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Tokyo barber launches virtual ‘telecut’ service

TOKYO >> The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many services and events to go virtual, from online classes and drinking parties to online hostess bars.

But online haircuts?

It’s true. One Tokyo barbershop is trying to make the impossible possible.

In what may be an industry first, Mr. Brothers Cut Club has launched a “telecut” service, in which its barbers offer customers self-haircut tutorials via Zoom, the video-conferencing app.

“We figured many people are getting annoyed at how their hair keeps growing while they’re staying at home,” said barber Saito Kon.

So the barbershop decided to offer a temporary solution.

Customers prepare by gathering a few tools: scissors, clippers, a garbage bag and a hand-held mirror. Mr. Brothers offers two lessons, one for parents cutting their children’s hair and the other for folks looking to cut their own hair. English-speaking staff are also available.

Mr. Brothers admits the telecut initiative is more of a “quick-fix” measure, one unlikely to evolve into a viable business model.

“We can’t really guarantee that customers can get the perfect, high-quality haircut they would look for at barbershops,” Kon said. “The best we can do is teach them how not to mess up.”

The point of the classes, he said, is to provide a community service, free of charge.

But the project also intends to send a message to men nationwide.

“I know many guys are taking perfunctory care of how they look during this stay-at-home period, but we hope this initiative will make them stay motivated about their appearance,” Kon said.

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