According the website dedicated to him (Google Translate):
GrowHair enjoys walking the streets wearing a sailor-suit school uniform where he is widely known as ‘Sailor Uncle.’ In born 1962, his real name is Hideaki Kobayashi and he has master’s degree in Mathematics from the prestigious Waseda University [Japan’s equivalent of Stanford or MIT]. He works as an image-processing software engineer at a printing company.
Yes, Mr. Hideaki Kobayashi or “Growhair” or the Japanese schoolgirl uniform wearing middle aged man on reddit or “Sailor Suit Old Man”. You may have seen him on some message boards or social medias (and may have performed a self lobotomy to forget the rancid image).
Well, he was recently interviewed for a Japanese website. Now you too can understand the inner-machinations of a cross-dressing old Japanese man…
When and why did you start cosplaying(?) as a schoolgirl?
I have had an inclanation for women’s clothing since primary school, and I started enjoying secretely wearing garments at home from about college. And although I was fulfilling my own narcasism, I understood that objectively it wasn’t socially acceptable, so I knew I could not go out and show people.
The chance I finnaly got to come out was at the 2010 “Design Festa”. I had a booth of various photos of dolls, and I heard that Candy Milky (a famous crossdresser) was going to pay a visit. I knew I had to dress aptly in respect, hence I dorned the schoolgirl uniform. Surprisingly, it really caught on, and became a sort of a specialty of Design Festa. Since then, I have participated in every Design Festa in the uniform.
So originally it was a cosplay for the event. Why did you decide to go public with the attire?
It was on June 11th 2011, when I went to a ramen shop called “Ramen Shop Takanashi” in Tsurumi. There was a campaign “if you are over 30 and come in dress as a schoolgirl, your ramen is on the house”. It goes without saying, I was the first to take up the offer! lol
You wouldn’t normally dress up in a schoolgirl uniform for one bowl of Ramen. Even so, why a schoolgirl uniform?
Well… That’s a difficult question. I didn’t really think too deeply about it… Because it suits me, I guess? I have had a few people tell me “the outfit suits you” with a straight face. Originally, I wanted it to be like a cruel joke. The uniform has many associations with the “kawaii” (cute) culture. I thought that I would become the antithesis of “kawaii” by doning the uniform.
What sort of reaction did you get when started wearing the uniform out on the street?
From my point of view, it seemed as though there wasn’t really any reaction, people just past by me. But behind my back, something interesting was happening. Some people were really stunned, often taking a second look. It’s become a real thing this past month on the internet, and a lot of people have recognized me and come up to talk to me. Some people ask to take a picture with me. I’ve been doing a lot of posing.
Despite the extravegant school uniform, your responses are very straight. I guess this must be because you work at a respectable well-known company as a dayjob. Despite having the “GrowHair” artist persona, how does the company feel since you don’t hide your face?
So long as I don’t mention the company name, they give me a lot of freedom. I dress like this when I go out drinking with my coworkers so everyone in my department knows. They are quite supportive.
Oh, what freedom! Your coworkers are very open-minded!!
By the way, aside from being a photographer, Mr. GrowHair is also a producer of a Highschool idol group called “Chaos de Japon”.
Well, I’m just one of the producers, I also do the photography and I am also a member.
What? A member!? I don’t really understand what you mean but they do have a live on May 19th at the Design Festa, details on their official facebook page.
The photographer Hitoshi Iwakiri has this to say about Mr. GrowHair.
“This presence is astounding. One look and you have your eyes pinned on him. He fills people with joy, his auro trascends cosplay. I consider him a modern day icon.”
It is said that Mr. Growhair is very popular is France. The day might come when Mr. Growhair becomes the embassador of the “Cool Japan” government movement… maybe!? (Interview by Nobunaga Shinbo)