It turns out that surgically restoring his locks to their luscious glory had some unintended side effects…

Baldness is not unusual in Japan; in fact the country was found to have more bald men than any other in Asia. Yet in spite of just how common it is to be bald in Japan, it’s still not a popular look among women, who ranked it as one of their top three least appealing traits in a marriage partner.

That’s one reason why our Japanese language correspondent Seiji Nakazawa hates his baldness. He has always struggled with the ladies. Plus, as a kid he was made fun of for his “big forehead”, and now he’s got a receding hairline that makes it look even bigger. He’s got a wicked widow’s peak that’s steadily thinning out. Just look at that “M” shape on his already expansive forehead!

“Just once,” he wished, “Just once I’d like to have a normal forehead!” So he decided to make his dream come true by signing up for hair transplant surgery at a local clinic.

Hair transplant surgery involves moving hair from the parts of the head where it’s the most lush to the spots where it’s thinning or bald. There are several different kinds of male baldness, but it’s pretty common for men to lose hair in the front while retaining it in the back, so a popular way to treat this kind of baldness is to take the healthy, thriving hair from the back and implant it on the top. After it’s transplanted, the hair begins to grow normally.

Unfortunately, the place the hair is taken from can no longer grow more hair, so it’s not like you’re just sprouting new hairs; you’re actually moving the follicles from one place to another. Nevertheless, the fact that this operation exists is like a dream come true for those who suffer from top-of-the-head baldness.

It is a surgery, though, and for many that’s a hard step to take. It might hurt a lot, and you run the risk of it not working at all, leaving you even more bald than before. But Seiji chose to do the surgery because he was tired of his M-shaped hairline and seemingly ever-growing forehead, and for the sake of those who are hesitant about it, he decided to document his experience.

On the day of the surgery, Seiji first discussed the plan for the procedure with the doctor before entering the operation room. He was worried that there wouldn’t be enough hair to cover the bald spots on his forehead, but the doctor assured him that the hairs on the back of his head were grown densely enough to be sufficient.

After the plan was laid out and a diagram drawn on his head, Seiji was given local anesthesia shots in four different places in his forehead.

Then, in order to properly extract the base of the follicles, the hair on the back of his head was shaved down with electric razors.

After that, he was turned upside down, and the anesthesia was injected into the back of his scalp as well.

At that point, his head had gone numb, and his forehead felt dull, like it was made of gum. When they began to remove the follicles, he could feel a pricking, but strangely it didn’t hurt at all. It was similar to the time he got his wisdom teeth removed. He felt himself getting sleepy…

And before he knew it, five hours had passed, and they were already transplanting the hairs in the top of his head! Somehow Seiji had fallen asleep for the majority of the procedure. When he woke up, there was only one hour left to go.

Six hours is quite a long surgery, but because it wasn’t a formal surgery and because he’d fallen asleep, Seiji didn’t think it was so bad. If anything, the first pinch of the anesthesia shot was the most painful part. It was so painless it was almost disappointing.

That’s what he thought, anyway. But when he took a selfie of his forehead after it was all done, he got a little bit of a shock at what he saw. Blood was oozing out of his head like in a scene from a horror movie!

It was then, belatedly, that he’d realized that what he’d done was pretty major surgery. Nevertheless, the nurses wrapped up his head in a bandage and sent him home for the night.

Seiji was told that it was possible to feel some pain during the night, or that there might be some swelling. But he didn’t feel anything even when he woke up the next morning, and the doctor said he could remove the bandage if everything felt alright.

So right away he checked out his gnarly wound. It wasn’t as bad as before; the blood had congealed nicely, though it still looked a little grisly and raw. Even so, it doesn’t need to be bandaged again, though you’re not supposed to touch the area until it heals. In fact you can’t even wash it for a week! To help the hairs take hold, heavy exercise is also forbidden, as is tobacco and alcohol.

And therein lied the biggest challenge. The seeping wound on his head wasn’t a problem for Seiji, and he could live without alcohol and exercise, but to go without cigarettes for a whole week?! Seiji normally smokes about a pack a day, and he gets terribly irritable if he can’t smoke for even one day.

Plus, he and the other members of the writing team tend to take cigarette breaks every 20 or 30 minutes, so he’s used to regular smokes. Having to stop cold turkey for a full week, while his colleagues continued smoking regularly, would be a special kind of hell for him.

Just in case, just to make sure, Seiji asked the doctor if “No tobacco” included cigarettes. “It might affect the latching on of the hairs…” was the doctor’s response, and that was the final word. No cigarettes for a whole week.

“Bring it on!” said Seiji, but his confidence did not last very long.

▼ The other writers didn’t seem to pay him any mind as he stared longingly and jealously out at them through the window while they smoked.

▼ In fact, he could have sworn that they were smoking more than usual, just to spite him.

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▼ “What? Did you…did you want a smoke?”

“Aaaaaahhhh I want to smoke!” cried Seiji in a fit of withdrawal-induced rage at the end of the first day, almost ripping out his newly implanted hair.

▼ Day 2 of no smoking….and Seiji is trying not to murder everyone for their cigarettes.

One week of no smoking? Yes, that was the real hell. Not the surgery, not the open wounds, not the healing pores or the recovery in general; no, not being able to indulge in a cigarette after lunch, after a bath, before bed….that pushed him to the real limits. During that week, Seiji lived on gum and mints, but it was never enough to satisfy his craving for a good cigarette.

The fifth day was the peak of the mountain. As a future rock star, Seiji had to go to a rehearsal with his band, but the waiting room in the local rehearsal studio posed the biggest challenge…

Literally everyone around him was smoking. Cigarettes and rock go hand in hand, and that made the recording studio a worse hell than even work. It was a cigarette festival in there. The devastation he felt was so acute, it was like he’d started climbing a ladder out of hell, only to have the ladder pushed over when was almost at the top.

And to top it all off, every one of them had a gorgeous, luscious head full of hair. Seiji had many choice words for them, but we’ll just leave them to your imagination.

Yet even through this torturous purgatory, Seiji somehow managed to survive one whole week without cigarettes. There were nights when he couldn’t sleep, and mornings when he couldn’t get up, but he fought it to the last. Seiji is a champion for the masses!

In the end, he actually felt like his health was much better after a week with no cigarettes. He felt more alert and rested in the mornings; it actually felt pretty good. He didn’t even have as many nicotine cravings anymore, either, so it might have even been possible for him to quit cigarettes entirely! (He hasn’t said if he actually did or not. We suspect he didn’t.)

As for the actual surgical wounds, they were raw for about three days after the surgery, but after four or five days they seemed to heal over. His scalp had been a little itchy, but there had been no swelling, and by the end of the week, the wounds had scabbed over and looked almost like ordinary pores.

For Seiji, the hardest part about the whole process was having to give up cigarettes, but he does still have nagging worries about whether the surgery worked. “Will I really grow hair on the top of my head?” “Will it really be nice, thick hair?” “What will happen to the back of my head?” These are all niggling things that still concern him.

Hair takes a long time to grow, so we have a while to wait for the final results. Seiji has promised to write a new report if there are any changes to his skin or visible progress. Will his enormous forehead be sufficiently buried in a luscious bush of hair?

Hopefully it will be, but if not, studies show that eating more curry and less raw eggs can help prevent baldness (and less cigarettes will probably help too). Good luck, Seiji!

Images © SoraNews24
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