Category Archives: Barbers


UPDATE Feburary 2012: I’m sad to announce that, Kinoshita-san having finally retired, Futaba has now closed.

I’ve recently spotted a cameraman roaming the corridors of the school where I work. My hair having gotten all shaggy and unkempt, and not wanting to lower the tone of the old school album, I figured this was a warning. Time for my biannual haircut! Anyway, as it happens, last Saturday I was talking to Stewart Wachs , and I happened to mention the need for a trim.

Kinoshita-san. Photograph courtesy of Stewart Wachs.

And so he told me that he’s been going to the same barber’s for absolute donkey’s. He went there originally because it was near his house, he said, but even now that he has moved to Shiga, he still comes back into town to get his haircut by his favorite barber: Kinoshita-san of the shop Futaba. Kinoshita-san, he told me, has been “standing at the same chair” in the same shop since the 1950’s. Though he’s 80 now, he’s still going strong, together with his business partner of 33 years, Kawai-san.

Kawai-san has worked at Futaba for 33 years. Photograph courtesy of Stewart Wachs.

“Actually,” said Stewart, “I’ve been thinking I’d like to write something about him. Why don’t you do something on Deep Kyoto about it?”

“You know the best way for me to do that,” I said, “Would be to go there and get my hair cut right now.” And after getting some directions from Stewart, that’s exactly what I did.

Kinoshita-san and Kawai-san turned out to be a couple of real old fashioned gents in a real old fashioned gentleman’s barbershop. Kinoshita-san told me that he has been working in the same shop since 1957. That’s 53 years of cutting hair. You know you are in a safe pair of hands when your barber has a lifetime of experience behind him. Continue reading