A punch perm (パンチパーマ panchi pāma?) is a type of tightly permed male hairstyle in Japan. From the 1970s until the mid-1990s, it was popular among yakuza, chinpira (low-level criminals), bōsōzoku (motorcycle gang members), truck drivers, construction workers, and enka singers. The punch perm began to fall out of usage as a result of its general association with the yakuza, as well as normal fashion trends. The style is similar to the Jheri curl, which was popular in the USA during roughly the same time frame, but the curls in a punch perm are much tighter.
The hair style was invented by Shigemi Naganuma, a Japanese barber at the hair salon Naganuma in Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyūshū in the 1960s. He based the style on black people's hair. Naganuma became an apprentice barber at age of 19 and became independent at age of 26. At that time, hair irons were round and could not hold the hair tightly. Naganuma modified the iron by filing it into a hexagonal shape, like a pencil, which created a tighter hold. He originally named the style "champion press", however, it came to be called "punch perm". According to one theory, the name is because of its punchy and powerful appearance.
A variation of the punch perm that is worn primarily by bōsōzoku is called "aippa": both sides of the forehead are shaved to create a cross between widow's peak, an afro, and an exaggerated sculpted early 1960s pompadour.
Another variant is the "iron perm". While a punch perm is created with rollers and chemicals, an iron perm is created with a heated curling iron. This hair style often involves singeing the hair.
- "Shigemi Naganuma, the father of punch perm, passed away on 3rd Apr. 2012 at age 75". Mainichi Shimbun (in Japanese). April 14, 2012. p. 1. Archived from the original on June 21, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
- NHK Quiz Nihonjin no Shitsumon group, ed. (1996). クイズ 日本人の質問 (in Japanese). Tokyo, Japan: Kawade Shobo Shinsha. p. 214. ISBN 4309491456.
- Yakuza: Japan's Criminal Underworld chapter 12, David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro, University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-21562-7.
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