OWARIASAHI, Aichi Prefecture--In his bid to help sick children, Kojiro Tomita sweltered under his flowing locks in summer, was mistaken for a girl and endured constant questions about his hip-length hair from fellow pupils.

But his effort is nearing an end. The 6-year-old boy recently had his first haircut in years and will donate the 40-centimeter-long chopped strands to an organization that produces wigs for children who have lost hair due to cancer or other diseases.

Kojiro, who lives in Owariasahi, got his hair cut ahead of his attendance at elementary school this month. It also came a few days before Keito Kawahara, 18, who was once listed in Guinness World Records for “longest hair on a teenager,” cut her hair for the same purpose.

“I am happy to let my son know that even boys can donate their hair,” said Kojiro’s mother, Ayako Tomita, 41.

Ayako learned about hair-donation activities three years ago through a TV program.

When she asked her son if he wanted to donate his own, he said, “Yes.”

Ayako recalled that she was unsure if Kojiro was really serious about the endeavor and felt that her son could stop the project at any time.

Six months after he began growing his hair, Kojiro whined about being uncomfortable in the summer heat.

“I want to have a haircut,” he said.

But that was the only time he complained.

Strangers thought Kojiro was a girl, and his peers at nursery school kept asking why he was growing his hair so long.

Although it took longer to dry and often got tangled, Kojiro came to like his long hair so much that he was sorry to have to part with it.

While Kojiro’s hair was growing, Ayako explained the hair-donation plan to other parents.

“I think my campaign to get parents’ understanding has worked,” she said.

Hair-donation activities are believed to have originated in the United States.

In Japan, a group of hairdressers in Osaka set up a nonprofit organization called Japan Hair Donation & Charity in 2009 to solicit hair donations for wigs.

Many hair salons across the country are collaborating with the NPO.

Wigs for children have been in short supply.

Wigs are made by bending in half hair measuring at least 31 centimeters long and tying each strand on a mesh net. Hairs from 20 to 30 people are needed to make a single wig.

A wig using Kojiro’s hair will be offered to a child under 18 for free when it is completed.

Kojiro held a ceremony for his haircut at a salon in Nagoya’s Showa Ward on March 29. Kojiro clipped a few strands by himself, and let a hairdresser take care of the rest.

“I was nervous before the haircut, but I am happy to donate it,” he said after the haircut. “I do not feel like myself. I want to grow my hair again.”

Kotaro plans to deliver his hair directly to the Osaka-based group during his summer vacation. He also plans to watch his donated hair being used in the wig-making process.