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3 Japanese schools to introduce genderless swimsuits with unisex two-piece design

70 Comments
By grape Japan

Three Japanese schools plan to introduce new genderless swimsuits with unisex two-piece designs during the current academic year (April 2022 to March 2023), with 10 schools currently considering implementing them in the subsequent year.

The swimsuits are made by Footmark, Co Ltd, a leading provider of swimming caps and school swimwear for school children in Japan.

The long-sleeved top reduces exposure to ultraviolet rays when swimming outside. The bottoms are half-pants that minimize the contours of the body. According to the company's press release, this unisex design is intended to allow students to participate in their swimming lessons without them (or others) paying attention to gender.

Background

Amidst a growing understanding of and interest in LGBTQ* issues in Japan, some schools have been adopting new initiatives such as allowing students to freely choose their school uniforms.

However, although there have been changes in the shapes of swimsuits for men and women in the past fifty years, Footmark explains, "gender-specific designs have persisted, and many of these swimsuits highlight the differences between genders." Other companies have also sold swimsuits that hide the contours of the body, but there have been no unisex two-piece swimsuits specifically designed for schools.

As you can see below, Footmark's school swimsuits, following the general trend in Japan, went from one-piece swimsuits for girls and swimming briefs for boys in the 70s to swimming legsuits for girls and medium-length shorts for boys in the 2000s. Then in 2004, they introduced a two-piece swimsuit for girls and long swimming trunks for boys. In 2010, they introduced their "Shine Guard" tops to protect students from ultraviolet rays.

GenderlessSukumizu_3.jpg

Swimsuit design

GenderlessSukumizu_2.jpg

Footmark paid particular attention to the material and fine-tuned the pattern to create a looser silhouette in "areas that show physical differences between men and women (chest, waist, hips, etc.)" The design was created "so that differences in body contours are less noticeable."

Features include:

(1) Guarded zipper pulls.

(2) Pockets for pads (sold separately) with black lining, making them hard to notice

(3) Holes in pants to prevent air pockets forming underwater

(4) Inner pants for comfort

(5) Comfortable waistband

(6) Main front part is fully lined in black

(7) Woven fabric in pants doesn't cling to the body

The swimsuits range in price from 6,380 yen to 6,820 yen (SRP, including tax), and come in 10 sizes from 120 cm to 4L.

You can view Footmark's entire school wear catalog on their website here.

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© grape Japan

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

70 Comments
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In the end, it should be a choice. Especially for some kids who can't cope up with the direct radiation of the sun, this sort of swimsuit is a welcome development!

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

Oh no, humans are born gendered, as they have been for thousands of years...

First world problems

21 ( +38 / -17 )

It's never too late for something to return such as these 1910 era 'swimsuits' heralding the return also of a similar political mentality... next up "The War to (literally) End All Wars"...

2 ( +14 / -12 )

this unisex design is intended to allow students to participate in their swimming lessons without them (or others) paying attention to gender.

yes…….that has been the most troubling problem for centuries now………

what are they doing? Kids don’t care about what gender other kids are.

they just want to play and have fun!

why not just take it back to the 1800s already and make them wear those full bodied striped onesies while they’re at it?

how about doing things that are more important?

Like eliminating the stupid center test, arranging core classes according to skill level as opposed to home room and the whole cram school culture.

Stop throwing “pc” issues on the kids. Let them experience things organically.

1 ( +16 / -15 )

They look like what people used to wear in the Victorian days. I'll just stick to my swimming trunks. And notice the price.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Just let people wear what ever.

I guess this is better than nothing.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Seems a nice thing and will also help by replacing the unfortunately overly sexualized typical female suits. It may even help with students dealing with body image issues. Hopefully other schools will follow.

-3 ( +17 / -20 )

Wake me when they design a swim suit that hides man boobs.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

sure this "biggest problem" Japan have to solve,errrr give me a break mates...too much of redBULL not good for me...

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I think this is great! When I was a shy chubby JHS, you couldn't have paid me enough money to get in a swimsuit. It's nice that kids these days have more options available to them. Although, I wish it was a more cheerful color, but it's a good start.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Woke???? It's the last thing that crossed my mind when I saw the suits.

Look similar to the swimsuits my daughters wore at school here.

Because of their fair skin they needed to cover up under a scorching sun for "swimming" lessons. They were granted "special " permission on "medical" grounds.

As no suitable UV cut, easy wear, easy care, comfortable suits were available in Japan in the early 21stC, I ordered them from Australia where such swim wear had been available for decades. We told our girls to tell their friends the suits were "surf wear - rash guards" and they became kinda cool. And on that point, funny how you'd never see "traditional" swim-wear being worn by surfers. They must be woke - LOL.

In fact we started a slow move which now sees my kids old primary school and many others adopting similar styles.

And re the statement "kids don't care about gender they just want to have fun" is so off the mark.

Many kids hate "swimming" lessons. They are shy about their appearance and abilities - boys & girls. Sure 3-6 year olds may not care but if you're involved with mid-primary kids to high school you'd know that the idea of putting on brief swim wear in front of classmates can be extremely stressful.

And I'm not talking about family/friends picnics at the beach here. Be real.

If you've got kids in school you should be supporting this trend.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

A great idea, especially for kids who are feeling self-conscious about their bodies but i just can't get over that ludicrous price tag.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Who wants to swim with long sleeves? Being someone who sunburns easily, I can see why some might want to, but even I want some freedom of movement. Make the sleeves removable and I can go along with this. Good on them for making them genderless, though.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Who wants to swim with long sleeves? Being someone who sunburns easily, I can see why some might want to,

I wear something with long sleeves when I go swimming. Having lost a friend to skin cancer/melanoma I have become much more careful about sun exposure

5 ( +11 / -6 )

I can tell the difference between boys and girls. I don't need swimsuits to distinguish between them. As long as they have a choice, why not use the same design for both genders. Why do we need two types of suits for kids.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Fantastic!

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

This new swimsuit does not seem good at all to perform in a pool.

The long-sleeved top reduces exposure to ultraviolet rays when swimming outside. The bottoms are half-pants that minimize the contours of the body. According to the company's press release, this unisex design is intended to allow students to participate in their swimming lessons without them (or others) paying attention to gender.

The best source of vitamin D is UV exposure from the sun. Many lack this vitamin, specially in winter, due to over-protection from the sun. Don't complain after if the kids need more vitamin D.

Kids will still be paying attention to gender as it is natural. Human are born with genders. At at a certain age, swimsuit or not, boys and girls are looking at the opposite sex for obvious reasons.

By the way, when men swimming athletes wore a full body swimsuit a few years back to reduce the water resistance, all world records were broken, and the full body swimsuit was prohibited.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

They should print him/her on them just in case

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Will these schools consult with the student's parents? Is this what the majority of parents and students want?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I was a chubby kid and absolutely hated swimming at school because of the PERVERTED rule that boys had to wear speedos or small trunks and that's it. Swimming has always been one of my favourite things to do, but sick pedo rules made me hate it. This choice could have made my school life a lot easier, and probably would have given me a better attitude towards exercise and body image that I didn't develop until much later.

Idiots feel the need to mock and control everything. People deserve the choice to be comfortable.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Aside from gender, these don't look very comfortable to swim in.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Who wants to swim with long sleeves? 

Surfers have been wearing long sleeve rash guards for decades. Before that they wore T-shirts.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

I'm no Speedo fan but who's going to swim in a jacket? WTH?

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Finally! Some common sense in Japanese school uniforms. Hopefully, this will influence other schools to make changes to their uniforms and not just swimming wear.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

I think its a great idea.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

Baggy swimwear can make swimming much harder. I've had to tread water in my WSI classes wearing street clothes for hours while we watched safety films. In winter, that would be heavy jeans and a sweat shirt, but in the summer it was baggy t-shirts and board shorts. BTW, wearing shoes makes swimming REALLY hard.

Let the kids decide what works for them. It isn't like those competition swim suits worn in high-level swimming competitions are sexy (or comfortable) at all.

But I will admit, the vendor certainly did remove the differences between boys and girls in this swimwear. If that was the goal, mission accomplished. Nobody would buy these, if they had any other choice.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

WobotToday  09:15 am JST

Oh no, humans are born gendered, as they have been for thousands of years...

First world problems

I guess you miss the point. It’s not just about “gender LGBTQ “ it’s also about girls whose bodies are changing, and don’t want boys/me. staring at them or making comments about their bodies or percy teachers staring at their bodies either. It can also reduce their embarrassment about their bodies as they grow.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Pretty soon they’ll force the kids to cover their faces in public too… oh wait.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

The suits look fine and its good for kids to swim. Important too in case of accidents.

According to Japanese reports, the price is around 6500 yen, which is a little expensive for boys, but probably par for the course for girls if you factor in the rash guard. Anyone with sensitive skin will still have to wear sunscreen, and I hope schools recognize that because some ban it as "makeup".

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I mean it’s a better overall swimsuit and modern design, let it rock I say.

though I’m sure there will be deniers for “reasons” -shudder-

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

The swimsuits range in price from 6,380 yen to 6,820 yen (SRP, including tax), and come in 10 sizes from 120 cm to 4L

Outrageous pricing. Can get a good quality long sleeve UV swim shirt and shorts for around 2000yen at some online shops

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I'm glad I'm not a kid in this day and age.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Briliant decision

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

More uniforms, more cost to parents.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

As no suitable UV cut, easy wear, easy care, comfortable suits were available in Japan in the early 21stC, I ordered them from Australia where such swim wear had been available for decades.

been making my kids and myself wear those UV suits while at the beach pool etc.

save them from painful sunburn

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My whole family wears something similar. No more sunburns for the past 5 years.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The swimsuits range in price from 6,380 yen to 6,820 yen (SRP, including tax), and come in 10 sizes from 120 cm to 4L.

Just another money-grabbing scheme. If they really cared they'd allow people to use their own swimsuits.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Good, less waste as there's only one type of assembly line.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

overly sexualized typical female suits

Only if you have a dirty mind.

I must say I do like these swimsuits. I trust that they will be supplied together with snorkel, mask, and flippers.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Fair enough, but I think the long sleeves are overkill.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Anybody hear of the sun and vitamin D-3, the fear of the sun is so overdone, but the suntan lotion company's love it.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Coming up next: unisex uniforms and hairstyles at schools.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Don't complain after if the kids need more vitamin D.

Anybody hear of the sun and vitamin D-3,

If only someone invented a way to get vitamin D for cheap without sun exposure... Then you could get rid of the risk of cancer without getting risk of avitaminosis.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I'm neither a swimmer nor fashionista but those swim suits do look exceedingly rubbish!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Dave.....

the fear of the sun is so overdone, but the suntan lotion company's love it.

I guess you haven't had 4 skin cancers removed?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

This is grotesque.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

They’ll all have to wear swim caps too.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

f only someone invented a way to get vitamin D for cheap without sun exposure... Then you could get rid of the risk of cancer without getting risk of avitaminosis.

You have no expertise to comment on that so refrain to do so. The risk of cancer is not systematic and exposure to sunlight is more beneficial than supplementing without any risk. Provided it is done reasonably.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Having swum and sailed dinghy’s over many years, I have to say these do not look practical, I wore a full body wetsuit as you are subject to exposure even on cloudy days and you fall in so need to be able to swim after your boat! These look way too loose to be suitable for actually swimming in though probably look good going down the cat walk to sell them. Shorts for any real swimming are wholly impractical, they massively increase the drag and flap and wrap around your legs in the water and are very uncomfortable. Ok for splashing about with your mates but not swimming.

My generation girls wore a one piece swim suit, not sexy nor revealing but functional, unlike this design.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Boring...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They are actually kind of cool.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Genderless swim suits are also covering the fact that there are actually 2 genders.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

As someone living in the country with the highest skin cancer rates in the world (Australia), I have to say these swimsuits make a lot of sense. The top section is basically a Japanese version of the high sun protection rash vests that most Australian kids now wear, and anything that reduces skin damage is welcome, regardless of the arguments about de-sexualisation.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@virusrex

Seems a nice thing and will also help by replacing the unfortunately overly sexualized typical female suits. It may even help with students dealing with body image issues.

It’ll be good for fat kids too.

TT

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There’s a lot of disgruntled people that young girls will be able to cover more of their skin if they choose. Bit creepy of some of you.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

They don't realize that the male or female organs might be uncomfortable for some people to wear these ?

The whole gender thing has gone totally whacko doodle.

At least they didn't make them multi colored stripes of 6 colors and try to say they're rainbow colored.

FYI a rainbow has 7 colors.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Mr Kipling, Look more close at the statistics please, and by the way my brother had it deep in his back.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I swim in something quite similar and have zero issues with the sleeves. For girls, in particular, this is a very awkward age with changes to the body and unwanted attention from boys and men, so if this helps in that respect, great. At the very least it offers sun protection.

If you're worried about not getting enough vitamin d try incorporating more egg yolks, salmon, orange juice, cheese and other such foods into your diet. The sun is a great way to get vitamin d but it's easy to oversdo it, especially in the water, with the reflective factor exasperating potential damage.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What shame is there in being a boy or a girl? Celebrate the genders by having gender appropriate swimwear.

Pretending the two genders do not exist by trying to disguise objective reality will not work. Eventually, the truth cannot be hid. Children see the self-evident truth and all of the efforts at grooming will fail, but not before damage is done to this generation of kids,

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

How are the swimsuits depicted pretending genders don't exist? Do genders only exist if they are clad in whatever clothing you deem "appropriate"? Try to see past whatever bias you have and imagine young girls, in particular, not having to tug at their swimsuit bottoms, not feeling self-conscious about so much of their body being exposed in a traditional swimsuit and being able to swim more comfortably if they are menstruating, not to mention avoiding damaging sun exposure. You're so focused on the points in the article with regards to gender that you can't or won't see the benefit to these swimsuits.

Fashions change and what's deemed gender appropriate changes and varies from culture to culture. In the late 1800s women swam in long dresses with multiple layers and virtually nothing exposed but their faces, hands and feet and even their faces were often covered with a veil to avoid sun damage. Were they any less female in your mind? In Bali, men wear sarongs, which to Western eyes, look like skirts. In the Sahara, men wear daraa or boubou, a long and loose gown.  In the Wodaabe tribe of Niger, men wear makeup.

You can either accept these differences and changes or be stuck in your anger. Either way, things are going to move on with or without you.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Excellent, I love it..

Another hard blow to conservative circus..

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Footmark paid particular attention to the material and fine-tuned the pattern to create a looser silhouette in "areas that show physical differences between men and women (chest, waist, hips, etc.)" The design was created "so that differences in body contours are less noticeable."

I would like to see what the physical differences actually are, when it comes to measurements between the two genders.

If only someone invented a way to get vitamin D for cheap without sun exposure... Then you could get rid of the risk of cancer without getting risk of avitaminosis.

Not surprisingly, if you are not in the medical field, one would not have the knowledge that there is a food product that contains vitamin D at an inexpensive cost.

Dairy.

https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/vitamin-d-milk-and-milk-alternatives

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

You have no expertise to comment on that so refrain to do so.

You have no idea what expertise anybody has, so you have no right to demand people to refrain from commenting, what you can do is not read opinions you don't like and you can't disprove.

 The risk of cancer is not systematic and exposure to sunlight is more beneficial than supplementing without any risk. Provided it is done reasonably.

Having a more covered swimsuit is precisely doing things reasonably. And the risk of cancer is dose dependent and without a minimum level that can be considered completely safe.

Not surprisingly, if you are not in the medical field, one would not have the knowledge that there is a food product that contains vitamin D at an inexpensive cost.

Wow, you think so? imagine that, something so obvious that people would be tempted to say the opposite in sarcasm in order to call to attention how this terribly obvious solution was being ignored.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Oh dear!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@toolonggone

In Bali, men wear sarongs, which to Western eyes, look like skirts. In the Sahara, men wear daraa or boubou, a long and loose gown. In the Wodaabe tribe of Niger, men wear makeup.

I get it! So the entire developed world must do the opposite of what it’s happily been doing for thousands of years based on a handful of spurious ‘gender’-related cultural aberrations and anomalies drawn from unrelated distant backwards climes?

I’m convinced! I’m trading in my beard trimmer and trousers for a mini-skirt and makeup and pantyhose today!

TT

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Beard trimmer

Sounds a bit hipster/metrosexual. Do you have a man bun? ;)

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

One thing I want to say is if I were Japanese government I would ban use of terms like genderless and fine businesses that uses or makes business using that terms.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Thomas TwattJune 11  12:42 pm JST

@toolonggone

In Bali, men wear sarongs, which to Western eyes, look like skirts. In the Sahara, men wear daraa or boubou, a long and loose gown. In the Wodaabe tribe of Niger, men wear makeup.

I get it! So the entire developed world must do the opposite of what it’s happily been doing for thousands of years based on a handful of spurious ‘gender’-related cultural aberrations and anomalies drawn from unrelated distant backwards climes?

I’m convinced! I’m trading in my beard trimmer and trousers for a mini-skirt and makeup and pantyhose today!

I get it! You are mad that young girls will be covering up more when at the pool. I'm convinced that lots and lots of men are creepy and should really mind their own business when it comes to what other people wear.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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