Chest hair and Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence

Why do all of the prisoners in the David Bowie film Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence appear to have no chest hair?

(If you don’t believe me, see https://youtu.be/AALrrgEOlvU.)

For such a large group of men in a World War II POW camp to have none at all strikes me as odd. What might the director have been thinking?

Interesting Post/Username combo.

A lot of them POW’s were pretty young I’m guessing.

If they’re old enough to be POWs, they’re old enough to have chest hair . . . if they’ll ever have it.

And Klinger was in a different war.

The P.O.W. camp parts of the movie were filmed on the island of Rarotonga, the most populous of the Cook Islands (with a population of 10,572 in 2011). The Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand and it seems the P.O.W. extras were local residents from the island. One man who played an extra in the movie reminisces about it in this article. That doesn’t help much with the O.P.'s question, though.

Also, the guy playing the Japanese officer in the clip, whom David Bowie kisses, is the noted Japanese musician/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, who also composed the movie’s music.

And highly recommended, too. The main theme takes me to a special place every time I hear it.

I just assume it’s the same reason it usually happens: because they thought it looked better. People who show their chests tend mostly to shave their chest hair.

(By they, I mean the filmmakers, in case that isn’t clear.)