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Local barber trims back time

A 40 year-old photo of Kazumi Oshiro, Army & Air Force Exchange Service barber shop manager, lies beside barber tools on Kadena Air Base, Japan, July 18, 2012. In 1965, when she started working, haircuts were 25 cents and shaving and shampooing cost 10 cents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Junko Kinjo)

A 40 year-old photo of Kazumi Oshiro, Army & Air Force Exchange Service barber shop manager, lies beside barber tools on Kadena Air Base, Japan, July 18, 2012. In 1965, when she started working, haircuts were 25 cents and shaving and shampooing cost 10 cents. (U.S. Air Force photo/Junko Kinjo)

Kazumi Oshiro, Army & Air Force Exchange Service barber shop manager, trims the hair of Airman 1st Class Richard Tato, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron, aerospace propulsions technician, on Kadena Air Base, Japan, July 18, 2012. Oshiro has been working at the base barber shop since 1965 and has trimmed an average of 200 customers per week, or 10,585 customers per year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Junko Kinjo)

Kazumi Oshiro, Army & Air Force Exchange Service barber shop manager, trims the hair of Airman 1st Class Richard Tato, 18th Component Maintenance Squadron, aerospace propulsions technician, on Kadena Air Base, Japan, July 18, 2012. Oshiro has been working at the base barber shop since 1965 and has trimmed an average of 200 customers per week, or 10,585 customers per year. (U.S. Air Force photo/Junko Kinjo)

Kazumi Oshiro, Army & Air Force Exchange Service barbershop manager, looks at an old photo taken more than 40 years ago, trimming the hair of a customer on Kadena Air Base, Japan, July 18, 2012. Oshiro has been working at the base barber shop since 1965 and has given an estimated 497,495 haircuts during her 47-year career. (U.S. Air Force photo/Junko Kinjo)

Kazumi Oshiro, Army & Air Force Exchange Service barbershop manager, looks at an old photo taken more than 40 years ago, trimming the hair of a customer on Kadena Air Base, Japan, July 18, 2012. Oshiro has been working at the base barber shop since 1965 and has given an estimated 497,495 haircuts during her 47-year career. (U.S. Air Force photo/Junko Kinjo)

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- For a service member, everyday life requires them to follow rules and regulations, which includes keeping up with high standards of conduct and looking sharp.

One of the many regulations all service members are required to uphold states that they "will be clean, well-groomed and present a professional appearance."

A person's hair is always growing, so they're always going to need a place to get it cut. That is why Air Force bases all over the world have barber shops. While there may be a lot of barbers on-island, there's one that stands out among the rest at Kadena.

Oshiro Kazumi has been cutting service members' hair here since 1965. She's the manager of the Base Exchange barber shop on Kadena and has been keeping service members' hair within regulation since she was only 19 years old.

When she first started, she was working and going to night school.

"There was an opening on Kadena Air Base barber shop," Kazumi reflecting on her starting days. "It was hard and I was lucky to get (the position) as a young person to be able to work on Kadena. At night I went to school (to get my) Training Instructor's License and Hairdresser Beautician License."

Working at the same place for more than four decades, she has trimmed hair of all ranks and all types of family members.

Kazumi said that throughout the years customers and hairstyles change, then sometimes come back, 10 years later. She also remembers one specific child who came back, as an officer years later.

"It feels like seeing my family again," the 47-year veteran said as a smile spread across her face.

She trims from a variety of customers. From generals to young enlisted. Sometimes she cuts the hair of young women and children, but most often for the men. She trims 200 customers in a week and nearly 10,600 customers annually. Over the span of her 47-year career, Kazumi has cut the hair of more than 497,000 customers.

Today a hair cut costs 790 yen, or $10.25, and shaving and shampoo costs 350 yen or $4.35. Back when Kazumi first started, prices were a little different.

"You will smile, but I want to tell you this, a hair cut was 25 cents, one coin shaving and shampoo was 10 cents," explained the Okinawan originally from Ikei Island.

Among the price changes throughout the years, trends for hair styles have changed too. For instance; the induction cut, the flat top, the crew cut, the high and tight still exist, while the Air Force style 3,5,10 or horseshoe is no longer around.

Kazumi has a motto that is important to her. It goes, "customer service and strict sanitation. It is important to look into a customer's eyes and greet them, while always using the words please, or 'douzo,' before seating. After that, the communication is freestyle. Once we cut and use the tool, it is sanitized each time before we use it on the next customer."

As a manager, Kazumi conducts meetings with the other barbers and trains them in various areas - especially strict sanitation techniques, customer service and troubleshooting customer service complaints to ensure the staff can prevent negative feedback in the future.

"I love the job very much as you can see I'm healthy and have a smile," she said. "It's really peaceful. I hope the exchange and the company keeps this continuing effort and I would like to keep working as long as I am healthy. From now on, I would like to (provide support) for the young people."