If you see a buzz cut in Japan, it’s almost certainly means someone on a baseball team. I’d always assumed it was to inculcate a monk-like spirit of dedication to the cause, especially given its name in Japanese – “bouzu” or “monk cut”. This weekend’s Wall Street Journal takes in one step further:
“High-school players often sport buzz-cut hairstyles to minimize individuality”
Seems like that is going a bit far to me, but given the militaristic discipline (and sometimes bullying) of such teams, I suppose it is possible.
This question possibly also answers another one – why other Japanese don’t often go for a quick shearing all over (my own very British haircut choice).