So was getting my haircut and told them to cut it like the image below, the beautician said something like「。。。メリハリ。。。」and I was wondering what it means...

I did online searches and while the definition (in Japanese) is there, I guess I don't really "get it"...

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


メリハリ refers to a good contrast between an important/strong/dynamic part and an unimportant/weak/static part.

メリハリがない生活 is a monotonous life. メリハリがついたスピーチをしてください means you should make the important part sound important and avoid a flat tone.

It's a bit difficult for me to explain what's 髪型のメリハリ, but I think it basically refers to some complex/dynamic/lively appearance.

メリハリ is usually written in katakana (or sometimes hiragana). Etymologically, めり (滅り) referred to a low-pitched sound and はり (張り) referred to a high-pitched sound. A kango equivalent of メリハリ is 抑揚, but メリハリ is more often used figuratively.

  • 2
    For the hairstyle, based on the picture, I would imagine it points to the contrast between the almost completely shaven sides and the full hair on top of the head. For メリハリ, the best analogy I can think of is music: you need both the notes and the pauses between them to get a melody. If you have only one or the other, you're left with only noise, or only silence.
    – Philippe
    Jun 29, 2017 at 13:00

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