Why Do So Many Asians Have Bowl Hair Cuts?


My wife and I have been discussing whether we should give our 1-year-old son a bowl haircut. Okay, discuss is not really what happened. I asked her if we should give him a bowl haircut, and she said, “No.” I tried to explain to her that a bowl haircut is a rite of passage for Asian Americans. I had one (see the above picture). All of my Asian American friends had one. So shouldn’t my son have the same experience?

To help change my wife’s mind, I started doing some “research” on bowl haircuts and Asians. And what I found was hair–raising (hahaha). First, here are some  of my favorite Asian bowl haircut images (via Google image search):
bowl haircuts

And if you’re still jonesing for more pics of people with bowl haircuts, here is an Instagram link.

The big question I wanted to find out was why do so many Asians have a bowl haircut. So the first place I went to was, of course, Yahoo! Answers:

Why do Asians have that bowl haircut? I see a lot of asians at my job and they all have the haircut that looks like they took a bowl and cut around it. is it like a rule that asians have that haircut? why?

The answer was not helpful:

Why do whites, specifically white males, molest and kill kids? Is it like a rule that whites fiddle kids? Why?

But it was funny. I like the use of the word “fiddle.” Anyway, I decided to keep looking. The place that seemed to have the “best” answer was on Stuff Asian People Like.  According to them, the reason Asians have bowl haircuts are:

First, it shows non-Asian people that they are still connected to their roots, AKA the third world countries where people can’t afford food, housing, or Playstation 3s. The bowl cut is a reminder of the hard times and is intended to keep the prosperous Asian community in the United States grounded and true to their real identity.

Secondly, it’s a proverbial middle finger to all of the other races. The bowl haircut accentuates the intelligence, confidence, and athleticism that all Asian people possess.

I don’t know if any of that’s true. I mean, my mom was an immigrant so maybe that explains me but it doesn’t really explain my friends who were fourth generation Japanese Americans.

Here is another explanation that I thought was humorous:

i like to think it’s because we admire order and harmony in our haircuts. the perfect straightness of the hair as it falls from the head in a bowl whose rim is a perfect circle is appealing i guess.

In the end, we might never know why bowl haircuts and Asians sometimes seem synonymous. It might go down as one of those great mysteries like what happened to Roanoke Colony, who shot JFK, and where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? All joking aside, one important thing to keep in mind is that Asians aren’t the only people that have bowl haircuts. Lots of people from all different background have bowl haircuts. Go back to the Instagram link above. Many (if not most) of the people are not Asian.

Anyway, if you’re curious how to give your child a bowl haircut,  you can follow these easy five steps offered by Stuff Asian People like:

Step 1: Get a bowl that fits the unique shape of your inferior heads. This step is the most difficult.

Step 2: When you finally find the right bowl, place it on top of your head.

Step 3: Take scissors and proceed to cut the hair around the edge of the bowl.

Step 4: When you inevitably mess up, go to an Asian salon to get it done right.

Step 5: Congratulations! You are less inferior than you were before!

Follow me on Twitter @ksakai1

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About Koji Steven Sakai

Writer/Producer Koji Steven Sakai is the founder of Little Nalu Pictures LLC and the CEO of CHOPSO (www.CHOPSO.com), the first Asian English streaming video service. He has written five feature films that have been produced, including the indie hit, The People I’ve Slept With. He also produced three feature films, a one hour comedy special currently on Netflix, and Comedy InvAsian, a live and filmed series featuring the nation’s top Asian American comedians. Koji’s debut novel, Romeo & Juliet Vs. Zombies, was released in paperback in 2015 and in audiobook in 2016 and his graphic novel, 442, was released in 2017. In addition, he is currently an adjunct professor in screenwriting at International Technological University in San Jose.
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