Kashiwanoha Junior High, a public middle school in Chiba Prefecture, is now allowing students to mix and match uniforms however they see fit. This is an effort on the school’s behalf to be more aware of LGBTQ students’ feelings.
Traditionally, uniforms in the Asian schooling system have been around since before the 19th century. There are many reasons for this, such as representing the values of the school, to unify the students, or even to a certain degree erase the differences between rich and poor. It isn’t uncommon for the appearance of a school’s uniform to affect a students decision to enroll, especially at the high school level. Most Japanese school’s are fairly stringent in their policy towards attire, so for many, this change may be the first breath of fresh air in what some would call an “outdated system.”
School officials also felt this was the case, as they noted that the new option was more in line with modern students. The staff also mentioned that it is not uncommon nowadays for girls to wear pants, but assigned male at birth students may still feel social resistance to wearing a skirt to school even if that is their preferred choice.
From here on out, it will be interesting to see if more Japanese school’s follow suit with these more lenient uniform policies.