Tokyo schools cancel controversial dress code regarding hair color and underwear

For decades, being a student in Tokyo meant looking a certain way. The dress code of the public school system required all students to dye their hair black, certain hairstyles were forbidden, and even their underwear had to be a certain color.

But those rules, which have recently been scrutinized and criticized as outdated, will now be scrapped, the city announced this week.

A total of five rules will be removed. nearly 200 public schools throughout the Japanese capital, including rules on hair color and underwear, as well as a ban on “two-block” hairstyles that lengthen the crown and shorten the back and sides, a style now fashionable in many countries.

Other rules being cut include the practice of punishing students with a form of house arrest and ambiguous wording in the rules about what is considered “typical of high school students.”

Policy changes take effect at the start of the new semester April 1st. The move comes after the Tokyo Board of Education conducted a survey last year in which schools, students and parents asked about their views on politics.

Tokyo isn’t the only Japanese city with a strict dress code – similar rules apply across the country, and many schools require students to wear a specific color of shoes and socks.

According to a Japanese newspaper, schools in Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu also have rules restricting students’ hairstyles and specifying both the color and pattern of their underwear. Asahi Shimbun.

As in Tokyo, Fukuoka conducted a public survey last year in which students complained that the dress code stressed them and limited their self-expression, Asahi said.

The issue came to the fore in 2017 when a high school student in Osaka Prefecture sued her school, a case that drew nationwide attention and sparked widespread public debate about restrictive dress codes.

She claimed that she was forced to dye her naturally brown hair black when she first entered school and told to dye it every time her brown roots grew back. by Asahi. She was eventually given an academic fine for not wearing makeup often enough.

Her lawsuit alleged that the frequent dyeing damaged her hair and scalp and caused her mental disorders. Last year, she won 330,000 yen (about $2,790) in damages.

Other students and their families have since made similar complaints, while several schools have announced a change to the dress code.

This spring, a school in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture, will be the first in the city to introduce a “genderless” form in which students of all genders will receive choice between slacks and skirts, Asahi reported is a major departure from the strictly gendered dress code still prevalent in Japan.

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