Photo: JR East
lifestyle

JR East abolishes skirts, ribbons in women’s uniforms to eliminate gender difference

26 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

East Japan Railway Company is the primary rail operator in the most populous part of Japan, with dozens of lines in the Tokyo area alone as well as the Joetsu, Hokuriku, and Tohoku Shinkansen bullet trains. As such, the company, also known as JR East, is one of Japan’s most visible corporations, and this week it announced that its uniforms are going to look different come the spring.

JR’s last major uniform update seems to have been in 2003, and after roughly a decade and a half it’s decided that some changes are in order. For starters, the primary color scheme will move from gray to navy blue, a color that JR East says carries a sense of “traditional dignity,” and works well with the company’s aim to create a style that “Instills a feeling of trust and security in our customers, while being a symbol of pride and comfortable for our employees to wear.”

▼ JR East’s new uniforms

jr-1.png

The new designs do still have a bit of gray color with their sleeve accent lines (two lines denoting a stationmaster, and one lower-ranking employees). However, one thing that’s not being carried over from the previous designs is skirts, and they’ve been abolished from the women’s uniforms and replaced by pants.

▼ JR East women’s station staff uniforms introduced in 2003.

jr-2.png

Also getting the ax: the women’s uniform ribbons tied at the neck. The new standard uniforms will require women to wear neckties, just as the men’s uniforms traditionally have, with employees allowed to choose between one of three designs. Both men and women will also be able to choose between high-peaked caps (previously only part of the men’s uniform) and high-backed Tyrolean hats (previously only part of the women’s uniform). Special “Cool Biz” uniforms, to be worn during electricity conservation periods and allow for less intensive air conditioning, allow both men and women to go with no neckties and their collars unbuttoned.

▼ The pictures also seem to imply that the new uniforms will allow flats instead of heels for women, perhaps in response to the recent backlash against mandated pumps in the workplace in Japan.

jr-3.png

▼ Alternate stationmaster uniforms

jr-4.png

JE East says the new uniforms are part of its ongoing Reform 2027 regulation revision project, which was begun last year. In the uniforms’ press release, it says that the update is being carried out “on the occasion of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics,” and JR East president Yuji Fukasawa further explained that “We decided on these uniforms with the intent of eliminating gender differences,” though this has prompted some online commenters to ask why JR East doesn’t instead offer both men and women the choice of wearing skirts, like this Japanese middle school does.

The new uniforms will go into use on May 1.

Sources: JR East via Otakomu, JR East, Mainich Shimbun

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan Railways wants to build a team of robots to help travelers, catch criminals in its stations

-- Japanese public school to allow male students to wear skirts, chest ribbons as part of uniform

-- Tokyo’s busiest train stations have a new, free, English-compatible navigation app

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

26 Comments
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Can men wear the cute little mini cowboy hat?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

They just dressed the women in the mens' clothes. Previous uniform did look better on them. This will not, of course, change the natural gender differences between men and women, but will calm some feminists down...

7 ( +13 / -6 )

I've never understood why women (whether young or old) are forced to wear mini-skirts at some places like supermarkets, airlines, stations, etc, and yet men aren't forced to wear shorts. I like the fourth photo - they both wear the same hats. The usual hat for the women just seems awful and inferior to the men's.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why is it that feminists hate looking like women and always want to emulate men?

It is a form of anxiety disorder?

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Can men wear the cute little mini cowboy hat?

No, that would cause everyone to laugh uncontrollably :D

I couldn't have come up with anything better to describe that hat :D

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Equality means everyone having to wear a necktie. Can we have a campaign to get rid of neckties to complement the anti high heel movement?

3 ( +6 / -3 )

It's still very formal for everybody.

Why is it that feminists hate looking like women

We have no hate. Women always look like women, even when you don't see the legs.

They just dressed the women in the mens' clothes.

Another way to put it is to say they no longer make them wear skirts like Ivanohe, heels, stockings and ribbons like Louis XIV...

This will not, of course, change the natural gender differences between men and women,

Are they addressing the unnatural difference ? In Paris area, now, it's no longer women selling candies, men driving the train/bus, the policy is to hire both for all positions. And I've not seen female drivers choosing to wear skirts and ballet shoes to drive. Maybe next season. From what I get, they let staff wear just the vest or jacket over personal clothes.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

They just dressed the women in the mens' clothes. Previous uniform did look better on them.

I agree. I wonder whether the move to change the uniforms came from the female employees themselves, and if so whether they were consulted on the changes. I doubt it.

The white/cream uniforms look like they came from the Palace Guard in Ruritania. Imagine trying to keep them clean while working.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Those broad, round hats remind me of N. Korea's military. They look ridiculous.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Let women decide if they want to wear a skirt or not. Give them the option. I like women looking feminine - there's nothing wrong with that.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I like women looking feminine 

You mean no beards, mustaches and other things? I can go along with that. A man in a skirt still looks like a man.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Let women decide if they want to wear a skirt or not. Give them the option. I like women looking feminine - there's nothing wrong with that.

To be fair, it's not your (or my) opinion, but whether women want to look feminine or not that is important.

And, to be fair to men, men should have the choice as well.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Personally, I think they could choose better pictures and models..and uniforms. Sorry.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Issey Miyake it's not. Shimamura?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What's that Chinese proverb about a journey of however many miles beginning with a single step? Rings true here. Hooray!! Some positive news. In these desperate, horrible times (thanks Donny), you have to grasp at any slightly positive story with all your might.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What is with the North Korean style of inflated military brimmed hat? Looks silly. Rest of the uniforms are alright, although I rather wish women had the option to wear skirts. Some days, I prefer a skirt over pants...

and everyone should have the option to wear a tie or not. Ties beat those demeaning fluffy bows that airline gals and department store greeters have to suffer.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Wow. Plain stupid. Absolutely idiotic. Dress women like men. Right.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Sad to see this "gender neutral" nonsense now starting to infect Japan.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The funny thing is I've been shocked by how many, indeed a sizeable minority if not a majority, of the Japanese women I've met just seem to completely defy western feminism ideology and actually want to dress themselves up, get married, have kids and drop out. Consequently I actually think some female staff were against this change but wouldn't have said so being Japanese. It would have been better if it was optional like cabin crew uniforms where staff get a choice.

But, whatever, it's still just like moving deckchairs on the titanic when it comes to sexual equality in Japan. The country is 117th or something stupid now for a reason and uniforms aren't anywhere near the biggest problem

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Personally, I think they could choose better pictures and models..and uniforms. Sorry.

Maybe you can do it better..

Sorry..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Agree, the high-top service cap looks to be North Korean surplus.

Gender neutral?  Not!  The women's blouses, vests, and coats are still L to R button, whereas the men's are R to L.  How misogynistic and patronizing (tongue in cheek...)

Ditto Wobot, This pc-ness is barely, if at all, a drop in the bucket of gender inequality in Japan.  Much bigger issues being ignored.
1 ( +3 / -2 )

What a shame. So this is the end result of feminism: making women look less attractive. Who'd have thought that the goal of political correctness was to have ugly women ...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This uniform does not 'eliminate gender difference', all it does is make male clothing the default. If they really wanted to eliminate gender differences they would let all staff wear whatever uniform they like - men can wear skirts for example.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

ebisenOct. 13 07:56 am JST

They just dressed the women in the mens' clothes. Previous uniform did look better on them. This will not, of course, change the natural gender differences between men and women, but will calm some feminists down...

> Bofo Nargourski Oct. 13 09:06 am JST

Why is it that feminists hate looking like women and always want to emulate men?

It is a form of anxiety disorder?

LudditeOct. 14 03:29 pm JST

This uniform does not 'eliminate gender difference', all it does is make male clothing the default.

> oldman_13Oct. 14 12:25 am JST

Sad to see this "gender neutral" nonsense now starting to infect Japan.

Pants aren't men's clothing and neither are flat shoes.

Skirts aren't practical for work where you may have to deal with emergency situations and disasters. Can you imagine bending down to help a fallen passenger in a skirt? Can you imagine running in heeled shoes? Can you imagine dealing with an evacuation situation in a skirt?

Women shouldn't be given uniforms that are uncomfortable and impractical while men are given uniforms that are easy to wear and allow freedom of movement.

Bill AdamsOct. 14 07:11 am JST

What a shame. So this is the end result of feminism: making women look less attractive. Who'd have thought that the goal of political correctness was to have ugly women ...

Their job isn't to be aesthetically pleasing to men. Women don't exist just for you to look at.

To complain about uniform changes just because they allow women to work side by side with men as equals is indicative of a deep misogyny.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But there is one detail that respects gender difference: men's jackets have buttons on the right side, women's have buttons on the left.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Political correctness creeping into Japan... sad.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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