Anime is a Japanese film and series animation style, characterized by colorful graphic characters and fantasy or sci-fi themes, intended for children as well as adults. As a product of Japanese culture, anime has an intentional visual language, where every element has its meaning; it symbolizes something mystical or psychological.
When we are talking about anime, we are picturing characters with various hair colors and styles, so we were wondering if there is more into it as with other cartoons, if these characters represent something specific in Japanese culture.
It turns out that character's hair color is supposed to indicate a personality of the person and the role that it has in the series. For example, pink hair has been used for a very few childish characters, until the audience started to empathize with these characters, which made pink very popular anime hair color. It is still used for playful, innocent and silly female characters.
Blue hair color fits anime characters which are wise, intelligent and introverted, while green is used for active, exciting and wiggling feminine characters. Although, darker shades of green are still more typical of characters like blue-haired. Red-haired characters are typically the leaders, the loud ones and even rude to some extent. It reminds us of every silly stupid "speaking-without-being-asked" character we've seen.
Yellow hair is reserved for the most important female character in anime - most lead anime girls are blonde. Brown stands for the friendly, understanding, kind and everyday type of character. These are characters we often meet in the anime world. They are important to the series, but not the main guy. Often the guy's best friend or a love-interest of the main female character.
Black hair is used for most of the characters, as it is typical Japanese hair color. The brighter color is used to describe the character, the more down-to-earth he is, enlightened if you will. Darker colors are more "in the moment" kind of guys. Extremely bright colors, as well as white, can navigate towards more magical and exotic beings.
Seeing how these patterns of using color in art and media are reoccurring in Japanese culture of anime films, and comparing the color meanings to previously explored color psychology, we can see many overlaps. Green will always be goofy, blue trustworthy and red flammable, but Japanese wouldn't be Japanese if they didn't add a special spice of magic and surrealism in their color palette :)
About the author
Nina Petrov is an activist, poet, performer and mathematician. She communicates with the world mostly through words, movement and equations, but sometimes also by speaking very loudly. The only truth she could say about herself is that she keeps changing every day, never stops learning and interacting with her surroundings.