Ponytails are prohibited at Japanese schools, and females are only permitted to wear white underwear.
According to a poll conducted in the Fukuoka area of the country in 2020, one out of every ten schools had banned the haircut because the ‘nape of women’s necks’ caused male pupils to become’sexually stimulated.’
‘They’re worried boys will look at girls,’ said Motoki Sugiyama, a former middle school teacher, ‘which is similar to the reasoning behind the white-only underwear color rule.’
‘I’ve always criticised these rules, but because there’s such a lack of criticism and it’s become so normalised, students have no choice but to accept them.
He taught for 11 years in the Shizuoka area at five different schools, all of which had outlawed ponytails.
Other school standards control the color of children’s socks, the length of their skirts, and even the form of their brows.
They can’t tint their hair, and if it’s anything other than ‘black or straight,’ they’ll have to show it’s their natural color or style, according to reports.
Motoki uses TikTok to write about the restrictions, and she claims that kids seldom get a proper explanation.
He went on to say that the directives can be inconsistent at times, with certain schools permitting shorter haircuts that would display the nape of the neck anyhow, much like a ponytail.
However, Motoki stated that many schools have strict policies in place to prevent students from going too far — comparable to British institutions.
Undercut haircuts, for example, are prohibited because kids may test the limits of what is acceptable.
‘If the two-block [undercut] is okay, then some students might start saying the mohawk should be okay,’ he explained.
However, he claimed that many of the restrictions were ‘unreasonable demands,’ misogynistic, and inhibited self-expression in general.
According to Vice, the schooling laws, known as buraku ksoku or ‘black rules,’ stretch back to the 1870s.
They were rigorous at first, but as time passed, they began to relax. They still want to make sure that everyone is the same.
Parents and students urged the Japanese government in June to amend school advice across the country, but few schools have seen any changes.
‘Many schools ignore notices that aren’t legally binding or that don’t have penalties,’ Motoki said.
However, after students objected, Hosoyamada Junior High School in Kagoshima now allows students to wear black, gray, or navy blue underpants.
Ponytails, on the other hand, are still prohibited.