The sign outside Otaskuke reads, “Baldness is a man’s badge of honor.” The Japanese-style pub whose name could be translated as “the baldie’s friend” in the Akasaka district in Tokyo is a safe haven for the hairless, offering a sense of community to the bald and the balding.
Otaskuke’s drink specials are bringing it the most attention, though, since it discounts the tabs of the follicly-challenged. Every individual bald or balding person gets a neat 500 yen, which is about $4.94, taken off of the buffet bill of the group. The discount then gets larger for each balding patron who joins the party.
“I don’t like to admit I’m going bald,” said Fumio Terashita, a businessman with a receding hairline. “But the bald discount idea is fun.”
Oh, and if five bald people head to Otaskuke together, one of them drinks for free.
What’s odd is that a bar like this wasn’t first conceived of in the West, since Western countries have higher rates of balding people. The Czech Republic leads with 42.79% and the United States comes in sixth at 39.04%.
“In an environment where the loss of hair is greater in number I think it is of up most importance to show acceptance and humility. It reminds us that we are all human and we all share in the human experience.” says Diana of Scalp Aesthetics. “This is exemplified at Otaskuke as the discount rate offered is in direct correlation with the ever present population of balding individuals, hence, the more balding heads the higher the discount.”
Meanwhile, Asian countries have some of the lowest rates of hair. That being said, 27% of people in Japan are balding, giving it the highest population of balding people amongst Asian countries.
So when Yoshiko Toyoda, the owner of Otaskuke, wanted to somehow spread some goodwill in the world, she needed only to look out over her patrons.
“I wanted some kind of volunteer theme with the bar,” she said, CBS reported. “When I looked down from the second floor at the lunchtime crowds, I just noticed all the bald heads.”
“At first, people wondered what it was all about,” said Toyoda, noting that only about 10 or 20% of Otaskuke’s clientele currently receive the discount. “But gradually, it’s catching on.”
Just because you’re bald or balding doesn’t mean you automatically get the discount, though.
“Customers have to ask for the bald discount,” said Toyoda. “We inspect them and decide whether they’re eligible.”