Monday, March 31, 2008

Design & Mystique of the Japanese School Uniform

PingMag has a fascinating article about Japanese school uniforms.

As a teacher, a thing that you notice is that students – especially high school girls – wear their uniforms all the time, even on weekends, when school is out and wearing uniforms isn’t necessary. Why?

A New York Times article claimed that Japanese teenagers are acutely aware that, because of their youth, they are a sought-after ‘brand’ in a brand-conscious society – implying that students wear their uniforms often in order to flaunt their youth.

To test this theory, I asked around a bit. Molly Elgin, an English teacher in Fukushima, noticed high school girls in Fuku city wearing uniforms, even though their local high school did not require students to wear uniforms.
When asked why they wore them anyway, the students explained that it was considered “cute” to wear them. “The analysis on our part was that the images of school girls in uniform are so prevalent, [it] is emphasised as… the pinnacle of beauty, so the girls want to wear their uniform to fit that idealised beauty standard,” Elgin assumed.


See also: Japanese Uniforms