Surprised by the reason that Japanese schools forbid female students to wear ponytails
“They are concerned that boys will look at their female classmates. This is similar to the rule that requires female students to wear white underwear so that it cannot be seen through their uniform. I have always opposed these rules. But due to the lack of protesting voices and the fact that this has become so commonplace, students have no choice but to accept it.” Motoki Sugiyama – a former middle school teacher said.
Sugiyama taught in Shizuoka Prefecture for 11 years at 5 different schools. All of these schools forbid girls from wearing ponytails. This teacher believes that setting such rules is a sexist act.
In June 2021, many Japanese parents and students expressed their displeasure at this regulation. They asked the government to adjust the regulations made by the provincial education boards.
According to Sugiyama, some former students told him that their school had no intention of abolishing the dress code and hairstyle. “Some schools ignore notices that are not legally binding or offer no penalties,” Sugiyama said.
Prohibition of wearing a ponytail or wearing white underwear are two of the many rules that Japanese students must follow.
Some schools have regulations on the color of socks, skirt length, and eyebrow shape of students. Students are not allowed to dye their hair. In case the hair has the same color as dyed, you must prove it is natural hair color.
These regulations, collectively known as “buraku kousoku”, were established in 1870 in an attempt to control school violence. Over time, the rules began to differ between generations and schools, but the general purpose “buraku kousoku” was for everyone to be the same.
Still, there are some schools that listen to their students and make changes.
In 2021, Hosoyamada Middle School in Kagoshima Prefecture began allowing students to wear black, gray or navy underwear after a series of student reflections. However, this school still prohibits girls from wearing ponytails.
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