It’s getting chilly in Japan, and so common sense says that wearing warmer clothing is the way to go. Of course, if your school requires you to wear a uniform, you’re kind of stuck as to what the primary components of your outfit are going to be, but Japanese mother and Twitter user @hanacoppy figured she could at least protect her daughter (of undisclosed age) from the cold slightly better by letting her wear a pair of tights underneath her uniform’s skirt when she went to school.
The school, however, didn’t agree with this unauthorized addition.
“My daughter said he legs were cold, so I let her wear a pair of tights under her skirt. But when she got to school, they told her ‘Tights aren’t allowed, because if your legs are warm, you won’t be able to concentrate.’
Can’t help but think they’re the kind of perverts who get off on seeing young girls’ bare legs.”
One of the ostensible reasons for schools requiring uniforms is that they’re supposed to help students concentrate. Without having to spare mental energy deciding what to wear or comparing their clothes to those of their classmates, the hope is that their young minds will be able to focus entirely on the vital educational content their teachers and textbooks are presenting.
However, @hanacoppy argues that the school’s policy on tights is completely backward in terms of helping kids learn. “In my entire life, I can’t recall ever being able to concentrate while I was thinking ‘My legs sure are cold,’” the frustrated mom said. “Haven’t the administrators ever heard of zukan sokunetsu?” she went on, referring to commonly held Japanese belief that translates literally as “cold head, warm legs” and holds that it’s the healthiest combination to keep your body in.
Other Twitter users were quick to poke a few more holes in the school’s logic.
“Okay, so then the boys should have to wear skirts too, right? And of course the teachers need to concentrate while they’re teaching, so they should all have to wear skirts also.”
“And naturally everyone who works in the school’s administrative office wears shorts to work, right?”
“I’m not imagining a private company where all the salarymen punch in wearing hot pants, and I can’t stop laughing.”
“I guess when your kid catches a cold, you can send her doctor’s bill to the school, plus an invoice for your lost wages from when you took a day off to take care of her. Oh, and they should also give you a written promise that any days your daughter misses won’t be counted against her perfect attendance record.”
That last comment is definitely meant to be tongue in cheek, but the difficulty in rectifying those problems after the fact definitely brings to mind the phrase “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” However, in Japanese there’s also a saying, Baka ni tsukeru kusuri ha nai (There’s no medicine that cures stupidity,) and that seems to be the case at the institute of learning @hanacoppy’s daughter attends.
Source: Twitter/@hanacoppy via Jin
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Western dudes who are experts about how Japanese HS girls feel about their uniforms. Priceless.
Just give them the option of wearing pants. What'd be nice/impossible to fathom here would be if all the girls showed up the next day wearing tights. Then let's see what the dinosaur brigade thinks about that.
culture lover, you went to private schools. Your parents opted to send you there and thus abide by their rules. In Japan OTOH virtually all public JHS/HSs require uniforms, which include skirts for girls. Meaning the government is essentially forcing young women to dress like buttercups.
This isn't just limited to girls only. There's a public school in Nishi oi called Ito Gakuen, ALL boys, 1st to 5th grade have to wear shorts year round. Doesn't matter if there's snow or your child is sick, there's no exceptions.
make teachers wear the same uniforms and see how quick they change their tune
I always have found that rules do not exist in Japan until they are applied.
In this case they became applied - why? Probably due to noticeable contrast against a behavioral norm. Parent didn't know and having different common sense did not help. Child probably realised, seeing girls around her but at first it was not a big issue.
Rule was applied when girl's appearance out of the norm was noticed and the institution felt threatened. Enforcement of rule predictably, say from home-room teacher to student, but also the terse message to parent.
Two solutions are: work through system, lobbying PTA or similar, and so on; change schools
Not wearing tights (ie. following rule) is the alternative. BUT, student (and parent) are already marked by this event, so following the norm now is not completely possible.
General solution in the Japanese zone: find out the rules that do not exist but which are likely to be applied.
This may seem glib, and it is not always possible with so many presumptions of what is appropriate never even reaching the surface.
Alternatively, a cynical or satirical response like 'the rule is for maintaining the status quo of Japan being rorikomu paradaisu' does not help, but ironically does point to the kind of unreasonable belief such as
They should just name and shame the school! I see plenty of girls wearing tights in the winter where apparently the school allows it and somehow I doubt that their academic performance is any worse, what nonsense.
Can she not just remove them when she gets to school?
Anyway, the reason behind the rule sounds as daft as the reason given why a public swimming pool made a completely bald friend of mine wear a swimming hat when he was visiting.
Sounds like there was about 6 seconds worth of thought that went into that rebuff.
And these people are educators.
Let that sink in for a moment, more than six seconds anyway...
Utter madness, old people grumpy old people with too much time to make rules that are completely bizarre. I shave my head but am required to wear a swim cap why? Because it's the rule, it's cold wear stockings No, it's the rule. How about heating the school in winter then? Or perhaps AC in summer, I actually thought schools were prisons when I first got here, then I discovered there is not much of a difference.
JC and Osaka-
Why don't they mention the name of the school?
Kiwi in Okinawa
Apt timing, we were just disucssing how silly the rule for my son's school was that they have to wear shorts only, just this morning. As the weather had turned quite chilly so wanted to avoid the cold (as any sane person would) so both me and my wife suggested he wears his soccer socks, pulled up very high.
Stupid rule by passed I say.
I'd like to see if they want to cover the medical costs if they ban the long socks, as son eaisly gets ear infections and fevers due to those, due to a much narrower nasal passage so a simple runny nose for a normal nose, can easily block and trigger an ear infection for my son. So we aren't just trying to avoid a stupid rule, we obviously don't want the colds to come.
Parents, especially mothers, need to band together and stop any nonsense coming out of schools. Japanese men can't handle women who band together.
If concentration in school is the issue, then why aren't the male students forced to wear shorts?
Sometimes (often) adults make up an answer when they want someone to follow their rule, but they don't actually know why there is a rule. That's what this answer sounds like - a flippant answer to get a kid to shut up.
Haha, I've never heard this one, but I'll definitely be using it!
The school did not tell her this nonsense, a person at the school told her. A good journalist would have found that person and asked them to comment. Their comments (or failure to do so) should be reported along with their name and rank.
Why on earth can't they let the girls wear trousers if they want to?
Girls can't concentrate on their schoolwork if their legs are warm? That is a piece of baka that will keep me smiling for a long time.
I cannot imagine this rule being existing in Tohoku or Hokkaido.
Chinese have the right idea: both genders wear trousers from the time they're old enough to walk.
yet another great example of warped Japanese logic... ..and as the article mentioned
Exactly, a bunch of oyaji perverts have set the rule of making sure young girls wear short skirts just so these old doods have the benefit of ogling them..
another example of nonsense and proof never the twain shall meet
blue in green
When I first came to this country, boys wore tiny shorts in winter,
there were no bike helmets, Halloween was unheard of,
and girls wore short skirts hiked up even higher, with just knee socks...
Everything changes with time, and this "no tights rule" seems due for a phase-out...
A lot of Japanese public schools do not have proper heating, either.
If I am cold or hungry, my concentration goes towards fixing that, not learning...
" if your legs are warm, you won’t be able to concentrate."
"There's a public school in Nishi oi called Ito Gakuen, ALL boys, 1st to 5th grade have to wear shorts year round"
I still see a lot of boys going to and from school wearing shorts all winter. I think most of them are fine with it, but there's got to be some who wish they could wear long pants, but can't. Jeez...
Perhaps its time for a rap on the concept of authority.
I'm all for authority, and people with wisdom and experience should be respected. Many things cannot be started, never mind completed without leadership.
In Japan, the person at the top rarely has wisdom or judgement skills based on experience. They are promoted because their time has come and Japan is a vertically stratified society where some people have to be sempai or bucho. As authority however, they have the right to set the rules. Discipline and leadership are all in themselves fine, but what we have here is discipline in the form of rules set without wisdom or judgement. Rules set simply because some people wish to reinforce their position as the rule setters.
lol its definitely a new one.
Just let them wear tights if they want. Obviously nothing too over the top as to distract other classmates, but I'm sure people can be sensible about it....can't they?
Did not know that being cold made one better able to concentrate. Those in the Arctic must spend all their time thinking [ probable about living in the tropics ]
So I’m guessing they don’t concentrate in summer at all?
I agree with most posters here, why not simply give them the option.
Even if I bought the lame excuse about skirts aiding concentration (only an expert pervert would come up with that 'logic'), how about asking the girls "could you concentrate better if you wore tights?" Assuming all people concentrate better not wearing certain clothes is simple-minded, and assuming clothes only affect girls' concentration is sexist.
Wear a longer dress perhaps?
Those school girls look as though they would be quite cold in midwinter ---why don't they wear longer skirts under which they would be able to easily wear traditional Makka na Momohiki and so keep their nether regions comfortably warm.
There is no connection between concentration in class and school uniforms. Are these people stupid or something?
The school direction must have a fetish of some sorts (-.-)
Because "cold makes girl legs sexy lighter-skin" not applicable to boys. /s
Clearly, we are all experts on girl clothing here.
Where I attended school, no shorts were allowed. Skirts had to cover the knees. Boys were required to wear pants, even in 32+ deg weather and no A/C. Girls could wear pants, provided they weren't too tight.
It was common for students to be pulled from class and parents called to correct wardrobe issues early in the year.
Perhaps bringing a fleece "throw" to wrap around legs during class would be acceptable if the administration cannot allow pants or tights?
But it's the rules. It was already made, Not After.
Day by day modern Japanese are demaning their rights.
Once happy village type society is breaking into pieces by human rights.
This school knows that with this news it ridicules both the school and the whole nation
Sexy, sexy legs! Lol
Alaska-jin here. I'd just like to chime in on some of the rhetoric going on with some actual information on what's going on. The public schools in Japan have been sold on the idea of having well ventilated air in school, whether hot or cold. The standing reason is twofold; dry stagnant air causes your health to suffer (40-60% humidity is the sweet spot) and air conditioning is viewed as an unnecessary expense.
I find the cold in Japan actually worse than Alaska (funny, I know) simply because there is no way to get out of it ( adding to the popularity of o-furo). Although the temperature is warmer than Alaska, that temperature is everywhere; the house, the stations, the schools, the trains (that insist on leaving the doors open at stops), the public restrooms- plus there is no heated water or towels in most of these places (leaving you cold and wet).
As an Alaskan, I know that cold weather can make you sick by running down your immune system. It's a similar drain as having dry or overly humid air (dry air causing you to dehydrate and humid air causing you to become susceptible to viruses, molds and bacteria). I believe it to be a catch 22. I've noticed no more sickness in Japanese schools as there are back in the States. Either you are cold, the viruses are diminished and your health runs down; or you are warm with an enclosed air supply and the close proximity of 30+ body-carried germs gets you. The crux of the matter is the level of comfort. Japanese public schools are not willing to pay for that comfort (unless a child dies, then you should see 'em run that e-a-kon). I find it quite interesting that, although public schooling is not-for-profit, the school is definitely run so.
Additionally, you have the Japanese ' a nail up gets hammered down' mentality. I've been told not to eat my orange peel as the children mimic me (because gaikokkujin are cool) although I've done that all my life. I have to drink cold milk even though I hate straight milk and know that drinking cold liquid in low temperatures is downright foolish.
I've found that basically schools need to be shamed into changing (as that child dying of heat stroke in Aichi prefecture last year caused).
False information. Japanese schools allow gym pants so she could have worn them. Sweat pants. Next they make it sound like schools have no heating . Another garbage answer. All these westerners answering to things they don’t know anything about. Students stay in one room and teachers move to each class. Only gym class is when they do leave class.
This story is about one particular school in Japan. Relating this to Japan at large is out of place. It is quite easy to find stories about student/parent opposition to school regulations in other countries. Just use Google.
Some posters seem to think that school uniforms and picky regulations are a Japanese peculiarity. This is not the case. School uniforms are almost universal in Britain and some Commonwealth countries. Parochial (church connected) schools generally have very strict regulations.
Some posters ridiculed a comment about girls hitching up their skirts. I live near a private high school. On my walk to the nearest tram stop I regularly see girls doing this. Sometimes one will ask the girl behind her, "Is my butt showing?"
My American public high school had all sorts of picky regulations about dress and everything else. Minor infractions would get you "nights" - after school detention. Dress code infractions would get you sent home or even suspended.
My high school in the Chicago area was run like a prison. If those posting here did not have the experience, they should count themselves lucky. Further, because I have two teenagers in generic Tokyo public schools, I know that what is described in this article is the policy of one particular school, not all Japanese schools.
So wear nude color stockings... We were never allowed to wear tights or pants under our skirts either and I went to Catholic schools in the States. It sucks but you'll survive. I'm sick of coming across articles, not just here, but in the States too, about teenage girls bitching about school uniforms. You will always have some sort of dress code and rules to follow so suck it up buttercup.
High school girls are the biggest fans of their skirts. The girls with the best looking legs roll them up even during the winter. They enjoy the attention they get from high school boys and the envious comments from other girls.
Many girls already wear their sports pants under their skirts during winter. Since they are wearing something that is already part of the school uniform wear it is accepted. This mother should know that trying to introduce a new item of clothing will cause problems.