View Full Version : Styling help: Samurai topknot with Long Hair

June 3rd, 2011, 06:28 PM
Next week I am going to be playing the master of a Samurai household in Edo-period Japan. It is for my final in Japanese Theater class where our groups are performing dances or plays (I'm in a 30 minute kyogen play called "Bo Shibari," or "tied to a pole"). Anyhow, this morning my sensei decided he wanted me to figure out how to secure all of my hair in a traditional topknot :shrug: because I have more than enough hair for it and he thinks it would look better than my hair glove, or a braid, or any normal bun.:( I have looked on line, but the longest :afro: hair I could find being used in a top knot by a sumo wrestler was around shoulder length and I am tailbone+. So, now I turn to my friends in the LHC :pray: to help me figure out A:how to make it, B: how to make it look good, and C: how to secure it. :bowtome:

June 3rd, 2011, 07:17 PM
I think the traditional top knot is made like a curl. Just one curl.

The hair can be any length, but the longer hair, the stiffer the curl and the better it stands up.

I made this updo twice for tai chi demonstrations. It was secure.

I found instructions somewhere on-line, but you don't really need instructions.

I don't even remember the instuctions, but I think I started with an elastic secured ponytail on top of the head, then curled the tail with my fingers toward the front, curling all the way up to my scalp. Then secure the bottom of the curl to the scalp hair with pins. The hole in the middle of the curl faces the sides, and the hole does not need to be big, in fact if the hole is too big it will make the curl floppy.

edited: My memory is slowly coming back about this updo. I'm certain I used a hairstick at the base of the curl. (I had an old photo of a master with a topknot curl and a stick at the base pointing to the sides.)

I did the updo a bit like a folded pony or chignon, letting some of the tail hang out of the elastic and then wrapped the tail around the base of the pony to cover the elastic. The stick gave the updo an authentic look, but the stick was helpful only in that it was used to secure the end of the tail - sort of helping it stay tucked up under some of the wrapped tail.

If my description was not good enough, there is a photo in my album of this type of folded pony (at my nape instead of on top of my head), with part of the tail wrapped around the base of the pony.

June 4th, 2011, 02:47 AM
Pinkbunny has instructions on her youtube for her "gaijin odango bun" which might work for you. Length wouldn't be a problem as she is at knee.

June 4th, 2011, 05:59 AM
Here's a thread that might help you. http://forums.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=42282&highlight=odango

June 5th, 2011, 03:02 AM
Thanks ladies, but the style we're going for is a more masculine tight look.Maybe if I do a pony folded in thirds and center it over the elastic ans secure the front and back halves tightly?

June 5th, 2011, 05:08 AM
It is a masculine look, especially if you use a stick in the East-West direction (the ear to ear direction). The stick at the base of the folded pony adds a lot of power to this updo. Of course it should be a simple plain wooden stick, not a feminine looking stick.

June 5th, 2011, 05:53 AM
You mean the loopie thing right? I suggest you do a normal pull-half-through plus. Let me explain :p

Make a ponytail, but when you pull it through the elastic after a couple of times, onlhy pull it through for a bit so that you have a loop. Then, you have all this extra hair that's not very Samurai-ish :eek: So then you flip the hair over the loopy-knot think you had already made, grab the elastic and twist it so it's tightly around the first loop, and pull it over the second loop. Now you have a bigger bun with the tail in front. Go back and forth repeating this (adding more elastics as you go, because one probably isn't long enough to tightly hold) until you have a some hair left. Wrap that around the base (it should give the bun some lift and 'compress' it a bit) and pin it!

You may want to wrap every loop very tightly and a few times with the elastic, otherwise it's slide and move around, so you'll need a few thin elastics, or a really long one XD.
If it keeps moving around you could try pinning the tail down next to the base before making a new loop.

Hope that works for you. I've seen many other traditional Samurai styles but I can't think of any ways to make that work for very long hair.

(also, I know this isn't traditional and kinda cheating :p but it's all I can come up with.)

June 6th, 2011, 02:20 PM
Sorry Frizzinator, I went looking in your album for something that matched your description, but couldn't spot anything that didn't look fantastically soft and feminine. Did you mean the one based on the Madeleine Chignon?

June 6th, 2011, 10:33 PM
..... Did you mean the one based on the Madeleine Chignon?

Yes, that's the one. It's a folded pony with some of the pony wrapped around the base to cover the elastic.

It stood straight up on top of my head, with a stick straight across the bottom, pointing side to side. It is masculine looking.

My elderly tai chi master recognized it as a traditional master's hair style, and he indicated that only the greatest masters wore their hair in that style.

So, I guess it was not a good idea to wear it for my demonstration at a local Chinese community event, because they may have thought my updo ego exceeded my martial arts skill.

Edited to add: I did make the folded pony tighter than the chignon in my photo album. If I did not make the loop smaller, then it would have been floppy.