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By the end of the current academic year about 200 Tokyo public schools and educational institutions they will eliminate some very strict rules regarding the clothing or hairstyle of students, such as the obligation to have straight and black hair and to wear underwear of a certain color.
These rules are widespread in many schools in Japan, and not only in Tokyo, which have been discussed for years because they are judged anachronistic and discriminatory. Like many aspects of Japanese society, historically very closed in on itself and extremely attentive to respect for the most archaic customs, even the rules on dress at school are not governed in writing, but by habit and tradition.
These rules have always existed, even if they were applied with increasing frequency only between the seventies and eighties: it was by the school leaders a way to repress the liberalization of morals that was spreading among Japanese youth as well as among the young people from all over the world. However, only in recent years have they become an issue at the center of public debate. Those who criticize them define them burakku kousoku (which can be translated as “unjust / unreasonable rules”).
According to many educators, these rules today are antiquated, oppressive and also risk promoting sexual and ethnic discrimination. One that will be phased out in most Tokyo schools requires students who have natural wavy or non-black hair to dye it or provide evidence that this is their natural hair, as this is usually required at school. have straight black hair. Another concerns the ban on having i hair shaved at the nape and longer abovea hairstyle that has become very popular in East Asia thanks to the musical phenomenon of K-pop.
Still another is that which involves wearing white underwear or underwear in colors that cannot be easily distinguished by looking at the uniforms. According to an investigation of the Fukuoka Prefecture Bar Association, it is a rule in effect in about the80 percent middle school in Japan; and how he said on national television NHK a student from Nagasaki prefecture, teachers regularly check the color of the linen while the boys change to prepare for physical education hours.
The decision to change things was made after much discussion among the students and teachers of the Tokyo institutes. In April 2021, the administrative body that deals with Education in Tokyo had asked 240 schools in the metropolitan area if certain rules in force were outdated or unnecessary: 216 of these had replied that it was necessary to review them or remove them from everything.
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In June, public schools in Mie prefecture (east of Kyoto) they had eliminated various rules considered too rigid and obsolete, including the prohibition of dating between students. Others, particularly those relating to hair, had been criticized for being potentially discriminatory towards those who do not have the typical traits of Japanese people.
A Japanese court had also dealt with the hair rule.
In 2017 a student from Osaka with dark brown hair sued at her own high school because she was repeatedly told to dye her hair black so as not to risk being expelled; furthermore, according to three different teachers who had examined her hair bulbs, she actually had black hair but deliberately dyed it brown.
Due to increasing pressure, she stopped attending classes: her desk was removed from the classroom and her name was removed from the class register. While arguing that the school had not actually forced her to dye her hair, in early 2021 an Osaka court decided that taking the girl off the student register was a foolish measure, and ordered the school to pay her the equivalent of approximately 2,500 dolars as compensation.