The Battle For Subway Beards

What would you do if your paycheck hinged on the state of your facial hair? That’s exactly what two men in Japan are dealing with, and they’ve taken their battle to the courts.

Japan Times recently reported that two subway drivers in Osaka, Japan have claimed that their bonuses were cut because they refused to shave their beards.

The men have both been rocking their beards for over a decade, but in 2012 the transportation bureau introduced new grooming standards that banned male employees from growing beards – a policy put in place by then-mayor Toru Hashimoto.

According to the report, the drivers “received lower personnel evaluation ratings that reduced their bonus payments … because they refused to  abide by the standards and kept their beards.”

The two drivers have cited in their lawsuit that “[g]rowing a beard is part of individual freedom, just like choosing clothes or hairstyles. The city’s grooming standards violate this freedom guaranteed under the Constitution.”

One of the men spoke at a news conference stating, “I have never neglected to groom my beard and never received complaints from passengers about my beard … I just can’t accept to be told I am badly groomed just because I grow a beard.”

But the situation becomes truly irksome when you hear why Hirofumi Yoshimura – the current mayor of Osaka – is standing firm behind the grooming standards.

He claims that the standards are “for letting passengers use the subway pleasantly” and therefore are “not excessive.”

Thanks Yoshimura, happy to know you find beards to be generally unpleasant. I find idiotic and close-minded grooming policies to be unpleasant too, so I guess we all have our grievances.

Check out the full story at the link above to learn more about the Osaka lawsuit!


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