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Pressured to review outdated prohibitions, an entire prefecture says goodbye to “relics of the past”.

Controversial school regulations have been under the spotlight in Japan recently, with an overwhelming number of people calling for reviews to be made after it was revealed that students were being forced to dye their hair and even show their underwear to teachers.

These rules, which have been in place at a wide number of schools across the country for decades, ultimately aim to uphold uniformity amongst students. However, when students with naturally brown hair are forced to dye their hair black to align with a school’s no-dyed hair colour policy, and student handbooks advise that pupils’ underwear must be white or beige for “hygiene reasons”, basic human rights start becoming a legitimate concern.

▼ If you were a student born with this hair colour, chances are you’d be accused of dyeing it, and would have to dye it black.


Because of these concerns, schools and prefectural boards of education are now under pressure to review outdated regulations, dubbed “black school rules” for their negative nature. Thankfully, this pressure is slowly leading to change, with Saga Prefecture recently announcing it would do away with underwear and hair checks, and now Western Japan’s Mie Prefecture has revealed it’s followed suit.

According to Mie’s prefectural board of education, as of this spring all public high schools in the prefecture have abolished school rules regarding hairstyles, the colour of underwear, and also dating. The changes came into effect after a 2019 survey found that out of 54 public high schools in the prefecture, 24 had provisions banning the “two-block” undercut hairstyle (short back and sides), 17 required students to …continue reading