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Black hair, white shoelaces: Japan's school rules under fire

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By Kyoko HASEGAWA

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The school that my child goes to has a few rules on the “don’ts” and that’s just about it. No uniform, no draconian dress codes or hairstyle restrictions that make kids feel like robots. HE LOVES IT !!!

36 ( +42 / -6 )

Black hair, white shoelaces: Japan's school rules under fire

Same style, same attitude same mindset, by the time they reach adulthood they will choose the same party when they vote.

38 ( +47 / -9 )

They have a rule of no dyed hair. However, my daughter was made to dye her hair black because her hair is naturally brown. It’s very hypocritical. “The nail that stands up must be hammered down!”

46 ( +51 / -5 )

The local education board says the rules "not only nurture a sense of unity among children but also ease the economic burden for families of buying clothes".

That's a load of bull. School uniforms and equipment is a massive industry unto itself.

Check out the price of the average "landsell" bags that are required by most elementary schools. One of those will set you back around $700-$1000.

It has nothing to do with economic burden. The government couldn't care less about the financial struggles of the average citizen.

38 ( +38 / -0 )

It has to be necessarily strict but not over the top. If you don't like the rules, change the school, there are at least some around your place.

It is also one of the reason Japanese have good sense of fashion.

I tell you what, you try to board the public bus in London during school hours, you will see bunch of annoying kids with rough dress and attitude, shouting and littering. You will never ever take the bus again.

-51 ( +9 / -60 )

It is also one of the reason Japanese have good sense of fashion.

Oh I wouldn't say that. For every fashionable person I see walking around I see about 10 more who look like they shop at the goodwill. Lot of bland neutral colors and weird baggy clothes.

20 ( +28 / -8 )

I tell you what, you try to board the public bus in London during school hours, you will see bunch of annoying kids with rough dress and attitude, shouting and littering. You will never ever take the bus again.

Do you think that if they were forced to dye their hair they would be better behaved?

32 ( +36 / -4 )

They have a rule of no dyed hair. However, my daughter was made to dye her hair black because her hair is naturally brown. It’s very hypocritical. “The nail that stands up must be hammered down!”

It shows both the absurdity and hypocrisy of it. Did they have a specific rule that hair must be dyed black if it wasn't naturally black?

19 ( +20 / -1 )

But why on earth do the school girls dress up as sailors ?

Its a fake military costume and not a uniform.

Perhaps someone could explain as to why the school girls are in costume and not uniforms .

1 ( +16 / -15 )

When I was at school my bag probably cost around a thousand yen. These Randosell bags can cost between 50 and 100,000 yen, and are sometimes compulsory. Oh, but they last for all of school people say. Yeah, great. If your cheap bag gets a hole in it, get a new one for a thousand yen!

25 ( +27 / -2 )

A good thing about having a school uniform is that kids don’t have to worry about what to wear and what not to wear every morning.

6 ( +19 / -13 )

Its a fake military costume and not a uniform.

In Japan it's a uniform.

Or do you consider your cultural views superior to those of Japan, and therefore their definition is wrong and they should change it to accommodate your cultural sensibilities?

-14 ( +20 / -34 )

About hair style, that is too strict.

But I support the school uniform rules.

In my home country there are no school uniform rules, and even elementary school kids are wearing already very expensive clothes.

Shoes and pants from high quality level brands.

And if the kids do not wear that, they get bullied.

It is like a competion, who wears which expensive brand.

And for parents, it is very expensive to buy every few months new high level clothes for their kids.

So a school uniform makes sense, and kids don't bully each other because of the clothes they wear.

But yes, rules for hair cut is nonsense.

8 ( +21 / -13 )

more important things in the world to worry about

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Japan has been traditionally slow to change, but unfortunately Junior and Senior High rules are outdated when comparing to Japan's society today. Though many companies still require some form of uniform and dress standards, there is more freedom with hair color, makeup, and style than in the past. Furthermore, the old thinking that "students should be focused on studying and worrying about appearance will interfere with that" is just not true. Some of my most diligent students are the ones who get in trouble for appearance. lol.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

He will not win! the shoe and uniforms makers and retailors will indirectly be fighting him in court and he would not even know it. This is how it works here, everything is setup in away for someone to make $$$.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

The school that my child goes to has a few rules on the “don’ts” and that’s just about it. No uniform, no draconian dress codes or hairstyle restrictions that make kids feel like robots. HE LOVES IT !!!

I like that style, too. My school is going through uniform changes, too. We're getting away from that "naval" style for the boys. The uniforms look more updated and professional. No more naval uniforms, and the students are looking forward to the new year. The girls can choose between pants and skirts. Very impressive.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

When I was at school my bag probably cost around a thousand yen. These Randosell bags can cost between 50 and 100,000 yen, and are sometimes compulsory. Oh, but they last for all of school people say. Yeah, great. If your cheap bag gets a hole in it, get a new one for a thousand yen!

Actually, if you could get your kid's randsal a year earlier and wait a month or two after the new year has started, there are places that really mark them down, and yes, they are make in Japan. We did that for our kids and saved tens of thousands of yen. For one daughter, we paid around 6,000 yen and for our others, around 8,000. No kidding. There's also Amazon, too.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Japan needs an army of non thinkers, hence the same look and style.

12 ( +24 / -12 )

In 2017, an 18-year-old high-school girl who was repeatedly ordered to dye her naturally brown hair black filed a lawsuit in Osaka seeking compensation of 2.2 million yen ($19,130) for psychological suffering.

Hairs, (eyes and skin) colors are innate traits in DNA and are no faults of our own. No one should be guilted into changing these things whatsoever.

25 ( +25 / -0 )

@BackpackingNepal

I guess you don't have children.. those of us who actually do have them know that it is not as easy as simply changing schools as they all have the same rules and in a the majority of cases the school is zone specific meaning to change schools also means moving house to get into the school zone you want.

School uniform is not so cheap minimum of about $700 for the first 2 years then a top up $400 for the third year as nothing fits and you still have to buy other clothes any way then if you have a boy you have about $20 a month for haircuts

16 ( +18 / -2 )

BackpackingNepalToday  08:01 am JST

I knew i'd get downvoted. It seems like this site has lot of angry gaijins who don't like the system of Japan yet still lives in Japan.

You acknowledged yourself that it's not so much the system as the rules of individual schools:

Today 07:20 am JST

It has to be necessarily strict but not over the top. If you don't like the rules, change the school, there are at least some around your place.

Anyway, the whole point of the article is that the way the system is implemented is over the top. So it's a bit lazy and disingenuous to dismiss all the critics as foreign whiners who don't like Japan, especially when the most vocal critics are often Japanese themselves.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

They have a rule of no dyed hair. However, my daughter was made to dye her hair black because her hair is naturally brown. It’s very hypocritical.

You dyed your daughters hair black because the school told you to?. I'm sorry but that's terrible parenting if true, what signal are you sending to her about not being able to be herself.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Kyo wa heiwa dayo neToday  07:43 am JST

But why on earth do the school girls dress up as sailors ?

Its a fake military costume and not a uniform.

Perhaps someone could explain as to why the school girls are in costume and not uniforms.

In the 19th Century when Japan was westernizing they decided that the ethos that best reflected what they wanted to do with education was to be found in the Prussian army and navy. Hence the Prussian style uniforms.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Kyo wa heiwa dayo ne - Perhaps someone could explain as to why the school girls are in costume and not uniforms .

It is the land of cos-play. It starts at a very young age.

I was shocked when I first moved to Japan and saw girls gluing their knee-high socks to their legs. I worked in over 30 Jr/Snr high schools both public and private during my time in Japan. The extent of contrasts is unbelievable! Each school has its own rules. Some schools are as strict as a military prison while others are like a zoo.

The kids would get in trouble for talking in the hallways at one of the strict schools I worked at.

Then, at one of the zoo schools I worked at the boys would sit in the back of the class playing PSP and the girls would sit in a group at the front doing their make up and playing with their phones during a class. Nobody ever failed a test, regardless of their scores. The teachers were so scared of monster parents they would pass the students on bonus points plucked from the air.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

I knew i'd get downvoted. It seems like this site has lot of angry gaijins who don't like the system of Japan yet still lives in Japan.

There are things I don't like about my hometown, I voice those opinions too.

If you really look at it, there are a lot of problems with the school system in Japan in general.

As far as the actual uniforms, yeah the rules for the clothes should be followed. As far as hairstyles, as long as it's not cut all funky, covering their eyes or dragging on the ground leave it be.

A little common sense would pretty much clear up all of these "issues".

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Same style, same attitude same mindset, by the time they reach adulthood they will choose the same party when they vote.

Exactly, mission accomplished for the govt.

We're getting away from that "naval" style for the boys. The uniforms look more updated and professional. No more naval uniforms, and the students are looking forward to the new year. The girls can choose between pants and skirts. Very impressive.

Thats how it should be , having uniforms is fine but update the 19th century design and do away with the stupid shoelaces, underwear and dying ones natural hair kind of rules. Its 2022.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Every year this comes up, every year nothing changes.

only if schools would focus on important stuff and quit the nonsense, so much more could be accomplished.

really? Shoelaces? Who cares. No one is going out of their way to buy red ones anyway.

socks? Match white, fine. Who cares if they are floppy or knee length or quarter sized. Half of the mongos go barefoot in summer anyways it’s so darn hot.

hair…….as long as it isn’t red or green, if it’s a natural color, just leave it. You can clearly see if hair is colored or not. Girls, let them do as they please, they usually keep it tight. Boys…….they are some johnnys out there that think they look cute but aren’t, I say let them do as they like unless it looks dumb.

but I digress, concentrate on more important things, like IT studies, forming opinions, gaining part time work experience, sex Ed, cooking classes, etc. worry about teaching them how to live in the realistic world, not focus on one dumb “center” test or university exam.

talk about a major waste of time there…..

12 ( +17 / -5 )

My daughter has naturally brown hair. She wears it in a tidy cut, nothing outlandish.

When she started JHS, some jumped-up martinet tried to humiliate her and demand she dye her hair black. "You are in Japan now! You must respect Japanese customs!"

My daughter was born in Japan and raised in Japan. She's on the Koseki Tohon. She is Japanese. But she has naturally brown hair.

She came home from school in tears.

The next day, I went to school with her and explained to the 5'6" Small Man Syndrome teacher who'd given her the grief the day before that she was not going to be dying her hair, and if he spoke to my daughter like that again, there would be an issue between us.

There were no further problems regarding my daughter's hair.

37 ( +42 / -5 )

They tried that with my daughter, she has pierced ears and wavy brown hair and they wanted her to straighten it and dye it black. Not threaten to school with a lawsuit and got very hostile with the board of education, but to make a long story short, they left her alone. There was absolutely no way I was going to put up with that.

23 ( +26 / -3 )

these rules are kind of...racist?

sorry for strong expression but hey-some kids may have naturally curly hair or brown one as well...?

its 2021 Japan inc,time to understand reality of life!

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

I wonder if the idiots who came up with these rules ever actually sat down and read the rules aloud because if they did, they'd probably realize how absurd and nonsensical they sound. It's good that parents and students are speaking up against these draconian, conformist rules that are in no way relevant to a student's ability to study and learn. If I were a parent and my kid told me that their school / teacher whatever demanded they dye/straighten their naturally brown/ginger/blonde hair with curls/waves you'd bet I'd be marching into the school to bring the hammer down. Completely unethical.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

Got the hair thing with my daughter, her hair is brown and like myself get lighter in summer due to the sun.

I said it is her natural colour the reply was brilliant and shows their total ignorance, genetic differences "her brother's hair is black, so we need a doctor's note stating her hair is Narula colour".

I gave them my note, anyone harrassing her, trying to touch her hair or any other part of her will find it is the last thing they ever do without prosthetics.

Cleared that problem, the next problem needed court.

Girls uniforms was skirt only, my daughter never wore skirts, and wasn't about to, then we found out one of her friends was also going to the same jr high and also had a problem with the uniform for girls.

My daughter has a form of Autism with social problems and wearing a skirt would cause her extreme anxiety, and her friend is wheelchair bound with a urine sac, she prefers slacks because she can hide her urine sack more easily in the leg of the slacks and in a wheelchair skirts for her are not practical.

In the end there were 4 female students in the court case against our ward's school board and the judge ordered the city to make slacks and option.

But if you think they gave the girls the same slack options as the boys you are wrong.

The girls skirts and boys slacks were the same plaid colour and design. But the girls slacks option was a totally unrelated colour so that it clearly stood out in every school photo, event, etc...

It was basically " if you are not going to comply, we will do everything we can to make you uncomfortable and point you out as a trouble maker"

This is a country that knows how to bully even in the most subtle and minut ways.

16 ( +22 / -6 )

They have a rule of no dyed hair. However, my daughter was made to dye her hair black because her hair is naturally brown

Normally, I'd say things like this should be researched by potential students before choosing their high school. However, in Japan, the high school you choose is important in determining your next step in life and some study for years and years to enter a particular school.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan needs an army of non thinkers, hence the same look and style.

You don't move to the robot factory and then complain that you're surrounded by robots.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

I agree with the no-dyeing rule. But some people don't have black hair, and yet they have to dye their hair??!! Some of these rule makers don't know what the word natural means. And what happened to the knickers/panties rule?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I wonder if the idiots who came up with these rules ever actually sat down and read the rules aloud because if they did, they'd probably realize how absurd and nonsensical they sound

No they wouldn't, I am not sure how many teachers you know or school board members, school directors, but I unfortunately know far to many all in my ex-wife's family.

They are insane, these are the people that lived school talk about nothing other than how great jr, and SR high school was, they became teachers so they never have to leave school.

When you point out the problems they look at you and say " oh you are one of those!" By that they mean the " not good student, that wouldn't conform" .

In one of my ex-wife's relatives family it is grandfather school board, (previously a school principal previously a teacher), father a school principal previously a teacher) daughter a school teacher married to a school teacher, and 2 out of 3 of their children are now starting as teachers, the third ran as far away as he could to "study English" married his girlfriend and now lives in the USA as a professional photographer his parents refuse to talk about him because he is a "disappointment" they expected him to also be a teacher.

These are not rational people.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Only a failing society cares more about student hair color than student bullying, and student suicide. Japan needs to reconsider it's priorities if it expects to be considered a modern democratic nation.

11 ( +16 / -5 )

“Conform and be stupid”

Thats what they want, but it’s not what they will get.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I wonder if it's the rules for students that helped produce the culture that exists there for most adults now. It's not without flaws, but it is admired by many other cultures around the world.

I hope that crime doesn't go up as rules for teens decrease...

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Is this the top story ?

Japan is really peaceful, while the world is full of violence, crime, murder, and hatred.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

I guess you don't have children.. those of us who actually do have them know that it is not as easy as simply changing schools as they all have the same rules and in a the majority of cases the school is zone specific meaning to change schools also means moving house to get into the school zone you want.

School uniform is not so cheap minimum of about $700 for the first 2 years then a top up $400 for the third year as nothing fits and you still have to buy other clothes any way then if you have a boy you have about $20 a month for haircuts

'James - You don't have to tell me this. I know too well. I have three daughters. Two of them will probably be around my height (5.9 ft.). During the elementary school age, they do sprout in growth and yes, we have to get uniforms every year and a half. On top of that, there are new shoes and undergarments. Not to mention, dishing out more money on supplies because they go through them like crazy. Fortunately, we do save on haircuts, since they don't need them as much as boys do.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

NOMINATIONToday  09:36 am JST

As the article points out these rules start in jr high which is often the local public school. So often has nothing to do with choosing.

Both my children went public school all the way until they reached university.

Primary school no uniform but constant battles over my daughter's hair colour, and believe it or not "Sunblock" I am very light skinned caucasian, and my daughter even more pale and will burn within a few minutes in the sun.

It took our dermatologist to actually go to the school and literally call the principal and other teachers "stupid" because they kept calling sunblock *make-up" and make-up isn't permitted!

We are not dealing with rational or intelligent people.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

I have a daughter and when she is of school age I will move to another country if these rules remain.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

more important things in the world to worry about

Exactly! Ukraine just to mention one. 

So what you two are saying is we should only care about what's happening over there. Forget about our social life and issues, forget about our economy, entertainment and everything else just because there are other things happening in other parts of the world.

Why even reading the news in JT (or any other website) if you just want to focus all your attention in one problem alone?

9 ( +11 / -2 )

School uniform is not so cheap minimum of about $700 for the first 2 years then a top up $400 for the third year as nothing fits and you still have to buy other clothes any way then if you have a boy you have about $20 a month for haircuts

WOW!!!!

What rich school did your kids go to?

Jr, high jackets in my ward is ¥15,000 slacks are ¥7,000 a pair. (Same price for the skirt) hasn't changed since my kids were in jr high my friend's son starts in April at the same schooly kids attended.

By XL jacket last all 3 years the slacks buy one only then go to any workers uniform shop and buy "similar" ones for ¥3,000 the only way they can know they are not the actual uniform is the check the inside label and anyone doing that to my children would find themselves in traction before being charged with molesting!

Did the same for their high school uniforms.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

GarthgoyleToday  10:08 am JST

Yep you understood them correctly.

Amazing they weren't this concerned when it is the Yemeni being bombed out of existence by USA backed Saudi Arabia.

Now let's get back to this article please.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

People should have pride in japanese uniforms. Do we really need a culture of drug taking hipsters with tattoos on their necks and arms.

One of my greatest joys in the morning is seeing happy little kids walking to school. Their yellow hats to safely make them visible to traffic, their ordinary lines, shiny big backpacks full of education material…no knives, smoking or street gangs like I witnessed in the UK.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

In one of my ex-wife's relatives family it is grandfather school board, (previously a school principal previously a teacher), father a school principal previously a teacher) daughter a school teacher married to a school teacher, and 2 out of 3 of their children are now starting as teachers, the third ran as far away as he could to "study English" married his girlfriend and now lives in the USA as a professional photographer his parents refuse to talk about him because he is a "disappointment" they expected him to also be a teacher.

These are not rational people."

Damn mate.....those teacher family clans....glad to hear you made it out of there...and kudos to the son that is living his life the way he wants in the US too.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The local education board says the rules "not only nurture a sense of unity among children but also ease the economic burden for families of buying clothes".

This is BS....have you seen the price of a school uniform?!?!

Good on the dad for pushing this.....some of the rules are absolutely disgraceful and extremely personally violating......hello white underwear only rule.....

When I was in school we also had to wear a school uniform, and the school would try and enforce the wearing of blazers OR at least a blue or black jacket. I was constantly harassed for wearing a red jacket, often times being instructed to take it off despite it being winter. I refused and my parents were often called BUT they had my back and I continued to wear my red jacket.

The story of the girl with brown hair having to dye her hair black to meet the rule that students aren't allowed to dye their hair is something out of a Monty Python sketch. It is indicative of the drone-society that is Japan though.....follow the rules even if they are nonsense and don't think about them.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"It's not just about schools, everything in Japan is complicated to the point of suffocation. Simple things become daunting because of the long lists of rules they attach to them."

Exactly

10 ( +10 / -0 )

It is also one of the reason Japanese have good sense of fashion.

No....it is why they all wear the SAME fashion.....conform conform conform.

have you seen newly graduated students on their trips to local resorts with friends? All of them trying to dress more adult.......18-19yr old girls dressing like your granny.....big knits, clunky shoes and handbags from a bye gone era and the boys looking like 15 yr olds at their first school disco

1 ( +5 / -4 )

With hair color green or pink - since these are children - they are better off not dying their hair at all. Chemicals ruin their beautiful shiny hair. Just keep it natural. Neither dying their hair black is attractive. Just keep their natural color.

I personally prefer they look better uniformed with no overly fashioned haircuts since it distracts attention and creates gossip and intrigues anyway.

The endowed kids with money will show off their possessions and jewelry etc… pure consumerism and will make others who cannot afford feel deprived. That is the beauty of uniforms.

With uniforms I would think it is easier to make friends because it lessens show and tell. You spend once a year. Maybe they are available in thrift shops for those who cannot afford to buy uniforms. Second hand uniforms?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

No....it is why they all wear the SAME fashion.....conform conform conform.

What?! I see way more variety of dress in Tokyo than in any Western nation I've been to.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

another FAF Japan moment was when my friend made his kindergarten age son's lunch box. He had a sandwich, apple, yoghurt and a drink....the school called him in and told him NOT to send such food as the other students might get jealous. He should only eat the "regular" bento food.....errr no. He will eat what I give him and if other kids get jealous (wtf?! Jealous offfff......??) that's their problem....was what my friend told the busybody kindergarten

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Ever tried to question the half witt enforcers of these rules, deliberately designed to de-individuate the young students into controllable generic morons?

ルウルだから!

End of conversation.

Jesus, if these sort of rules actually went, what would teachers spend their time and energy actually doing? Facilitating learning, understanding and keeping up with the times in a nuanced and complex world? Communicating, critical thinking?

‘おい、こら!!!!スカアト短い!

Yep, sorry , bit on the jaded side , but have seen what these farcical places of learning look like way to close and for way too long. Over 20 years in one staff room under the belt. ( free now at last ) Will take the horror stories of destroyed potential and ridiculous behavior of ‘teachers’ , their supervisors and bullies to my grave unfortunately. Used to imagine and daydream what these people would have been capable of in a war! Don’t get me wrong, some absolute superstars in the system as well, but those that hold the keys hold them tight, and those that think these rules were written in stone by the lord himself shouldn’t be near young developing minds,

Let these kids petition and bring about the change the ministry of education has been unable to do all of these years. The architects of the lost decades.

Simple memo, Education is NOT about control.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

People should have pride in japanese uniforms. Do we really need a culture of drug taking hipsters with tattoos on their necks and arms

Because it has to be one or the other?

Jr, high jackets in my ward is ¥15,000 slacks are ¥7,000 a pair.

Don't forget to add in the regulation shirt/blouse, tie, socks, shoes, summer dress for girls/short-sleeved shirt for boys, sports shoes, sportswear, jacket to wear with sportswear, sports bag and other random paraphernalia.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Its a fake military costume and not a uniform.

Perhaps someone could explain as to why the school girls are in costume and not uniforms .

Sorry, from any point of view you expose, it is a uniform..

And yet there is this notion of 'cool Japan' floating around the world.

Even if you don't want to accept it, Japan has its well-deserved coolness around the world..

The fact you cannot bear it is your sole problem..

Coolest and frikiest country of the world, like it or not.. Lol !!

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

My daughter has naturally brown hair. She wears it in a tidy cut, nothing outlandish.

When she started JHS, some jumped-up martinet tried to humiliate her and demand she dye her hair black. "You are in Japan now! You must respect Japanese customs!"

My daughter was born in Japan and raised in Japan. She's on the Koseki Tohon. She is Japanese. But she has naturally brown hair.

She came home from school in tears.

The next day, I went to school with her and explained to the 5'6" Small Man Syndrome teacher who'd given her the grief the day before that she was not going to be dying her hair, and if he spoke to my daughter like that again, there would be an issue between us.

There were no further problems regarding my daughter's hair.

I'm embarrassed to share this. But during my child's last year in high school ( at my high school no less ) a couple of the teachers were giving my child similar problems. It was ridiculous. And as they wouldn't budge, my wife intervened and talked directly to the head third year teacher. But even after that, it happened again. So she went to the Vice-principal, who's known my child since she was five. And he took care of it.

You'd think that I'd have some sort of pull. But unfortunately, even after working here for over 20 years, there are multiple occasions where some teachers are never able to see me as equal.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

The local education board says the rules "not only nurture a sense of unity among children but also ease the economic burden for families of buying clothes".

what about the economic burden for parents to have to constantly wash and iron these uniforms daily so that their child is able to enjoy some sanitation? And in my opinion, unity, if done over excessively, is what fuels bullying by shunning the outcast or person who thinks differently. If everyone has an iPhone but one person, all the kids will pick on that one person because "unity".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

asking kids to hide their whiteness in order to provide their education...

imagine if Denmark starts asking asian kids to dye their hair blonde so they can attend their classes.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Sheikh YerboabyToday  10:52 am JST

Had the same conversation when my children were in daycare and had to bring a lunch.

I put cubed beef steak because at the time I was working in a beef processing factory and got to take home off-cuts and cost me nothing.

I was told such "rich" food would upset the balance!

I said "ok you buy the mince pork or chicken I will make the Bento".

No one took me up on the offer, so until I left that meet plant job my kids had steak in their Bento.

( Sadly after leaving that job we have rarely had steak as I can't really afford it)

7 ( +10 / -3 )

The 4 protective fathers (@8:57-9:33am) in this thread are of no threat to ‘society as a whole’ but just asserting their rightful ‘line in the sand’ that school personnel will not be tolerated to physically or emotionally attack their children.

- “There seem to be some violent threatening fathers on this thread who would end up in prison if they actually attacked a teacher.” -

To your point, @zichi 11:10am, You are right about Japan having a sometimes prejudiced, overzealous and unfairly punitive ‘justice’ system, often aimed particularly against ‘foreigners’.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Educations all around the world function as a way to promote conformity. Take that, Japan's strict hierarchical structure and misguided ideas of racial purity, and this is what you get.

It's good to see people are winning some of these battles, but it's still sad that in a so-called developed nation, these battles have to be fought in 2022.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Don't forget to add in the regulation shirt/blouse, tie, socks, shoes, summer dress for girls/short-sleeved shirt for boys, sports shoes, sportswear, jacket to wear with sportswear, sports bag and other random paraphernalia.

Never bought a single "official" shirt, again got all their white shirts even the silly straight collar ones my son had in highschool from big box uniform supply stores (not school but work uniforms) did the same with most everything including the gym stuff got school patches from discarded stuff from previous students, and sewed them on generic gym stuff if the same colour I bought at discount store London sports in Ameoko!

Most publicity schools have a used uniform collection or lost items, they will gladly let you take stuff.

Much easier today with jimoti and the internet, you can get used clothing and school patches/badges no problem.

My son's high school slacks were amazing, they cost ¥2,000 and had an adjustable international waist band and I put Velcro so the length could be adjusted any time.

Couldn't tell the difference from the official ones and no one ever did in 3 years. Same for his shirts.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

But Kusumoto disagrees.

"A sense of unity is not something that is imposed, it's something that should be generated spontaneously," he said.

Imposing these kinds of rules "is a recipe for producing children who stop thinking".

These sentences stand out

Educated in UK, early schooling was and in many respects continues to be strict dress code, and personal deportment, behaviour or manners.

There were no exceptions.

The aim was/is to enforce discipline, and obedience without question.

My experience with younger members of my family projects a rather stunted emotional, academic development. Very little knowledge or interest in there political environment.

More negatives than positives, a sort of follow my leader reflecting when entering the work environment.

Seniority over merit, smothering and choking innovation,

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@ strangerland

Obviously the school girls are not sailors !

So why are they dressed like sailors ?

Therefore its a costume not really a uniform.

If you can't answer my question as to why the school girls are dressed like sailors then why bother commenting.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

When I went through school in the 80s and 90s, nobody even thought about this. School uniforms were just part of life.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Can’t wait to go back home!

this lockdown has made me change my mind and perspective in my existence and way of life. I miss talking to a stranger. Outdoor cafes, people talking to you just to be nice rather than only being nice cause you are the customer.

my son and daughter graduate high school next year and I can actually go back to a more relaxed lifestyle. Japan is a great place with good food but working here or going to school is way to Rigid with way too many rules which usually make lil sense. The color of your hair nor the length of your hair has nothing to do with nothing

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I guess we learn from experience.

In my day in my home country we had no uniform but dress code.

No jeans, no patches no long hair for boys.

My mother sent us to school with whatever was clean and available in the morning ( 4 children) and buying new clothes when a flag or STP patch fixed your older brother's hand-me-down slack or jeans will do just fine.

When the school would call my mother would go with a shopping list and prices,

They say cut your son's hair my mother would say ok that will cost $5, he cannot wear patched slacks, mom " ok that is $20, next no jeans mom " ok that is anoth $20.

Mom: " fine the total is $45 now if you give my the cash I will go get those things done! "

Strange how I had long hair patched slacks and jeans all the way through school.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

It's just coincidence, but we're in Nagano, where half the senior highs don't have a uniform. Its the second map in this article. The first map is about girls wearing slacks, as antiquesaving mentions above.

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/byline/ryouchida/20210913-00257980

I only bring this up because Nagano is undeniably Japan and proves that Japan can do this if it wants to. I get tired of people saying Japan is incapable of change when evidence of the same change exists somewhere in the country. fwiw, its mostly the top schools in Nagano that don't have uniforms, the schools that kids try hardest to get into.

fwiw2, one teacher at my son's elementary would sit next to him during lunch and insist he ate everything. My son is a very fussy eater so this was stressful for him. He would have to sit the entire lunchbreak next to the teacher staring at some vegetable or other while his friends played outside. Other teachers in the same school did not insist on "no leftovers". It was a judgement call left to individual teachers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Tokyo living

Your assumptions are incorrect !

I don't have any problem with the school girls dressing up as sailors !

I am just asking a simple question and stating an obvious fact.

As yet i haven't found anyone that knows why they are dressed up as sailors.

That a fake sailors uniform is being used as a uniform.

And therefore if its not a real sailor uniform then it's a costume being used as a uniform.

Personally i think they are cute uniforms just trying to understand why sailors .

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Imposing these kinds of rules "is a recipe for producing children who stop thinking.

And Mr. Yamada Taro really think it isn’t shamelessly on purpose? As a “small price to pay for obedience”, obedient kids grow up to be obedient adults.

They pay taxes, do their overtime for free and leave their children to be raised at a school because they’re too busy working, which is bound to make even more obedient kids.

And by the end of the day everyone blames North Korea for their rules that goes against individuality. Lol.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Japan, along with many of its schools and companies are being run by people that should have retired years ago.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

When my wife was in school she wore a sailors outfit.

And that is precisely what she calls them - "sailors oufit "and not sailors uniform.

And yes she's Japanese born and raised in Japan.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

With all due respect, not everything is always about one person. My commentary was first specifically addressing the 4 protective fathers (again, @8:57-9:33am),

and secondly, …

… heaping praise on the one ‘important enough’ for drawing additional attention to the periodic inconsistencies in Japan’s ‘law enforcement’ and ‘justice’ system (Perhaps see today’s ‘Crime’ story for more on that topic?)

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Imposing these kinds of rules "is a recipe for producing children who stop thinking".

That and it promotes bullying. The logic behind the idea that a conformist system is "safe" is fundamentally flawed. Japanese schools have huge bullying problems. However, the problem can't be tackled if the actual schools bully their students for looking different.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

kohakuebisuToday  12:27 pm JST

The article is interesting on the so-called gender neutral view in Japanese schools with regard to uniforms.

Those that have a choice for girls call it gender neutral but in reality 90% are just girls uniforms with slacks, the girls still wear the bow tie and boys the long necktie.

Few actually have the same uniform for both boys and girls, by few I mean one school in Hyogo.

As was the case in my daughter's Jr high if a girl wanted to buck the system and wear slacks, it was like this:

Girls traditional uniform:

White blouse, blue gray striped bow tie gray plaid skirt. Navy blue jacket

Boys uniform:

White shirt blue gray striped long necktie, gray plaid slacks and navy blue jacket.

Non conforming girls:

White business man's style shirt (nope blouse not permitted under this uniform version) blue gray long necktie (same as the boys), navy blue slacks solid color, and the same navy blue jacket has all the rest.

One can clearly see the intention is to make sure any girl refusing to wear the official girl's uniform is made to stand out as much as possible in order to humiliate them into conforming!

Every time there were school events or photos the teachers the day before would take my daughter aside and point out how she will look odd and stand out so could she just that day wear the traditional girl's uniform.

Oh and as I said my friends son is going to start at that same school in April the rules are still the same as are the 3 different uniforms.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Japanese schools have huge bullying problems. However, the problem can't be tackled if the actual schools bully their students for looking different.

And in my experience 90% of the bullying starts with the teachers especially club or sports team teachers.

Often it is these teachers that initiate the bullying and then their favorite students continue it.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Good because I have been fighting against my daughter school. Because they were demanding she change her hair style straight instead of curly.

Now she is going to the high school and I'm happy they are less strict.

I also noticed some comments are based on people who have no children or now the Japanese system. So please stop saying things if you don't know.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

One thing I love about Japanese they're well organized. As for strict rule over hairstyle or dye is not right. Your hair is your glory. I'm a teacher lets every student keep their natural hair don't forced them to dye it

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And that is precisely what she calls them - "sailors oufit "and not sailors uniform.

Um, ask her how she says it in Japan, and try to tell us she doesn't say 制服.

'Outfit' is probably how she says it in English. But it's uniform in Japanese.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

There are many schools worldwide and not only in Japan which insist in school uniforms for their students.

Interesting, even some international schools in Japan require their foreign and Japanese students to wear uniforms and no foreigner complains about it.

What is wrong with school uniforms? In their future life, many companies will require them to accept uniforms or at least a code dress while doing their jobs.

Our two daughters, 50/50 European/Japanese and always in various Japanese schools up to university, were using school uniforms too, but there were never any issues/rules about hair color - their hair is dark brown, but not particularly black, you can see clearly the difference.

Different schools, different rules obviously, not only in Japan and not only in Asia - for example some very expensive private British schools are well known for their very strict rules regarding school uniform and general appearance of their students, what items they are allowed to bring to the class room, about cutting their finger nails, make-up and so on.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Making students dye their natural hair color is simply wrong. They are basically telling some children that your identity is bad, so you should hide it. Think about that mental issues that come with that message. With that logic, would that make students wear colored contact lenses, too?

I do understand the rules about the colored underwear. Both sides have valid points about that topic. Kids are raging with hormones. They are easily distracted by the opposite sex, same sex or both. If your uniform requires your to wear thin white shirts or pants(I am not sure why about the pants) then colored bras for the girls and colored shirts for the boys will draw more attention to their bodies. I don't want some hormone raging boy/girl undressing my daughter with their eyes. The same for my son to some degree.

Even adults men and women typically try make their underwear blend-in. That is why thongs and girdles were invented.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Imposing these kinds of rules "is a recipe for producing children who stop thinking".

If you are a King or a dictator, this is the kind of people you want. No brain, no questions.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

this article makes it sound like this is a nationwide problem. I never even heard of kids having to dye their hair if it was naturally brown before. Both of my brown haired children went through the entire school system and are in University now and it was never an issue. I suspect the dying of hair to be a rare rule and not the norm. If there’s one thing I learned about the media is that they take something, blow it out of proportion and make it sound like a bigger issue than it actually is.

Japan is the sum of all of its parts (the good and the bad) and that sum is the reason why I chose to live here for more than 20 years now.

Life isn’t perfect here but it’s a hell of a lot better than many other countries. That includes my home country of Canada. I am truly glad that my children were raised here rather than there.

I think going around and selfishly stamping our feet, demanding change without any thought would have a lot of undesirable and unforeseen consequences.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I think there should be a rule against oyajis at schools and education boards dying their hair jet black and wearing ridiculous horse looking hair pieces....lead by example, fair is fair. Keep it natural.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

this article makes it sound like this is a nationwide problem. I never even heard of kids having to dye their hair if it was naturally brown before

Been in Japan a week have you?

Lets see we have these articles about twice a year for the past 30 years I have been in Japan.

We have had several high profile lawsuits and criminal cases where teacher forcibly died or cut students hairs without permission.

But you missed it all, that is amazing!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

There are many schools worldwide and not only in Japan which insist in school uniforms for their students.

Yes and I don't know of any that inspect under the skirts like Japan, want all students to have the same hair colour, and in many cases hairstyle (AKA no curls or brown hair even if natural).

List goes on.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

In Japan, many schools have strict rules requiring students to dye their hair black and even stipulating shoelace color.  Photo: AFP/File

This is by AFP, You know....

stipulating shoelace color? Laughable. In Japan there are many schools in the first place which don't even have school uniform.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

@kennyg

In Japan there are many schools in the first place which don't even have school uniform.

Yeah, kindergarten, elementary school, alternative/vocational schools and universities. Oh......DoD schools.

Please move on!

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@ antique

no, been here 22 years now. As I have said, I’ve never encountered this while I lived here.

twice a year eh? Sounds very serious… I must be living under a rock ;)

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I don't know why some people think this is a story about foreigners telling Japanese institutions how to behave.

This article and other similar recent articles are all about actions taken by Japanese parents/students against rules enforced by schools.

And while the uniform questions certainly have a variety of debatable merits from all points, the dyeing of a natural hair color is simply an unwarranted imposition. As is the forced straightening of naturally curly hair.

Being born with certain physical characteristics should not be subject to the whims of a school and essentially banned.

And where I live many many kindergartens have uniforms, as do ALL elementary schools, Jnr & Snr highs. Most are strict. My daughters primary school even stipulated the type of white socks for girls down to an embroidered / stitched pattern. These socks were only available from an authorized school supplier and much more expensive. It was 11 years ago so not sure now.

The high school I am currently associated with has a very flexible uniform(s) with 4 or 5 basic designs which can be mixed and matched, incl pants for girls.

My 2 daughters high school was anal about uniforms.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I suggested once to my late J great grandmother the family could save a serious amount of money if the girls shaved there head, weekly.

English sense of humor, how can you dye something that frankly hasn't grown yet?

G Grandma thought I was was serious,

Deranged, unhinged, insane. called the crazy wagon.

My Mothers translation.

I was subsequently banned from the new year celebrations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yeah, kindergarten, elementary school, alternative/vocational schools and universities. Oh......DoD schools.

Please move on!

School uniform is very good! I rather think junior-senior high schools should be uniformed.

-13 ( +0 / -13 )

I have my Japanese wife and 2 Japanese adult children read the comments.

They still cannot understand the foreigners that are as they put it " in denial" about the realities of Japan.

The " I have been here X years never seen any dissemination"

" Never seen bullying"

"Uniforms dyeing hair never heard anything like that!"

My wife once asked if these same foreigners stand at school events signing "Kimigayo" at the top of their lungs!

That actually got me wondering!

2 ( +9 / -7 )

kennyGToday  07:16 pm JST

I get the impression you didn't read the article or have kids!

It is less about the actual uniform and more about other parts of the dress code and the sexist nature of uniforms in Japan.

Let me help you.

Why do school want all students to have the same colour hair (black) even when their natural hair colour isn't black?

Why are girls required to wear skirts and not given the option of slacks like the boys?

Why can girls have short or long hair but boys cannot?

Does any of this help?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

blimeylimeyToday  07:49 pm JST

You do realise that the people in the article are all Japanese, right?

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The article can be more neutral and mention the school's point of view.

The reason why the "dye hair black" rule began was all because of students.

Some or many of them for long time in the history have tried to cheat teachers saying my hair is brown by nature, my hair color has changed by chlorine through swimming club activities, etc. and eventually teachers could no longer distinguish between honest students and cheating ones.

I don't disagree with the abolishment of the rule, but just the article sounds unilaterally demonizing schools and teachers.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Some or many of them for long time in the history have tried to cheat teachers saying my hair is brown by nature, my hair color has changed by chlorine through swimming club activities, etc. and eventually teachers could no longer distinguish between honest students and cheating ones.

-which raises the question, What the h3ll does it matter what colour a kid’s hair is? When I was a teenager in the UK my hair changed colour on a regular basis, and it was never a problem. Sometimes a teacher might comment favorably on the colour, or remark that I might want to consider touching up my roots, but no one ever accused me of not being honest.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

YEAH Teachers or schools they work at should have no say about how kids at their schools transform their face or even body through plastic surgery , and yet not a few parents expect them to educate their kids .

Educate your kids home anyway you want

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

@ antique

my adult children never had any major issues growing up in Japan. No bullying, no forced hair dying etc. However, they did have the chance to live overseas in Canada for a couple of years so that have a basis of compassion.

if you ask me about specific things like being forced to dye hair, I would say that’s quite silly and unacceptable. A practice that must be stopped. it is honestly the first time I’ve ever heard of that. That doesn’t mean I agree with it… it simply means I never heard of that before.

however, other things such as having to wear uniform, white shoelaces, landoseru etc, i’m all for that and don’t see any problems with it. I think little things like that (and 1000 more little things) that add up to make Japan what it is and why I like living here.

Do I think Japan is the perfect utopian society? nope… I could criticize Japan until the cows came home if I wanted. But I do think it’s a way better place to live than where I came from.

I guess I’m just one of those “The glass is half full” kind of guys. And I’m think I’m better off for having that kind of attitude mentally.

I feel sorry for the people who go around hating where or how they live. What a depressing life they must have having something like that in the back of their mind eating away at them.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ironically, some students feel bullied into wearing a pink-shirt on "pink shirt day" to show they "stand against bullies" in Canada.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

That is exactly why and a perfect example I don’t miss Canada even a little bit

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

The purpose of the Japanese school system is to teach kids how to be Japanese.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

These kinds of rules are ridiculous, should have been scrapped a long time ago. I hope the girl in Osaka wins her case and gets a lot more than 2m.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Here in my home town in the UK all school children wear school uniform which are different from other schools with rules about footwear which must be black, no hair colouring and only small studs in pieced ears but there are no rules that don't apply equally to boys and girls. At 16 ( sixth form college) no uniform is worn.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kenchi: So... hang on... you don't miss a country like Canada because some people might pressure you into wearing a pink shirt on one day a year, favoring instead a system whose laws are so Draconian they can check the color of a little girl's panties?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@To most of you downvoting. Thank you and I knew.

The school is in boundary all around and with big gate in front. This itself tells that you're there to study and learn.

It's not a fashion industry. Also, students can do any type of their fashion when they're out of that boundary but they do it anyway in the school, however they should follow school rules as well.

Any army follow the rules in the camp as well, otherwise disciplinary action will be taken. It's the same thing in school but with less strict rules. The simples ones like this should be obeyed by the students. Also, the rules are different in each school, so it shouldn't be such big issue to be known in the whole world. Main thing is that bullyness should be no. 1 strict rule.

Anyway, so why Japan has to be Americanized or Westernized in everything?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

There's no question that some of these rules are sheer madness and enforced with no thought or flexibility.

Japanese school rules - especially the hair dyeing thing - are making headlines all over the world. And not in a good way.

It's true. I'm seeing news all over the world covering this. People think it's extreme but then look at the behaviour of young people in their own countries compared with Japan and are pausing to think.

While Japanese school rules are draconian and their enforcement often idiotic, there is something to be said for having a school uniform. Otherwise we all just end up like America, and we don't want that!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Being a biracial student in some of these schools can be hell. What is one supposed to do about their natural color of hair or the texture that does not allow it to be worn like normal Japanese hair?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

LindsayMar. 18  07:10 am JST

They have a rule of no dyed hair. However, my daughter was made to dye her hair black because her hair is naturally brown. It’s very hypocritical. “The nail that stands up must be hammered down!”

You accepted that?? If so, why?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

BackpackingNepalMar. 20  05:10 pm JST

@To most of you downvoting. Thank you and I knew.

The school is in boundary all around and with big gate in front. This itself tells that you're there to study and learn.

Patronising.

It's not a fashion industry. Also, students can do any type of their fashion when they're out of that boundary but they do it anyway in the school, however they should follow school rules as well.

That's not in dispute.

Any army follow the rules in the camp as well, otherwise disciplinary action will be taken. It's the same thing in school but with less strict rules.

No braids, ponytails, non-white shoelaces or hair colours except black. You call that "less strict?"

The simples ones like this should be obeyed by the students.

Like what? Dyeing your hair black from its natural colour? Why a rule like that be obeyed? Or enforced? It's stupid.

Also, the rules are different in each school, so it shouldn't be such big issue to be known in the whole world. 

You dispute this, then:

But elsewhere, the rules are fairly common and Kusumoto, who recalls chafing at similar restrictions as a child, hopes his legal action will bring broader change.

"It's not only about our children. There are many other children across Japan who are suffering because of unreasonable rules," he said.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

BackpackingNepalMar. 20  05:10 pm JST

I would imagine that most people, like me,just want to send their children to a school, not the army or a boot camp. Everything doesn't need to be Americanised, if I was overly concerned about that I would send my children to an international school, but trying to force someone to dye their hair from their natural colour so they 'fit in' just isn't right in any country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Its all about conforming NO individuality!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That’s a senseless discussion. Schools are made and supplied by tax money for good teaching and intensive learning, not for anyone’s harsh rulings or wishes for unlimited fashion shows. You can discuss or care about those unnecessary and useless topics outside the school and during after school leisure time or on weekends. While in school the teachers should teach and the students learn, period.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

NotSo HungOverMar. 21  11:55 pm JST

It's not as bad as is being made out.

And, Japan is no different from other Countries that have School Uniform Policies within certain Schools.

No? So what do you think of this?

"But in a sign of the difficult debate over the subject, both Osaka's district and appeals courts ruled schools could require students to dye their hair black within their discretion for "various educational" purposes."

That's the same in other countries?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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