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Japanese schools’ underwear rule creates fear

TOKYO, April 19 (News On Japan) – As the new school year begins in Japan, some parents and children are confused by the school rules specifying the color of underwear. Experts point out that checking underwear could potentially be a sexual offense.

In this edition of #Everyone’s Questions, the topic “Underwear Color… Troubling ‘School Rules'” is covered with two main points:

– Why is ‘underwear color’ in the school rules?

– How can we correct the ‘black school rules’ that still exist?

Takahiro Ono, a commentator from Nippon TV, said: “Many children and grandchildren entered school life in April, and it seems that there are parents and children who are puzzled by the school rules stated in the student handbook and wonder: ‘Isn’t that so?’ Is this what you call a ‘black school rule?’ Have you ever questioned the school rules?”

Mirei Kiritani, a caster, said, “There was a rule that if your hair is longer than your shoulders, you have to tie it back, which was so inconvenient that I ended up cutting it off.”

Nana Suzue, a news anchor, recalls, “There were regular hair inspections at my school, and I was always nervous about it.”

Takahiro Ono, a commentator, said: “A mother posted on the Nippon TV information site. This spring, her child attended a high school in Miyakonojo, Miyazaki. She was surprised when she read the explanatory material posted in front of the entrance sent.”

The mother said: ”Items worn under shirts or sailor suits must be solid colours: white, black, navy blue, gray or beige,” it was written, with a black underline under the color. Despite stating that ‘it will not be visible under school or sailor suits’, the specification of the colors made me think it could be sexual harassment. There was a strong feeling that there would be an ‘inspection’ to check these.”

Ono further explained, “This mother felt a strong fear. What do you think of the wording of this school rule?’

Kiritani replied: “It’s not visible, so why do they have to specify it to this extent?”

The mother added: “Not only is the color of the underwear specified, but I have also heard of a child’s underwear being checked at school, which makes me concerned that it may be ‘inspected’.”

Ono pointed out, “We asked Professor Yoshitomi Suefumi of the College of Humanities and Sciences at Nihon University about the problems with school rules dictating the color of underwear.”

Professor Suefumi commented: “It feels quite old-fashioned to me. It seems that schools are not aware of the risks.”

“According to the guidelines for student guidance of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, it is written to realize the rights and dignity of children themselves. School rules that infringe on children’s rights must of course be abolished immediately.”

Suzue noted, “There are students who feel embarrassed and hurt, and it is problematic that their intentions are not respected. What is the purpose of this school rule?”

Ono concluded: “Professor Suefumi clearly states that rules specifying the color of underwear violate the human rights and dignity of children.”

Keisuke Mori, another news anchor, wondered: “These rules are based on old values, and it seems like they have been around for a long time. I wonder why teachers haven’t thought, ‘Maybe we should stop this?’ What was the consciousness of the school?”

The Miyakonojo Board of Education was interviewed about the school specifying the color of underwear. “The current color specification comes from the perspective that we don’t want statement pieces,” they explained. “The term ‘underwear’ here refers to underwear worn under shirts, not pants or bras. It refers to undergarments only,” they clarified.

Kokoro Kutsukake, another news anchor, said, “I can’t quite accept it…Whether it’s undergarments or underwear, it’s strange that it’s decided for you.”

Ono noted: “Even when it comes to underwear, specifying the color of something that is not visible remains unchanged. After discussions between students and teachers about its necessity for the new school year, the specification of the color of underwear became this spring, however, has been cancelled.”

“It has been confirmed that there are currently no schools in Miyakonojo City that conduct inspections on the colors of underwear,” she added.

Suzue says: “I have interviewed schools with similar underwear specifications before. Teachers also expressed confusion about when the rule was introduced and how to change it, and they have not been addressed. It seems difficult to change something that is out of step with the times .

Ono suggested: ‘We will think about how to correct this ‘black school’

regulations.’ According to a national survey by the Studyplus Trend Research Institute, one in four high school students responded that they have specifications such as the color of underwear, and one in four high school students stated that they must provide a ‘natural hair certificate’.”

“This certificate is supposed to prove that students with naturally curly hair have not permed it. There are also other questionable rules, such as requiring permission for umbrellas, banning sunscreen, banning studying alone with the opposite sex and banning hearts at cultural festivals.”

Mori reflected, “In our generation, impure heterosexual interactions were forbidden under the mysterious phrase ‘disruption of public morality,’ and it seems that feelings are still carried away.”

Ono discussed the gender differences in school rules: “There are quite a few rules like ‘boys should be like this, girls should be like that.'”

“According to the Studyplus Trend Research Institute, boys are prohibited from tying their hair, while girls must have bangs. Boys are not allowed to wear tights or Heattech and girls are not allowed to wear ties. review these strange school rules.”

Professor Suefumi emphasized: “It is important that students and parents work with schools to establish school rules themselves. Imposing unreasonable rules is moral harassment. People’s freedom must be limited minimally and rationally.”

Suzue said, “I once reported on a school where students raised their voices and took the initiative to make school rules. Those students said, ‘Because we made the rules ourselves, we are more likely to follow them.'”

Ono concluded: “The Basic Law for Children also emphasizes the importance of stakeholders expressing their opinions. It is crucial to review inappropriate school rules so that they fit the times.”

Source: NEWS



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