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Bald? You'll Get a Discount at This Restaurant

/ Source: Reuters
Shiro Fukai, 48, smiles as he drinks distilled spirit at the Otasuke "izakaya" style pub and restaurant in Tokyo May 8, 2014.Toru Hanai / Reuters

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Bald is beautiful at a new Tokyo restaurant, where follicly challenged customers are welcomed with open arms and offered discounts not available to their hairier brethren.

The Japanese-style pub in Tokyo's Akasaka district, not far from the central government offices, encourages customers to embrace their loss of hair, not hide it.

"Baldness is a very delicate issue in Japan, but in Hollywood there are a number of stars who completely ignore their hairless state and proudly carry out their work," said owner Yoshiko Toyoda.

"I thought it would be nice to foster that spirit here."

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Shiro Fukai, 48, smiles as he drinks distilled spirit at the Otasuke "izakaya" style pub and restaurant in Tokyo May 8, 2014.Toru Hanai / Reuters

Baldness is not as prevalent in Japan as in the West but it still affects 26 percent of men, says Aderans, a leading Japanese hairpiece maker. Genetics plays a major role, but stress among the nation's chronically overworked corporate "salarymen" is also blamed.

"When you first start to go bald, it's a huge shock, no question," said Shiro Fukai, 48, as he enjoyed a drink.

"Japanese businessmen have it really tough. The stress accumulates, then your hair begins to fall out."

Easing this stress was Toyoda's original inspiration for "Otasuke" - "Helping Hands" - which features the Japanese pub fare loved by middle-aged men, such as grilled chicken on skewers and stewed tripe, at low prices.

"I was thinking of some way to help support salarymen, but without a theme the idea was lame," Toyoda said. "Then one day I was walking downtown and kept seeing bald guys. That was it."

Each bald customer gets a 500 yen ($4.92) discount, with the rewards increasing along with the number of bald customers in each group. If five go drinking together, one drinks for free.

-- Reuters

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