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High schools in 2 prefectures stop asking students to specify their gender on application forms

41 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Just about any stable job in Japan requires at least a high-school education, but compulsory education only lasts until the end of middle school (equivalent to the ninth grade in the U.S. school system). That means that students have to apply for admission to public high schools, usually by first applying to take the school’s entrance examination.

The application forms are pretty much what you’d imagine, asking applicants to provide information such as their name and address. However, as of this year, there’s one traditionally required piece of information some schools won’t be asking for: the child’s gender.

On applications for enrollment in the upcoming Japanese school year (which starts in the spring), public high schools in Osaka and Fukuoka Prefectures have abolished the gender question on students’ application paperwork. A third prefecture, Saga, still has a gender box on its application forms but allows applicants to leave that section blank.

The connection between entrance exams and gender may have some recalling the scandal that erupted when it came to light that Tokyo Medical University had been systematically reducing the test scores of female applicants for years. However, the decisions in Osaka and Fukuoka to stop asking high school applicants to specify their gender isn’t an attempt to avoid accusations of discriminatory application processes. According to a survey conducted by Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper, the new policies are a response to growing acknowledgment of LGBT individuals, and are born of a desire to accommodate their personal identities.

The removal of the gender question (the specific Japanese term on the application forms was seibetsu, which can refer to both physical sex and gender identity) comes in the wake of such new policies as a middle school in Chiba Prefecture allowing male students to wear skirts as part of their uniform and another middle school in Kanagawa Prefecture giving female students the choice between wearing a skirt of long pants. While a gender question remains on public high school applications in 45 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, 14 of those 45, including Kanagawa, Kumamoto, and Tokushima, are considering removing the question for the 2020 school year, while an additional 11, such as Kyoto, Hokkaido, and Okayama, are also thinking of doing away with it, though without any concrete timeline for doing so.

Sources: Yahoo! Japan News/Asahi Shimbun Digital via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo women’s university will accept transgender students who identify as female, a Japan first

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

-- Female high school students continue to be banned on baseball field at Koshien Stadium in Japan

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

41 Comments
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Which other language on earth has separate "Men's language" and "Women's language"? Only Japanese does.

Um, no.

http://www.bris.ac.uk/german/hison/reading/dunn2013

Try fact checking yourself before making 'only in Japan' statements.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@Belrick, I don't think this has anything to do with "PC Crap" other than to try and avoid discrimitory acceptance into education, unless you think thats ok which would be a terrible shame.

But hey get all outraged if you like. As Strangerland points out, sex, gender and the like, aren't necessarily simply binary, and may not "fit" into peoples preferred boxes.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Strangerland: the hermaphrodite decides after consulting with their doctor.

So you are saying that it's appropriate for people to choose a gender, that in fact, the gender one chooses isn't based on their genitalia, but in fact their choice.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

However, the decisions in Osaka and Fukuoka to stop asking high school applicants to specify their gender isn’t an attempt to avoid accusations of discriminatory application processes. 

Right. It's actually an IT issue, where the software they use has a 2-gender structure hard-baked throughout. Far cheaper to drop the gender data entirely than try to accommodate 17 gender classifications.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Ganbare Japan! Today 07:54 am JST

Political correctness gone mad. Why is Japan copying Western Nations? The system worked perfectly for over 100 years.

Yeah, perfectly! Except, you know, in those cases where they purposefully lowered women's test results, which seems to me is the main reason they're doing this.

Although I do wonder, like some other commenters, whether putting down your first name doesn't render that point useless.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Political correctness gone mad. Why is Japan copying Western Nations? The system worked perfectly for over 100 years.

2 ( +12 / -10 )

There are only 2 genders. Their is nothing wrong with your genitals. Learn to accept your body.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Its a rare special case and their parents work with their child as well the school.

That doesn't answer the question. If there are only two genders, which of those two genders does a person born with both genitals belong to?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Whatsnext

Today 02:35 pm JST

It affects me because I have children. Telling kids they can be any gender they want is child abuse.

That is a massive jump. Could you elaborate?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Good. Maybe next they'll get rid of ridiculous uniform requirements for females, like requiring skirts and no leggings/tights allowed even in Winter months, or having to dye naturally lighter hair black.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It would be great if anonymity was the standard in the application processes for education – just use a number.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@albaleo

Right. It's actually an IT issue, where the software they use has a 2-gender structure hard-baked throughout.

It has nothing to do with non-binary gender identity politics and everything to do with "gender-blind" admissions process.

Although the applicant's name is a give-away, unless the girl has some masculine sounding name to mask her gender.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Which other language on earth has separate "Men's language" and "Women's language"? Only Japanese does.

The three years of mandatory Spanish classes I had to take in high school learning masculine and feminine wording says you're wrong.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

An application number only without test marker knowing any specific information is the only real way to do it, but at least there is some admission to try and account for the terrible and disgusting marking down of applicants simply because they are women.

This isn't some western liberal Japan take over, its to work on a systemic issue in how half the population, even which conservative politicians want to participate in employment more, are treated.

Can you imagine for just a second, you had a daughter who wanted a specific job or career that required specialized training, (which in Japan often means attending the "right" high school) and were not allowed in because they are a woman?

That is just wrong regardless of any political or cultural leaning. Not only that, we might actually have less qualified/able doctors treating us because of policies like this.

There might be more information about how the application or test results are made anonymous but this alone doesn't seem enough.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Introduce this into medical schools to stop them marking down the women.

I'm not against it, but I find it ironic that schools can be accepting of the blurring of gender lines but still enforce rigid conformity over almost everything else, trivial things like the colour of medical masks included.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Most public high schools in Japan have co-education policy and keep the boy-girl ratio around 50-50. So, the cut off test score for entrance exam differs depending on the sex of the applicant. By changing the application form, the co-education policy cannot be maintained.

All should be given an equal opportunity to compete for positions. Aiming for equality of genders in the outcome simply means that more qualified people of one gender or the other will be denied for a lesser person. This in itself is discriminatory.

We should all be aiming for equality of opportunity. We should not be pushing for opportunity of outcome. The former is necessary, the latter is discriminatory.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are 2 genders, male and female, period!

Which gender do those born with both sets of genitals fit into then?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

If anything, it'll hurt those schools who seek a certain % of gender balance

That's a good thing. Outcome of equality requires discrimination.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sad to see the irrational transphosphorylation get another platform. In countering that, a reminder to our kids that you can be any gender you want. The future belongs to you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Argh, transphobia. Damn autocorrect.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Argh, transphobia. Damn autocorrect.

Have you been writing transphosphorylation? What does that even mean!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What does that even mean!

Online definition reads as "a chemical reaction in which a phosphate group or a phosphono group is transferred between a substrate and a receptor."

It's rubbish when your phone knows more stuff than you do :-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Online definition reads as "a chemical reaction in which a phosphate group or a phosphono group is transferred between a substrate and a receptor."

Well that certainly clears it up! haha

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice to see some progress! Hopefully it will continue and others will follow!

How is it progress?

In terms of discrimination against women, well its a public school. It should function under the guidelines of the government which I imagine is "no discrimination based on gender, sexuality etc etc".

but compulsory education only lasts until the end of middle school (equivalent to the ninth grade in the U.S. school system). That means that students have to apply for admission to public high schools, usually by first applying to take the school’s entrance examination.

That is kind of weird and interesting.

When I went to high school, quite some time ago lol, after year 10 you could opt out, but the vast majority went onto year 12 and all you had to do was keep coming to class basically. There was no formal application procedure to continue, only an application to leave. Now I think there would be very, very few young Australians that don't go onto year 12. That is standard.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

On applications for enrollment in the upcoming Japanese school year (which starts in the spring), public high schools in Osaka and Fukuoka Prefectures have abolished the gender question on students’ application paperwork. A third prefecture, Saga, still has a gender box on its application forms but allows applicants to leave that section blank.

Perhaps with good intentions, but, practically, with no real effect. The only way this would actually work would be for the applications to omit first / given names of applicants.

Right?!

I mean, with very few exceptions, first names immediately denote whether the applicant is male or female.

Or am I missing something?!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This won't be very effective. I most cases, the persons name will indicate thier gender unless they have a gender neutral name. And those are rare in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

WhatsnextToday 08:24 am JST

There are only 2 genders. Their is nothing wrong with your genitals. Learn to accept your body.

BelrickToday 10:32 am JST

There are 2 genders, male and female, period! Just look at your crotch - it's not rocket science! Tired of all this PC crap!

I don't understand why people are this passionate about something that doesn't affect them at all.

How does someone feeling differently about their body in a way you don't understand enrage you that much? How does it in any way affect your life, besides opening your eyes to the fact that there are people out there with a very different worldview?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If gender is not a criterion whether ya get accepted or not, then does it really matter

If anything, it'll hurt those schools who seek a certain % of gender balance

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are only 2 genders. Their is nothing wrong with your genitals. Learn to accept your body.

One of the reasons we want to know people's genitals is so we can know who we would like to mate with or who might like to mate with us; the need to know someone's genitals is not so great in co-ed high school admissions...

For identification purposes we could tell what the student might look like from their supplied name (masculine or feminine sounding) or indeed photo ID registration.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hmm.. so a person with Female genitals can apply for an All Boys School ? That must add for some gossip in the changing rooms.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good. Hopefully it will be a step in combating discrimination.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Now I think there would be very, very few young Australians that don't go onto year 12. That is standard.

Not that standard am afraid, 1/4.

https://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-26/quarter-of-high-school-students-drop-out/6884578

Agree with the rest of your post, I.e why the need to apply for admission or even take a school entrance exam in the first place? I find that more discriminatory than asking a kid whether he's a boy or a girl.

J school system have their priorities wrong I.e silly PC over common sense and 'real' inclusiveness.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I red a research document a year or two ago. 1% of people in New Zealand have different genetic makeup. x and y and all that stuff. I assume, as humans, Japanese also have such variety.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I am not so sure if it is good.

Most public high schools in Japan have co-education policy and keep the boy-girl ratio around 50-50. So, the cut off test score for entrance exam differs depending on the sex of the applicant. By changing the application form, the co-education policy cannot be maintained.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@CH3CHO You raise an interesting point. In terms of educational achievement, it's now well-established that females perform better than males in reading and writing and in continuation to higher education. Even the earlier belief about males outperforming females in maths is being challenged.

The sex differences between females and males is sufficient to raise serious questions about how so-called 'gender' issues are addressed. This idea of removing sex (not gender) information from application forms seriously risks creating an educational environment that promotes learning in females and destroying male access to education.

In terms of systemic approaches to actual gender issues, Japan (along with the Western nations) has achieved parity to the extent where females are privileged in law, in mental health provision and in quality of life (https://bigi.genderequality.info/). Of course, systems cannot control cultural attitudes (hence third-wave feminism's aims of destroying masculinities through social control) and there are some genuine areas of concern there. But to assume that we live in anti-female world is, by the measurements of law, education and life quality, patently absurd. Removing the sex information is based on this weird assumption and is ultimately dangerous to males.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There are 2 genders, male and female, period! Just look at your crotch - it's not rocket science! Tired of all this PC crap!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Which gender do those born with both sets of genitals fit into then?

They are called hermaphrodites. They are rare and it's a genetic disprder. When they grow up they can either choose their gender or ask there doctor for advice.

Its a rare special case and their parents work with their child as well the school. But that doesn't me everyone Else gets to choose their own gender.

If you look down and see a penis and think you are a women it is a mental illness issue. They deserve counsiling and support to help them realize they have a fully functional normal male body.

It really makes me sad to see young men and women mutilate their genitals and take hormornal altering drugs because no one told them they are already perfect the way they are.

Liberal psychology has really dropped the ball on this one.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Nice to see some progress! Hopefully it will continue and others will follow!

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

It affects me because I have children. Telling kids they can be any gender they want is child abuse.

Strangerland: the hermaphrodite decides after consulting with their doctor. Every case isn't the same and they have nothing to do with this mental gender illness retardedness. They already are taken care of and are aware if their genetic disorder. Please don't mix these people up with this liberal madness.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The students age is really all of the demographic information needed for public school admissions. I wish governments everywhere would get out of the business of pigeonholing people demographically. Western identity politics would be a terrible thing to import into Japan.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Matt Hartwell

 I imagine is "no discrimination based on gender, sexuality etc etc".

It doesn't work like that in Japan, where gender based discrimination is cultural and deep-rooted.

Which other language on earth has separate "Men's language" and "Women's language"? Only Japanese does.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

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