kaburan Kai, which roughly translates to a group of men who won’t wear wigs even if they go bald.
The men, then-members of Junior Chamber International Matsusaka, launched the group to work together to “reduce members’ anxieties and improve the status of bald people.”
Anyone who “can call himself bald with confidence or is expected to become bald in the near future” had been allowed to join the group. There was a rule stating that any member who bought a wig would be expelled, but no member ever broke that rule, according to the group.
The group had been actively involved in traffic safety campaigns for the sake of keganashi — a phrase that can mean having no injuries or having no hair.
During the nationwide traffic safety campaigning period each spring and autumn, the members went out Saturday and Sunday morning carrying stepladders in their minitrucks to polish traffic mirrors installed at road curves in Matsusaka and neighboring areas.
They cleaned the mirrors under the slogan “Be Yourself,” looking at the reflection of their bald heads while carrying out the polishing work.
They also organized charity bazaars and donated the proceeds to road safety activities.
Membership topped 200 at one time, but gradually declined due to the aging of its members. Recently only 30 to 40 people out of 160 members were actually involved in mirror-cleaning activities, as many became concerned about the dangers of working from high places, such as possibly falling off a stepladder, as they aged.
The group dissolved at its general meeting held on Nov. 14 and donated its remaining funds of some ¥180,000 to the city in December.
“The group dissolved, but I hope someone will launch a new group bearing the same name,” said Takao Uno, 71, president of construction firm Uno Heavy Industry Co. who had served as the group’s head since its inception.
“I hope (young business leaders) will be engaged in some kind of social contribution activities and will enjoy them,” said Toru Kadoya, 70, president of electric equipment company Sankyou Denko Co. who had served as the group’s vice head.
They said even if the group has dissolved, its former members would abide by the rule of never wearing a wig and live their lives without resorting to buying a hairpiece.
This section features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published Dec. 20.