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  1. #1
    Senior Member Steelforge's Avatar
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    Default Japanese Shaving Questions

    I've been wondering about a few things regarding shaving in Japan, since my interest was piqued again by Jim's video the other day.

    How long have the Japanese been making and using straight razors? Do they have a longer history of making razors than Western countries?

    Do the Japanese use a badger hair brush and soaps/creams the same as we do in the West, or do they have a different approach? I wondered since their razors are different, might they have had other different (and possibly better) methods?

  2. #2
    Forum mogwai thebigspendur's Avatar
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    Default

    I can't answer your questions but keep in mind that there are many many times the number of Western razors being made than Japanese. The number of people who use japanese razors in japan is almost zero when compared to people using western razors. I dare say the number using Japanese razors in japan is less than those who use them outside Japan. Just think how many people are actually making them in japan. Not many.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Steelforge's Avatar
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    Default

    That's a good point. If you consider the art of sword making, I imagine there aren't many people making top quality swords in Japan now either, but I'm guessing there was a time in history when a lot more swordmakers were in business making swords, I have no idea when though.

    What I'm getting at is, like now in Europe there are only a handful of straight razor makers, but say 100 years ago there were a lot more. Did Japan have a similar 'boon period' for razors (or swords for that matter)? Was there a period in time when there were a lot more people making razors there?

    History has always fascinated me, I know a little about European history, but virtually nothing about far Eastern history.

  4. #4
    Senior Member blabbermouth JimR's Avatar
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    Well, considering how many different ones I see on Japanese auction sites and the like, I think there probably was a big number of makers...nothing like the thousands in Sheffield, Germany, France, the USA, etc. (it still is only one country) but a lot more than the handful making them now.

    As for brushes, crams etc., some barbers do use a brush and a "soap" (a nasty, liquid stuff...worthless) but it's usually a cheap Chinese made Tanuki hair brush.

    Traditionally, I get the feeling that whatever was used for shaving was a liquid, because almost all Japanese "shave soaps" I've seen are liquid (there is one that's a powder) and aren't lathered so much as "foamed". So it's kind of a continued tradition. I am looking into this more, because I'm super curious myself...I've got a book on the way about just this subject, so I'll see if I can't get more info.

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