What is a Nose Hair Craftsman and what does one do?

“We’re hiring Nose Hair Craftsmen. Please feel free to inquire.”

This baffling sign greeted our Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro Wasai just outside of the ticket gates for the Toei Shinjuku Line at Shinjuku Sanchome Station. “What a title with an impact!” he thought to himself. In Japanese, the words used are “鼻毛職人 (hanage shokunin)”, where “Shokunin” has a wide variety of English translations, but in general is used to refer to someone who specializes in a particular craft and has been working to hone it for years, like an artisan or a craftsman.

So of course, the particular use of the word shokunin piqued Yuichiro’s interest. What is a Nose Hair Craftsman, what does one do, and what are the qualifications one needs to be one? Yuichiro decided to visit the advertised shop to find out.

As it turns out, the place looking for Nose Hair Craftsmen is a salon specializing in nose hair removal called Ekibana, and they’ve set up a booth right next to the sign that piqued our intrepid reporter’s interest. Outside the booth were several informational flyers and even a video, on top of which was a very formal looking–and not altogether reassuring–sign that said, “It doesn’t hurt.”

Having never been to Ekibana before, and being curious about the job ad, Yuichiro decided to give nose hair removal a try. He wanted to see what it was that a Nose Hair Craftsman actually does, and besides, he had a couple of unruly nostril hairs that could use trimming.


As it turns out, the steps to getting your nostril hairs removed at Ekiben are as follows:

1. Apply a hair removing cream (or wax?) to your nostrils and remove a bunch of hairs at once (multiple times)

2. Pluck what’s left with tweezers

…and that’s it. All in all, it takes about three to seven minutes, and the less hair you have up there, the less time it takes. The cost is only 1,100 yen (US$10), so when you think about how quick and easy it is–and how nice it feels after–it’s well worth the money if your nostril hairs are bothering you.

Now for the golden question: how much did it hurt? The answer is, at least in Yuichiro’s case, surprisingly not much at all! At the very least, it was far more pleasant than giving your nostrils a Brazilian wax. To be fair, in his case, the Craftsman had to do step one about eight times for Yuichiro, and by the sixth time he was more or less used to it.

But still, even the plucking of step two was much more comfortable than if he were to do it himself. At the end of it, Yuichiro actually felt kind of refreshed, as if he’d just come from the spa.

So that’s the skill of a pro Nose Hair Craftsman! Yuichiro hadn’t forgotten his original intent in visiting Ekibana, so before he left the booth, he asked the Craftsman who worked on his nostrils, “What kinds of qualities does a Nose Hair Craftsman need to have?”


“Hmm…I’d say that, since we do a lot of very delicate work, you’d need to have very deft fingers.”

That makes sense. The Craftsman doing it with his gentle hands was completely different than Yuichiro doing it himself, or having someone unqualified do it for him. That’s why he walked from the booth with such a mysterious sense of calm and relaxation.

While the idea of having someone digging around in your nose might seem off-putting, trust Yuichiro when he says that it’s definitely better than keeping a portable nose hair shaver with you for those bad hair days! If you want to give a Nose Hair Craftsman at Ekibana a crack at your nostrils, just know that their locations are everchanging and they rotate around different stations in Tokyo and Osaka about once a week or once a month, so make sure you check out Ekibana’s homepage to find out where they’ll be before you go.

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