Zangiri Memorial

Zangiri Memorial, Yokohama, Japan, public art

Public Art : Zangiri Memorial

Sculptor: © Kentaro Kimura

Description: This stone sculpture was erected in honour of the first barber shop in Japan to offer western style haircuts. It features a crudely carved face with westren style haircut.

Date Unveiled: November, 1989.

Donated By : National Federation of the Brotherhood environmental health Barber Shop, Kanagawa Prefecture, Kentaro Kimura.

Location: Yamashita Park, Yokohama, Japan.

Japan's First Western Barber Shop: In 1869 Ogura Torakichi opened the first barber shop in Japan in the heart of Chinatown in Yokohama. He had learned his skill by offering haircuts to sailors on foreign ships who had harboured in Yokohama. He soon mastered the art of crew cuts and western style cuts. Torakichi's first shop was actually located at a Chinese man's house in the Foreign Settlement.  

The first thing Japan had been exposed to in Western culture was surprisingly the haircut. Prior to the introducion of the western style haircut many Japanese men wore a "topknot" or "chignon (bun)".

A Little Bit Of Yokohama History :

Prior to 1858 Japan was closed off to the rest of the world, having a strict isolation policy that limited its trade with foreign countries to virtually zero. Under its Sakoku policy (which means "locking the country") from 1633 until 1853 no foreigner could enter Japan, nor could any Japanese leave the country without the penalty of death. However, there were a few exceptions to the rules with mainly the Dutch and Chinese traders.

After several failed attempts by the US government to broker an open trade agreement with Japan, Commodore Matthew Perry decided to give it a try. On July the 8th, 1853, Perry anchored in Uraga Harbour on a black hulled steam frigate (and several other ships in tow) near Edo, which is now modern Tokyo. The Tokugawa Shogunate (shoguns who ruled during this time) basically told him to go away and try his luck in Nagasaki, the only Japanese port open to foreigners.

Instead of taking their advice, Perry ordered his ships to head towards the capital Edo and position their guns directly at the city of Uraga. Despite numerous requests for them to leave, Perry stood his ground and demanded he be allowed present a letter from US President Millard Fillmore, which basically requested the rights for the US to trade with Japan. Once they agreed to receive the letter, Perry left, promising to return shortly for an answer. Which he did, this time with double the ships and fire power.

Much to everyone's surprise the Shogunate had agreed to all of President Fillmore's demands. On March 31st, 1854 the Convention of Kanagawa (Treaty of Peace and Amity) was signed. The treaty opened the Japanese ports of Shimoda and Hakodate to United States trade and guaranteed the safety of shipwrecked U.S. sailors.

The signing of the treaty would inevitably change Japan and its culture forever.

The opening of the Yokohama Port in 1859 marked the start of an industrial boom in Japan and the westernization of a nation.


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