Start the next chapter of your love life, real-world or otherwise, with a new hairdo from the Heartbreak Salon.

The cost of living in Japan often gets exaggerated or misrepresented, but haircuts really are pretty pricey here. Yes, there are inexpensive barbers where you can get a cheap, quick trim, but if you’re going to a salon, it’s not at all unusual to be charged between 5,000 and 8,000 yen (US$45-US$72).

So when Cowen, a salon in Tokyo’s stylish Koenji neighborhood, offers free haircuts, it’s a pretty sweet-sounding deal. However, the customer’s half of the deal is a little more bitter, as they’ll have to share a story of love lost.

You might not notice it at first glance in the above photo, but carved into the fourth kanji character are the words “heartbreak discount,” and over the next two weeks, that’s exactly what Cowen is offering. As the stylists do their thing, customers will talk about their recent heartbreak, so that once the haircut is done, they’ll have a new look to complement the catharsis of having talked through their emotional pain.

The salon accommodates a broad definition of “heartbreak.” Not only does it accept tales of both heterosexual or homosexual unrealized romantic ambitions, but you can also pay for your haircut by talking about how the anime character you had a crush on has found true love with someone who’s not you. Real-world entertainers, such as actors and idol singers, are also valid heartbreak sources for the purpose of the promotion.

However, Cowen isn’t doing this on a strictly volunteer basis. The Heartbreak Salon is a joint promotion with Japanese online content creator Hyakuman Volt, which is footing the bill for the haircut costs. Hyakuman Voly will be collecting the stories to use as inspiration for upcoming projects such as romance manga, though it stresses that no personal information will be disclosed (and Cowen’s interior design consists entirely of private haircut booths, so customers won’t have to worry about other patrons overhearing their tearful stories).

Unfortunately, all reservations for the heartbreak discount haircuts have already been filled, though the initial batch of slots were designated as a “trial” for the program, so it might be offered again in the future. In the meantime, if you’re feeling broken up over your favorite anime character falling for someone who’s not you, we’re sure the staff at Tokyo’s by-otaku, for-otaku hair salon would be happy to lend a sympathetic ear.

Related: Cowen
Source: Hyakuman Volt via IT Media, PR Times

Images: PR Times
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s always happy when he goes to his regular haircut place because they have free country Ma’am cookies.