- 14 Mar 2002
I remember that a few years ago a Japanese high school girl in Osaka was forced to dye her (naturally) brown hair black to comply with school regulations. Unfortunately, this wasn't so unique. Now at 22, she still pursues her case that's now reached the Supreme Court. She is not alone: parents have been suing schools, too. When the colour of shoelaces and underwear matters...
Every school has its rules, but tough regulations at some Japanese institutions, mandating everything from black hair to white shoelaces, are facing increasing criticism and even legal action. Toshiyuki Kusumoto, a father of two in Oita Prefecture, is seeking court intervention to protect his younger son from regulations he calls "unreasonable". They include rules on hair length, a ban on styles including ponytails and braids, prohibition of low-cut socks and a stipulation that shoelaces be white. "These kinds of school rules go against respect for individual freedom and human rights, which are guaranteed by the constitution," Kusumoto told AFP. Later this month, he will enter court-mediated arbitration with the school and city, hoping authorities will revise the rules.
Every school has its rules, but tough regulations at some Japanese institutions, mandating everything from black hair to white shoelaces, are facing increasing criticism and even legal action. Toshiyuki Kusumoto, a father of two in Oita Prefecture, is seeking court intervention to protect his...
"Japanese people have been taught to believe that it is a virtue to simply abide by the rules," she said. "I hope this will be an opportunity for people to discuss what we should do to create a society where rules are observed in a way that's acceptable to everyone." The debate over strict dress codes intensified several years ago after a high school student, then aged 18, sued education authorities in Osaka after her school had told her to dye her naturally brown hair black or face exclusion. Last year, the Osaka district court rejected her claim that she had been forced to dye her hair, but said the removal of her desk and name from the roster after she stopped attending classes had been unreasonable. It ordered the board of education to pay her ¥330,000 [£2,152] in compensation. Last year, all public high schools in Mie, a prefecture in western Japan, abolished rules governing hairstyles, underwear colour and dating, with local officials conceding that the requirements were "relics" from a different age.
Public high schools and other educational institutions will drop five regulations, including one requiring students to have black hair