High school girl skirt lengths and hair fashions once again in a flux
Japan Today -- Apr 17
As Japan finds itself on the cusp of a new imperial reign -- to be named Reiwa, according to the government's announcement on April 1 -- the nation's collective eyes briefly turned upwards, in the direction of the over 1,200 years of continuous, uninterrupted generations of Japan's imperial family.

Having done that, reports Nikkan Gendai (Apr 11), the focus shifted downward to the hemlines of the skirts of teenage girls. It seems that in the past, as one of the signs of the times, hemlines on the skirts of the "JK" have moved in response to economic or social attitudes.

"JK" is not an abbreviation for "joke," but for joshi kosei, or high school girl. Yasuko Nakamura, a cognoscenti who markets to this particular demographic, predicts flat out that "skirt hems are going to get shorter."

If one looks back to a previous generation, JK fashions went through an extreme period, where the uniform of the day consisted of miniskirts, bobby sox that flopped around the ankles, thick-soled boots and hair tinted light brown (chapatsu). After school classes let out, speckles of glitter were also sprinkled around the edges of their eyes for added effect.

Then as the Heisei era progressed, the pendulum swung back in the opposite direction.

"Nobody in my school has dyed hair," a high school sophomore tells the reporter. "And socks are all the same type -- usually long navy blue ones."

A freshman at another school said the length of her skirt carefully conforms to school regulations. "The appearance doesn't cause anybody to get out of whack," she adds.

According to a survey conducted by a research outfit named Girls' Trends, only 11.55% of teenage girls in 1996 (women who are currently about age 40) wore their hemlines at 15 centimeters or higher above their knees. The figure for JKs in 2018? A considerably higher 33.6% said their skirt hems were 15 cm above the knee. Or higher.

From the view of today's high school girls, however, loose, floppy white sox and short hemlines did not afford a very good balance. "Now it's popular to wear very short sox or long sox that we let slip down to expose the ankle bones," one JK tells Nikkan Gendai. "That makes our legs appear more slender," she added.

News source: Japan Today
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