Black Ships & Pink-haired Girls
In 1852, Commodore Matthew Perry of the U.S. Navy led a fleet of black-hulled warships into the Uraga Harbor near Edo.
Ostentatiously, this was a military operation to force Japan to open its ports and resume trading with the West.
However, what most historians did not know was, in his teenage years, Matthew Perry was a transfer student at the same Japanese high school as Tokugawa Yoshinobu, the 15th shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate which ruled Japan at that time. Using the military cum trade expedition as an excuse, Commodore Perry had come to Japan to ask a favour of his former high school seito kaicho (i.e. student council president).
It is rarely taught in modern American schools, but America in the 19th century was not kind to witches. Those women with supernatural powers were considered a threat by the Christian patriarchs who ruled America in those days. Beyond having good political acumen, the patriarchs did not posses any remarkable powers and were thus jealous of the powers wielded by those whom they considered to be social inferiors. Fearing for their lives, a coven consisting of the most prominent magical families in America approached Commodore Perry, who was known to be lenient and accepting of strange customs after his education in the Far East. The witching families in the West saw Japan, a country with interesting customs and a strong magical tradition, as a beacon of hope and sanctuary from religious oppression. Commodore Perry’s help was needed to bring them there.
So in 1852, in ships coated with black pitch to counter the scrying magic of the Church, history saw the first exodus of American witches to Japan. Among the regular-looking blond, brunette and red-headed refugees were practitioners who pushed the limits of the arts arcane just a little harder than their fellow sister witches. As a result of the magical backlashes, their DNA were twisted in curious ways which turned their hitherto normal hair colors into shades of blue, purple and pink. Before each expedition to Japan, extra efforts were made to search for those women with unusual hair colors as they suffered a higher risk of exposure than their more normal-looking sisters who could still blend in with the non-magical population in 19th century America. That explains why, although pink-haired girls pop up from time to time in Japanese anime and manga, none exist in modern-day America.
Due to their love for anything strange and arcane, the native Japanese quickly accepted the witching refugees into their communities. In a few short years, many young American witches attended high schools devoted to magical education in Edo (later renamed as Tokyo) and within the first decade of the First Exodus in 1852, many American witches married their Japanese lovers and adopted Japanese names.
In modern-day Japan, although descendants of the ancient American witches no longer practice the arts arcane, they never managed to rid themselves of the curious genetic quirk caused by magical backlashes. So it isn’t uncommon to see natural blonds and pink-haired girls with Japanese ancestry appearing in Japanese anime and manga.
Teck Y. Loh
Author’s Note: This wacky made-up theory explains the existence of natural blond and pink-haired Japanese girls who pop up so often in anime and manga. Feel free to come up with your own theories!