Our fashionable reporter has never worn a wig before, and will she want to again after this?

Tsutaya is a company that’s going through a bit of a transition. For decades, their primary lines of business were video rentals and book sales, both industries that have been in steady decline for a while now and aren’t likely to significantly bounce back anytime soon.

So recently, Tsutaya has been trying to expand its scope and reestablish itself as a total entertainment and enjoyment provider, which brings us to their newest venture: renting wigs.

Our Japanese-language reporter Ikuna Kamezawa found out about this while browsing the Tsutaya Bookstore in Tokyo’s Shimokitazawa neighborhood. “Shimokita,” as the cool kids call the neighborhood, is known as a youthful and fashionable part of Tokyo, and inside the bookstore right now is a Tsutaya-run wig rental shop called Wig You.

The target market is more Gen-Z than geriatric, with a variety of styles fitting in with fashion trends for young women. Ikuna had never worn a wig before, but she was intrigued. The shop has around 50 different styles to choose from, and for first-timers like Ikuna, the staff is happy to help pick out one that’s just right for you.

▼ For reference, that’s Ikuna, and her natural hair, on the right, pictured with her mom before they attended a visual-kei rock concert together.

Before making your final wig selection, you can also try them on in-store to see if the styles are a good match for the shape of your face and outfit. Again, if you don’t have a lot of personal experience putting on wigs, the staff will assist you.

For starters, Ikuna decided to try on a short-cut wig, since it’s been about 10 years since she last had her hair bobbed.

She was honestly surprised at how natural the wig looked once it was in place!

Next up, she went with a long, voluminous straight black style.

▼ Ikuna has had blond hair for pretty much as long as we’ve known her, so this is definitely different from how we’re used to seeing her.

Eventually, though, she settled on this light pink design.

Wig You has combs, dryers, and hair irons that you can use to style your rented tresses however you like them before heading out in your new look. They also have nice interior lighting so that you can snap a few selfies right away.

Ikuna had stopped by Wig One early in the day, before the beginning of her shift. As she made her way to SoraNews24 HQ in the Shinjuku district, she felt just a little self-conscious at first, and braced herself for people staring at her hair and silently telling her with their eyes “We know that’s a wig.”

But to her pleasant surprise, that wasn’t the vibe she got at all, and it seemed that passersby simply accepted that that was her natural hair on her head. As a matter of fact, when she got to SoraNews24 HQ, not yet having told anyone on the team about her morning wig-renting excursion, the reaction from everyone else in the office that days was, “Oh, wow, you dyed your hair!”

Ikuna worked her whole shift in her wig, and it never felt heavy, itchy, or otherwise uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, it felt so natural that she eventually forgot she was wearing a wig at all, and startled herself a few times when she saw her reflection in a mirror.

▼ Yes, Ikuna does have a calendar of sumo wrestlers dressed in kimono.

Wig You charges 1,595 yen (US$10.50) for a three-day, two-night rental of its standard wigs, and 2,178 yen for its “premium”-class wigs, with those prices going to 2,420 and 3,278 yen for an eight-day, seven-night rental (you can also purchase them outright for 6,050 or 8,250 yen).

So what do you do when it’s time to return your rental? Just like if you were renting a DVD, you can take it back to Wig One yourself, or, for an additional 200 yen fee, they’ll supply you with a special return pouch.

Just place the wig inside the pouch, drop it in a mailbox, and the postal system will take care of the rest of the return.

▼ The wigs are thoroughly cleaned with a special apparatus between uses

Ikuna was immensely satisfied with the whole experience, and thinks it’s a perfect fit for those times when you feel like changing your look up dramatically just for a day or two, like maybe if you’re headed to a concert for your favorite idol group and want to dress up for the occasion. Really, the only thing she’s bummed out about is that Wig You is still in its concept-test phase, and the Shimokitazawa location is a temporary pop-up shop that’s only open until June 4. She’s hoping it pops up again somewhere soon, though, and we have a hunch we might see her come to the office with a few more looks between now and next month.

Location information
Wig You
Located inside Tsutaya Bookstore Shimokitazawa
Address: Tokyo-yo, Setagaya-ku, Kitazawa 2-11-15
Open 9 a.m.-10 p.m.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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