OTA, Gunma Prefecture--A teenager here will have his long locks shorn as a gesture for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment.

Takemi Sumiya, 17, will have his hair, measuring more than 40 centimeters, cut for the first time in two years, making him the first male student to contribute to a girls’ hair donation club at the Gunma Kokusai Academy (GKA).

The private school comprises elementary, junior high and senior high schools.

Sumiya, a second-year high school student at the GKA, learned about the club's activities in July 2017 when members were calling for hair donations at the elementary school's summer festival.

As they said they welcome male donors, Sumiya thought, “It would be interesting if a male student donated hair.” He decided to give his own to “offer encouragement for children fighting diseases.”

After returning home, Sumiya told his family about his resolve to let his hair grow out. His father said it would be nice, but his mother was somewhat concerned, saying “Don't kid around.” However, she eventually agreed that he could let his hair grow long.

The hair donation club was established by Yuria Iyano, a 16-year-old second-year high school student, and her elder sister, Maria, 18, who is now a university student, in spring 2017.

The club, which has about 30 female members, has received hair from more than 500 individuals and sent wigs to five young cancer patients to date. It is also creating wigs for an additional five patients.

At first, Sumiya did not think too much about his decision, but a turning point came in March 2018 when he saw at the GKA a documentary created by students showing their hair donation activities.

In a scene from the movie, a girl is seen wearing a wig presented to her and is surprised at her reflection in the mirror, saying, “I look like an ordinary girl!” Sumiya was taken aback by how much the hair meant to the girl.

Sumiya said that although he would feel a sense of loss when his beloved hair is chopped off, he would “never feel regret, because it will bring smiles to children.”

He plans to hold a ceremony to cut his hair with help from Yuria and others at the school festival in June.

The GKA has no restrictions on the length of hair for male students.

“Male students may not be allowed to have their hair so long at other schools with stricter rules,” Sumiya said. “I hope my actions will inspire more men to grow their hair out and follow suit.”