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That Time Japanese Schools Banned Pigtails

Japanese schools have long been known for their strict uniform requirements., which dictate everything from the color of the students’ underwear to the length of their socks. But it was a year ago that some new rules aroused the ire of students and parents alike, something they still remember to this day.

  Japanese schools

New Japanese school rules stipulate that female students can no longer tie their hair in ponytails. The standard was established for fear that the students would seduce the students and teachers with the glorious necks. Both parents and students expressed their opinion at the time about this unreasonable rule: how else are the students going to keep their hair neat and tidy?

Japanese schools are infamous for their ridiculously strict dress code, so much so that they even have a name for it: “burakku kousoku (black rules; ブラック校則)“. To the students of these ultra-strict schools they are only allowed to have black hair, unless they have proof that your natural hair is a different color. Too they are prohibited from wearing low-cut socks (also called no-show socks) and they are forced to make sure that not only their shoes are white, but also the laces.

The female students are further persecuted by forcing them to wear only white underwear, in addition to imposing all kinds of restrictions on their hairstyle. These strict rules have aroused more than a few negative comments over the years; there have been many cases where the school administration has shown rigidity even towards students with special circumstances.

One of these cases was an 18-year-old high school student who, in 2017, was repeatedly harassed by her school administration regarding her hair. She has naturally brown hair since she was born, but she received repeated orders from her teachers to dye her hair black.

He filed a lawsuit against his school, seeking compensation of 2,200,000 yen (about 16,900 US dollars) for mental anguish that he had to suffer due to the harassment of his teachers, which included the removal of his desk from the classroom, as well as removing his name from the school list. However, the Osaka district and appellate courts ruled in favor of the school. Since then, the student has appealed to the Supreme Court.

The frequency of these types of incidents has led to the creation of advocacy groups. One of the most notable isBurakku Kousoku Nakusou Project (Project to Eliminate “Black” School Rules)“, which helps gather information about unreasonable school rules in order to call for reforms across the country.

While schools understandably want to ensure that students maintain a respectable image for the good of the school, some of these rules go further and intrude on the control of individual personal choices. Critics claim that these rules make people more submissive and easier to control, especially by authority figures. The rules stifle independent thought and free speech.

The Japanese school uniform may be a fantasy to some, but for the students themselves it couldn’t be further from that.

Font: The Sankei News

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The entry That Time Japanese Schools Banned Pigtails was first published on Kudasai.

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