Tuesday, January 17, 2006


When the Kuiku Katsu hair salons opened across Kyushu, publicity was one of their priorities, and it enabled the Fukuoka-centred business to flourish. This week, however, the publicity has turned bad, and for the first time in its 5 year history, Kuiku Katsu could be in trouble, all because of one of its salons refusing to admit a non-Japanese.

Accounts differ, but what is known is that last Wednesday, Hazel Rorner, an Englishwoman teaching in Fukuoka, entered the Hakata branch of Kuiku Katsu, but was unable to get a haircut. She claims that the salon workers saw her coming and hurried to lock the door and draw down the blind. Undeterred, Rorner says she opened the letter box and asked them in Japanese what they were doing. Apparently the staff refused to say anything, but eventually a note was pushed through the letter box, saying "So sorry. Our cutting sissars (sic) can not hope to deal with your superly strong hair." Rorner claims discrimination and wants to take the salon to court for defamation of character and racism (hailing from XXX, long considered the home of racism, Rorner appreciates the irony).

Naturally, the salon staff deny all charges, and as the note has been misplaced and there were apparently no witnesses, it seems that it will be their word against Rorner's. Six months ago it would have a been a foregone conclusion for the salon to emerge unscathed, but with anti-discrimination legislation being reviewed in the Diet, this could well be a turning point in Japanese law.


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