The only association in Asia where people can learn about diverse Pan-African cultures through Hair, Beauty, and Beyond.
Asia, particularly in Japan, black ex-pats and the mixed-race population is on the rise. While the rise in diversity is exciting, society has not been able to catch up with rapid changes in needs and demands.
Our founder Emiko who has been married to Ghanaian Man for almost 30 years, has lived and breathed the black hair for as long as she can remember. Her love for black culture only amplified since her daughter was born. Her mission was to make sure that her daughter and children with similar backgrounds could love their hair and beauty - and she has been doing exactly that for decades. She has taught hair braiding and black hair care to more than 10,000 people and counting!
There is, unfortunately, a stigma around blackness and black hair in Japan. Society often associates black hair with bad people. Prejudice like this can affect mixed people as they can not proudly wear their natural hair in school and the workplace.
We can not make a blanket statement, but many Japanese people are not aware that black and black mixed people have naturally textured hair that needs different ways to care. Even if they are dating black people or already have mixed-race children, they struggle to answer their questions because there is not much correct information available in Japanese.
HBA Japan & Beyond is here to change that.
We continue to teach up and coming & current beauty professionals black hair care and hair braiding through our Academy to start being inclusive in their practice.
Our priority is to teach black history and cultures alongside our specialized beauty and hair sphere mission. We recognize that beauty/hair is a crucial part of black culture.
Isn't cultural appropriation for Japanese people to wear hair braids?
As homogeneous as Japan is, when professional we teach techniques to go out in the world and implement hair braiding menu to their salon, they will attract Japanese people interested in wearing braids.
We do not try to gatekeep who can and cannot wear braids, as it is almost an unrealistic feat. We know that those that wear braids will continue to wear them regardless.
In fact, judging someone for wearing braids without fully understanding their story can cause unnecessary harm and animosity. What if that person is actually mixed? What if she just traveled to Ghana and got her hair done by her Ghanaian Friend? What if he let his girlfriend practice her skills on his hair? What if her adoptive mother was a black person, and she was the one that did her hair?
We can think of so many probabilities that it is impossible to jump to a conclusion.
What we advocate here at HBA Japan & Beyond is to educate.
We believe that it is imperative for hairstylists and braiders here in Japan to understand black history/culture/and the basic anatomy of black hair. By educating the professionals, clients can come to gain more understanding and appreciation of diverse African cultures.
If we want to positively change the way Japanese people think about black hair, we need more people to be interested in our cause. Japanese people who get braids will continue to do so - we believe it is more practical to collaborate to change the way Japanese society thinks about black hair and hair braiding than stop them from appreciating a beautiful part of black culture.
We continue to educate and grow ourselves as well!
***Japan does not keep track of the population by race. We do not have the correct census of mixed-race people living in Japan. However, we do know that 98% are Japanese and 2% are foreigners. More than half of that 2% are Asians***