Why is the kanji 床 (floor) used to talk about a barbershop?

According to some answers in the post linked in the comments, here's two possible explanations.

  1. Originally barbershop had tatamis (this isn't really thorough, many places had tatamis).
  2. Quoting: "There was a barbershop in the Edo period that had a tokonoma; people referred to it as 「床の間のある店」(the shop with the tokonoma)". This is also a possible explanation.

Maybe an expert in history and linguistics can pinpoint references of the origin of this word?

  • 1
    Does this answer your question? Are there words so bad that they aren't allowed on television? Jun 24, 2021 at 9:17
  • Well, it is indeed mentioned in one of the answer, and most specifically in the comment of this specific answer. There's also two different explanations mentioned. Shouldn't we keep this question to consolidate the answers and have a more thorough analysis since the other post is about something completely unrelated?
    – Simon
    Jun 24, 2021 at 9:29
  • Yes you should certainly not delete your question. There is nothing wrong with having duplicates because they can help other people's searches. You should also note that i have no idea if this story is true. Someone else may come along with a different explanation, so that it another reason for not deleting your post. Jun 24, 2021 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


Origin of the word 床屋?
Why is the kanji 床 (floor) used to talk about a barbershop?

According to 語源由来辞典:


髪結い used to work at mobile stores, or at stores separate from their home. And these kinds of stores were called [床店]{とこみせ} because they had simple [床]{とこ} (bed/bedding).

(床 can mean [床]{ゆか} "floor" and also [床]{とこ} "bed/bedding".)

デジタル大辞泉 also says:

とこ‐や【床屋】 の解説
《江戸時代、髪結いが床店 (とこみせ) で仕事をしていたところから》髪結い床。また、理髪店。

It was called [床屋]{とこや} because 髪結い worked at [床店]{とこみせ}. And according to the dictionary:

とこ‐みせ【床店/床見世】 の解説

[床店]{とこみせ} is a store that's used only for business and no one lives in, or a small mobile store, stall or booth.

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