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Anime Hair!

Updated: May 28, 2022

You know what I’m talking about—those unearthly hairstyles with their equally unearthly colors, “anime hair!”

But why, and how?

Well, first of all, because it’s cool! Who doesn’t want a hairstyle that looks like it took countless hours and gallons of product to perfect?

Second, because it’s shorthand used by anime and manga artists to communicate to the audience something about the personality of their characters. The more natural the hairstyle and hair color, the more serious and relatable the character. The more unnatural the hairstyle and hair color, the more zany, aggressive, or even magical the character!

But, how?

One of my students once asked why Japanese anime characters often have outlandish hair, jetting out in every direction? Having lived in Japan for 20 year, I replied, it’s simple, Japanese bathe at night and often fall asleep before their hair dries. Japanese kids really look like their anime counterparts sometimes for this reason. You try it, I told them, your hair will stand up on end too! Funny thing, many of my students did try it, and they ended up sporting “anime hair” the rest of the school year!

So, there you have it, the simple why and how of “anime hair.” It’s an example of how some language is nonverbal. Then, again if you’re interesting in improving your verbal Japanese language skills, you should check out the video lessons on

We’ll have you speaking so well, people’s hair will stand up on end, from sheer surprise and delight—at least it will if they’re comic book characters!


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