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Armani uniform at public elementary school spurs parents' complaints


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The school has told the board, "From the intention to make a uniform as a 'school of Ginza,' we went around department stores and Armani accepted designing it as a result."

The school has told the board, "From the intention to make a uniform as a 'school of Ginza,' we went around department stores and Armani gave us the heaviest brown bag as a result."


5 ( +8 / -3 )

This is a public elementary school? Most elementary schools do not wear a uniform at all. So, where’s Abe with his ‘free education’ BS now?

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Finance Minister Taro Aso said in response, "Clearly it's expensive. It would be severe if a student cannot afford to pay it."

What the hell would he know about "expensive" or otherwise?

Education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said the ministry will consider taking steps so that the burdens on the parents to purchase uniforms "would not be excessive."

Right, this sounds like he is going to subsidize the cost for the parents because as everyone knows anyone who can afford to live in Ginza "needs" assistance anyway.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Uniqlo or GU could make charcoal grey uniforms with stretch materials that would be more comfortable and less costly for active elementary children. Too bad they don’t have the brand image Armani has.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

My 4 year old goes to a private catholic preschool and the uniform totaled something like 50,000 yen. It's not especially fancy and the buttons are constantly falling off not to mention that the idea of 3-5 year olds wearing a 3 piece suit is ridiculous to begin with... Especially since they take them off as soon as they get to school! I love her school but Japan's obsession with uniforming everybody is ridiculous. I was excited about her going to the elementary school close by for the cheaper uniform, until I found out that the bag alone is 60,000 yen. I don't get it. If they told me she had to wear Armani I'd probably have a stroke.

26 ( +26 / -0 )

they are not compulsory. people have too much time to complain nowadays

"The uniforms in question are school-selected attire and students are not obliged to wear them, the board said."

-13 ( +3 / -16 )

You know its a bad idea when Taro Aso comes off as the sensible voice of criticism.

20 ( +21 / -1 )

Some private schools use (comparatively) fashionable uniforms as a sales point to attract students. This is a public school though, and presumably gets local kids only from a defined catchment.

Even if optional, many parents will still want the uniform and the price is completely OTT. Since its for elementary, it will not last six years. Every child will grow out of it. With expensive uniforms, you end up with parents buying a size that is too big, which ruins the point, if there is one for a child, of buying something well tailored. Satchels are famously expensive too, but they at least last six years.

The UK gets many things wrong, but a school blazer can be had there for 2000 yen. 2000 yen is cheaper than the gym t shirt my kids have to wear for Japanese elementary. Japanese school swimwear is expensive too, so you end up with parents buying one and washing it every day in summer. The knock-on effect is parents ending up busier and more stressed than they need to be.


7 ( +7 / -0 )

Just wondering, is homeschooling done here?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

From a public school? This is nothing short of insane. The comments from all involved (Principal, Hayashi, Aso) show how truly out of touch and how little common sense these men have.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Forget about LEARNING it’s all about FASHION!!! :-/

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I wonder how many Japanese politicians have ever lived in Japan.

I’ve only been here a couple of decades and I know when The Authorities recommend Course A but add, this is only a Suggestion, that 99% of the population will do Course A.

To say the uniforms are only a suggestion, they are guaranteeing that everyone will buy the uniforms (with Bag and Cap!). That their children will outgrow in a year. And perhaps the Abe regime will subsidize because it’s Ginza, not some shita-machi burrow.

My elementary school principal said, about 15 years ago, that the school uniforms were not mandatory and that kids could wear whatever they wanted. Within ONE YEAR the uniform was gone. Because the mothers banded together and stopped the ridiculous purchase.

Will the Ginza fashion-concsious parents react the same way?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

They say the students aren't obliged to wear them but your kid would probably the only one not in a uniform.

Another thing about elementary school uniforms is that you'll most likely have to buy them three times since your first grade kid's uniform will be way too small by the 4th and 6th grades. At this school that'd be 240,000 goodbye.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

A public elementary school doesn't need a uniform in the first place.

If the school head wants some kind of uniformity, he can suggest a 'code'; generic blue/black/grey/whatever blazer, matching slacks/skirt, sensible shoes or trainers. Parents would be free to choose their own price range. There is no need at all to have an expensive bespoke uniform designed by some overpriced fashion house. It doesn't even look particularly fashionable or classy. I would want better than this for my ¥80,000.


If it must be specially designed, why Armani? If they want a uniform for a 'school of Ginza', why not one designed by a Japanese / Tokyo designer?

This was being discussed on the radio this morning, and it was mentioned that, due to the scarcity of local resident kiddies the school accepts children from outside the school zone. Local kiddies attending the school are as likely to be the children of live-in domestic/catering staff, etc., as the kids of well-to-do Tokyoites.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

No wonder young parents in Japan are reluctant to have children. Education must be free for all, or at least affordable. If the school principal wants them to wear Armani uniforms, then he must provide free Armani uniforms to all the pupils at his own expense.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Jesus. I remember when I was at school. An ordinary shirt with black jackets etc. Everything must have only come to about 3,000 yen. And an ordinary sports bag to carry my books and clothes for less than 1,000 yen. None of that stupid must-have randoseru cr*p.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The tv news said that they went around the department stores in Ginza and Armani said okay. Given the way schools in Japan operate, I don't think they could have done this unless the PTA (i.e., current parents) agreed. The PTA will have no say over lessons, but they will over this.

The reason the school wanted a dept. store brand uniform is that they are drowning in empty pride. It's bad enough at my kids' school in inaka, but must be off the charts for an established school in Ginza. This pride is empty because it is not based on an ongoing commitment to excel. Its just based on size, name, history etc., all of which matter little to the kids' educations. It is the same as the empty pride that fails to stop Japanese companies from falsifying data or selling out of date food. Overzealous pride is a danger for schools because it means that problems like bullying just get swept under the carpet.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This is raising the spirit of national narcissism to new heights.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

On the nightly news the principal was quoted as saying "we cannot fail to equip students with a proper understanding of 'visual identity'." (my translation, 'visual identity' was just those English words in katakana).

So, it's obviously not about quality or durability. Is the school saying that fashion as a visual statement of wealth/social status is the posture students must adopt in order to be "properly" educated? I thought the original purpose of school uniforms was to prevent this sort of thing, it was to equalize the students. It's not supposed to be about climbing rungs on the social ladder, though I suppose that's the reality of education around the world. At this school kids will be explicitly taught that the image of wealth and status can and should be purchased when possible. I would not appreciate my kid being taught in such a materialistic environment, but it does strike me as pretty reflective of typical (upper- and wannabe upper-) middle-class city-dweller Japanese values, just extreme given the context of a public school. The fact that there were only 5 cases of parent complaints says something about the values of the majority attending this school.

As @kohakuebisu says this may also be a gimmick to attract students from outside the school zone (as @cleo mentions) as it struggles with declining enrollment.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I can’t fathom how the school could think this puerile idea could pass without a blink of opposition.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

C'mon, guys! It's only a couple man over average. If mom and dad refrain from buying any clothes of their own whatsoever during their children's educational period, it all balances. (Ever notice how schools periodically change uniform styles? - that's to prevent economical hand-me-downs.)

3 ( +3 / -0 )


They should have selected Gucci instead.

this sounds like he is going to subsidize the cost for the parents because as everyone knows anyone who can afford to live in Ginza "needs" assistance anyway.

No Japanese policitian or bureaucrat in recent times, has ever seen some money that they didn't have, but didn't opt to fritter away anyway. I hope all the negatives could be followed.

My family is currently coughing up money at a pace of more than a million yen a year on children's day care costs, but doing just fine despite it. We find ourselves in fortunate circumstances, but it's crazy how these clowns in power are trying to throw all this money at families like mine. Such a waste of everyone's tax (to be paid in future) - I'm a foreigner and don't even get a vote, so why are they trying to buy mine? Idiots!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Education must be free for all, or at least affordable. 

Isn't it?

One thing I can tell you is that making education "free" for a family like mine means it is a little harder to make it "free" for every other family. This country's economy is only capable of producing so much tax revenue, it's not infinite. My family has the means to pay for stuff, and I'm not Masayoshi Son. So why shouldn't we pay?

I'd rather my taxes were spent helping people who need assistance, not on people like me who paid the tax in the first place. If they are just going to give me my tax back, why not just not tax that off me in the first place and cut the bureaucracy?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Somebody DEFINTELY was wined and dined and maybe even "encouraged" (via money) to choose Armani. The decision should immediately be reversed and the guy fired, but we are talking about Japan here, so we get this as "satisfactory":

"I made the decision thinking of the school's future. I will humbly accept criticisms that there was not enough explanation. I will make a careful explanation,"

Only in Japan.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

But five cases of complaints were raised from parents, who said there were no sufficient explanations. One said, "Why Armani?" according to the board.

Only in Japan, even in the face of something so obviously wrong and morally corrupt - no one will stand up beside you and voice their concern.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It is not only monetary problem! If they introduce such uniform the families that opt not to use it might have passive bullying from other kids.

Obviously the principal wanted to make high class image of his school (that happens to be in such area) but educating small kids to follow the brand image is very disturbing for me.

My daughter is in private school where uniforms are not fixed but all girls have at least 2-3 sets to show off.

Often even not brand uniforms are not that cheap as they are custom made for the particular school but this is public school after all...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This isn't the only public school in Japan that pays this much for a school uniform.

We pay the same amount for a very basic uniform in Shinagawa and it's not Armani.

Plus there's a summer dress code and a winter one, the jacket is the only thing that stays the same.

Im still not use to the idea of making children wear uniforms at a public school.

Does anyone know the reasoning behind it?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Armani?!? pfft. Though, I'd be ok if it were from Gordon Gartrell.

1 ( +2 / -1 )


The school is from 1st grade through 9th and is a general public school.

Yes, my son has outgrown his uniforms twice already.

PS, I didn't include the cost of PE uniforms either, long pants, shorts, T-shirts, undershirts and zip jacket.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Im still not use to the idea of making children wear uniforms at a public school.

Does anyone know the reasoning behind it?

I believe the official reason is "This is Japan, and that's the way it's done here."

It's the official reason for every illogical rule and/or custom, when somebody, usually a foreigner or younger person, points out the illogic.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I believe from what I have heard: the whole point of the school uniform was to prevent differences of the students, such as financial situations of parents. Armani and others kinda defeat that purpose.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Cleo, "Why Armani?" you ask.

Someone is getting a cut, a percentage. Actually, quite a lot of people will be grabbing for their share of the 80,000 yen's as the uniforms get ordered. And knowing Japan and knowing Ginza "zama-masu" ba-chans, the peer pressure is going to be overwhelming.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why school uniforms at all? is the question that should be asked.

Making kids wear exactly the same clothes, have exactly the same haircuts, look the same, talk the same, give the same standard greetings at the appropriate time, these things are all part of the mind control programming that constitutes what passes for education in this country.

It's just one small part of the process of stamping out any and all individuality and creativity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It would be cheaper to take a picture of the uniform, fly over to Thailand for a weekend, and get the clothes made there. You could even ask for a deal on a multiple sized uniform to get two years out of it.

Work with pleasure.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

So the point in uniforms is that students can look the same and not get bullied for standing out or looking poor or whatever, right? Then what is the point in this expensive suit, which apparently isn't even mandatory? It seems like it's just a uniform to let everyone know who's the rich kid around school and who's too poor.

0 ( +0 / -0 )


0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got lucky with my youngest three, they went to Jr.High in Yokohama and the school they went to had no uniforms!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Whereas for many of us, cheaper is better, for the Ginza mums, the opposite holds true. The designs themselves are nothing special and if they were designed by Mujin these people wouldn't want them. Armani designer school uniforms?

They may as well have caps with "narikin" (nouveau riche) written across the fronts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This reminds me of when my eldest daughter started at the local junior high, which happened to have a famous orchestra. Of course she wanted to join, but naturally couldn't choose her own instrument and on top of that, pupils were expected to buy their own instruments, premium brands, Yamaha etc was too cheap! I had the feeling the one music teacher had all the power over most of the school ...so we declined.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wonder how much lobbying the school's board of directors accepted from Armani......

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"I made the decision thinking of the school's future. I will humbly accept criticisms that there was not enough explanation. I will make a careful explanation,"

....he said while pushing back the bribe money that was falling out of his coat pocket..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Never ignore the possibility of the simplest explanation being the correct one, which in this case might be the technical term “stupidity.”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What for? The children do not need Armani and they need a good education.

Why doesn't the School order Uniform to local Company like Uniqlo or cheap and good quality made in China Uniform?

It looks like someone got kickback from Armani. How much?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

1) If the uniform is not mandatory, it's redundant to have any announcement whatsoever. It's either mandatory - which is the reason why a school would have a uniform - or it's not mandatory, which eliminates the reason to have one.

2) Ginza or not, it's not so "posh" if it's a public school.

3) No understanding why people here (or in the real world) are raising an eyebrow over the uniforms being from Armani nor the cost (regardless of the designer/maker). Everything here in Japan is absurdly overpriced to begin with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only in Japan, even in the face of something so obviously wrong and morally corrupt - no one will stand up beside you and voice their concern.

If people were not expressing their concern and opposition, this would not be in the news.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

bullfighter: "If people were not expressing their concern and opposition, this would not be in the news."

Your point is moot -- this is Japan, so said concern will be ignored, except for the usual people saying, "I'll make them understand". And since it's Japan, nothing will be done about it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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