Analysis of Uniform in Japanese Schools - 1116 Words | Essay Example (2023)

Japan is a country widely known for its strictness to work, the hard work of the country’s residents, and its attitude to a single style. The reflection of the style of Japan can be seen in the architecture, interior, and, most notably, in the uniform. The Japanese strive for a uniform style of clothing in the workplace, even at the smallest enterprises, in schools, starting from first-graders and ending with high school students. Among students, wearing a uniform is considered pride, and some young people entering universities pay attention to the uniform they will wear during the academic years. Wearing a uniform unites the people of Japan and contributes to various functions, such as the harmonization of society.

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The Japanese uniform is attractive because there is no single, strict uniform that all students of the country should wear. Each school has its uniform, which changes depending on the season, and has accessories that make it attractive. There are different schools in Japan: municipal and private. They differ not only in the form of financing but also in the strictness of the rules. Nevertheless, in almost every school, students are prescribed for attending classes in specialized clothing – school uniforms.

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In the 19th century, the Japanese government decided to introduce compulsory school uniforms in all schools. Lee et al. (2) state that in Japan, school uniforms were first established during the Meiji period in 1868-1912. Since then, the uniform has been widely distributed throughout the country, even though there have been attempts to reform school uniforms. “Japan is often said to be a land of contrasts, a place where the new exists side by side with the old” (Davies 33). This statement indicates that the school uniform was adopted in the Meiji era and still exists, only its appearance and materials of manufacture are newer and improved.

Young people respect uniforms because it emphasizes belonging to an educational institution. It was decided to introduce it more than a hundred and fifty years ago. The idea was simple: children should not focus on the inequality of parents who cannot dress up children in the same way. Everyone has the same clothes, which means that children pay more attention to classes. In addition, uniforms and the rules of school life contribute to the development of a sense of harmony and collectivism in children. The school uniform is aimed at presenting the norms and rules of educational institutions and forming a culture of harmony of which students are a part (Namba 92). It should be remarked that the composition of classes changes every year. It is believed that this way children communicate more with each other, acquire communication skills. And this, in turn, leads to creating an atmosphere of patriotism towards the educational institution.

The requirements for the uniform are usually quite strict, so it is challenging to imagine that a student in Japan came to class dressed differently or violated the accepted rules. High school girls diligently shorten their uniform skirts, although the administration vigilantly monitors their length in some schools. Nevertheless, students wear their uniforms with pride, being another business card of the Land of the Rising Sun. Parents from an early age probably explain to the child how important it is to wear a uniform, how honorable and strict it is. Of course, children grow up and try to transform their form somehow to differ at least minimally from their peers, but one way or another, they continue to wear it throughout almost their entire life. This commitment of the Japanese to wearing a single clothing style clearly distinguishes them from other states that are not so focused on harmony in the country.

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A school uniform is a good idea for many reasons. First, is that it unites society and brings harmony into it. “… wearing the same clothes as others can lead to contentment: concealing economic inequality and lessening bullying and discrimination” (Namba 92). Although many may say that students become faceless with the same school uniform and do not differ, the same school uniform does not distinguish someone’s financial capabilities. It makes everyone equal to each other, and self-expression occurs at the expense of hairstyles and accessories. “… others object to such practices because of the belief that students’ freedom of expression is important for their ability to develop and embrace their characteristics” (Lee et al. 3). Girls can apply unusual makeup that will reflect their personality. In the case of boys, they can stand out due to stylish backpacks or shoes.

Second, it is the fact that students of different schools and universities feel proud of their educational institution and motivate them to study well. This is especially common in those schools where famous Japanese people studied. “Japan’s school uniform style is generally changed once a decade” (Cui et al. 3). Naturally, it is pleasant for modern students to demonstrate that they will probably be able to achieve what famous people and ancestors once achieved. Moreover, it motivates them to study better to justify their studies at a prestigious educational institution. “In addition to prestige, school uniforms symbolise purity” (Sabic-El-Rayess et al 2). The clean, ironed uniform is a very significant moment for Japan, symbolizing the seriousness of this nationality.

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Besides the positive aspects of wearing a uniform, there are also several negative aspects. According to many people, including parents of school students, uniforms do not allow children to express themselves by wearing different clothes. Although some people support wearing a uniform, since self-expression at the expense of clothing is not correct, there is also an opposite opinion. In addition, some children remain dissatisfied that they are obliged to dress like everyone else. Another disadvantage is that parents will need to incur significant financial expenses. “Education development organizations note that the direct cost of uniforms is a burden…” (Sabic-El-Rayess et al 2). This is due to the fact that in addition to the school uniform, which is necessary during training at an educational institution, parents will need to buy ordinary clothes so that the child can wear them during his free time from school.

In conclusion, the people of Japan are very fond of wearing a uniform and are happy to use this opportunity. Schoolchildren of different ages, employees of other companies from the smallest to large corporations, civil servants-all of them strive for harmony in society and create this by wearing a uniform. Provided that all people wear a uniform, there is no possibility of discrimination based on financial capabilities. A person is valued not for how expensive his clothes are but for his personal qualities. Subsequently, many quarrels and negativity are excluded, which means that there is peace and harmony in society.

Works Cited

Cui, Yumei, Fang, Xuemeng, Zhou, Honglei. “Green Design and Sustainable Development of School Uniforms.” Materials Science and Engineering, vol. 301, 2018, pp. 1-4.

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Davies, Roger. Japanese Culture: The Religious and Philosophical Foundations. Tuttle, 2016.

Lee, Sun, Ito, Takahiro, Kubota, Kohei, Ohtake, Fumio. “Reciprocal And Prosocial Tendencies Cultivated By Childhood School Experiences: School Uniforms And The Related Economic And Political Factors In Japan.” International Journal of Educational Development, vol. 83, 2021, pp. 1-13.

Namba, Tomoko. Fashion, Identity, and Power in Modern Asia. Edited by Kyunghee Pyun and Aida Yuen Wong, Macmillan, 2018.

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Sabic-El-Rayess, Amra. “School Uniform Policy’s Adverse Impact On Equity And Access To Schooling.” A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 2019, pp. 1 18.

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How would you describe a Japanese school uniform? ›

The uniform generally consists of a blouse attached with a sailor-style collar and a pleated skirt. There are seasonal variations for summer and winter; sleeve length and fabric are adjusted accordingly. A ribbon is tied in the front and laced through a loop attached to the blouse.

Why do Japanese schools wear uniforms? ›

Japanese school uniforms were first adopted more than a century ago to distinguish students attending elite institutes. The outfits have changed over time and are now standard attire at junior and senior high schools across the country. Loved by some and derided by others, they remain a central aspect of student life.

What do modern Japanese school uniforms look like? ›

Uniforms Today

They usually consist of a white dress shirt and slacks for boys, and a light blouse and skirt with a tie for girls. Students also have a casual sports uniform for physical activities and club practices.

Do Japanese schools wear uniforms? ›

Nearly all public and private students in Japan wear uniforms, although they are most common for junior high school and high school students. Each school has its own uniform, but most school uniforms are very similar. Boys' uniforms are based on 19th century Prussian military uniforms, and are usually black.

How would you describe a school uniform? ›

A school uniform is a standard set of clothes that students wear when they go to some schools. It might have a particular color of trousers or skirt, a matching shirt and sometimes a jacket or necktie, with matching shoes.

What is the traditional Japanese clothing describe it? ›

The kimono (着物), labelled the "national costume of Japan", is the most well-known form of traditional Japanese clothing. The kimono is worn wrapped around the body, left side over right, and is sometimes worn layered.

What do real Japanese uniforms look like? ›

Knee-length skirts and subdued colors like navy, black, or beige are most typical. The variety of uniforms is also not as wide as what you see portrayed in anime. There are a few basic uniform types. Blazers with pants or a skirt, sailor-style uniforms, and the gakuran – black uniform with a high collar are the norm.

Do Japanese students like uniforms? ›

In fact, they're almost universally hated because schools are often extremely strict about enforcing uniform rules–but the keyword there is almost. Some Japanese students are actually grateful that they had to wear uniforms.

When did Japanese students begin to wear school uniforms? ›

The beginning of the Japanese school uniform can be traced back to 1879, when the male children of Japan's nobility, then called <@kazoku|,i@> started wearing uniforms as they attended private schools. For women, the Japanese school uniform tradition started around 1900.

How much are Japanese school uniforms? ›

Current uniforms cost around 50,000 yen (about $430), but Uniqlo's cost only 10,000 to 12,000 yen (about $86 to 103) for the top and bottom, with some being home washable. Through online shopping, the clothing firm offers a variety of sizes that are close to custom-made.

How many schools in Japan wear uniforms? ›

Uniform wearing situation

The answer to “I wore a uniform” was 20.3% for elementary school, 94.5% for junior high school, and 88.6% for senior high school. Many answered that they wore a uniform in junior high school and senior high school.

What are 3 reasons why students should wear uniforms? ›

School uniforms keep students focused on their education, not their clothes. School uniforms create a level playing field among students, reducing peer pressure and bullying. Wearing uniforms enhances school pride, unity, and community spirit. School uniforms may improve attendance and discipline.

What is the school uniform essay? ›

Uniforms are practical since students do not need to fret about what to wear each new day. Besides, school uniform makes each student a part of the school. They are unified under their school name. Other practicalities of school uniforms are things like it is easy to spot a child in their uniform.

How do you describe a uniform? ›

A uniform is a special set of clothes which some people, for example soldiers or the police, wear to work in and which some children wear at school.

What is the Japanese clothing style? ›

Kimono. The most iconic and easily recognisable of all traditional Japanese wear, the kimono (着物) is still a staple piece for many Japanese people and is growing in international appeal too.

What type of clothing did the Japanese wear? ›

Kimono. When it comes to traditional Japanese clothing, the Kimono is king. However, despite literally meaning “thing to wear”, there are actually many different styles of Kimono – in excess of ten! The Kimono was originally accompanied by a long skirt called a Hakama.

What is Japanese fashion style called? ›

Gyaru (sometimes known as Ganguro, actually a subcategory of gyaru), is a type of Japanese street fashion that originated in the 1970s. Gyaru focuses on girly-glam style, dwelling on man-made beauty, such as wigs, fake lashes and fake nails. Gyaru is also heavily inspired by Western fashion.

What are Japanese school girl outfits called? ›

Kogal (コギャル, kogyaru) is a Japanese fashion culture that involves schoolgirls wearing an outfit based on Japanese school uniforms (or their actual uniforms) but with very short skirts. The short skirts are worn irrespective of the season. The girls may also wear loose socks and scarves, and have dyed hair.

Do Japanese schools allow girls to wear pants? ›

As a result, the uniform rules change was brought forward to November 2021, and female students could buy and wear pants in boys' sizes if they wished to do so. Maria Isogai, a second-year student, quickly started wearing pants to school.

Why are Japanese uniforms blue? ›

Q: Why is the Japan national soccer team's uniform blue? A: A common belief is that the uniform color "represents the blue sky and ocean symbolizing Japan's national territory", but this meaning was assigned later. The actual origin of the blue team color is undocumented and unknown.

How strict are Japanese school dress codes? ›

In the majority of elementary schools, students are not required to wear a uniform to school. Where they are required, many boys wear white shirts, short trousers, and caps. Young boys often dress more formally in their class pictures than they do other days of the school year.

Why do Japanese students wear uniforms on weekends? ›

Some might do it simply because they feel more comfortable in their uniform than in their everyday clothes, while others might do it to show their school pride. Some girls might also wear their uniform on weekends as a way to stand out from the crowd or to make a fashion statement.

Why are Japanese school uniforms expensive? ›

“School uniforms are already more expensive than the business suits we wear,” said Manabu Terata, an opposition lawmaker. “But these uniforms at Taimei Elementary School are especially questionable.” School uniforms tend to be expensive because they come with special school emblems, buttons and other designs.

Do uniforms save money? ›

Right off the bat we know that school uniforms save money by saving families about $80 per child on school clothing. In other words, how much do school uniforms cost compared to regular clothes? Well, you'll spend $80 less per child with a school uniform.

Are Japanese school uniforms like anime? ›

Most Japanese schools do have a uniform for students. But, real school uniforms are far less fashion-forward than what you see in anime. You won't find any student sporting pastel skirts or garish colored plaid pants. Uniforms lean toward the conservative.

What is Japanese style called? ›

Gyaru (sometimes known as Ganguro, actually a subcategory of gyaru), is a type of Japanese street fashion that originated in the 1970s. Gyaru focuses on girly-glam style, dwelling on man-made beauty, such as wigs, fake lashes and fake nails. Gyaru is also heavily inspired by Western fashion.

Why are Japanese uniforms short? ›

Japanese School Uniforms and Fashion Choices

They wear a miniskirt because they think that it is a kind of privilege during a time when they are young. This all might be based on the idea of Japanese people care about how they are looked at by others.

How much are Japanese uniforms? ›

Current uniforms cost around 50,000 yen (about $430), but Uniqlo's cost only 10,000 to 12,000 yen (about $86 to 103) for the top and bottom, with some being home washable.

How many uniforms does a Japanese student have? ›

Japanese middle and high school uniforms have 2 bundles for summer and winter along with athletic wear. There are other additional accessories as well that students usually wear such as a sweater for winter, socks, sneakers, bag, ties and ribbon.

What do Japanese schools look like? ›

Curriculum Outline

The Japanese school system primarily consists of six-year elementary schools, three-year junior high schools and three-year high schools, followed by a two-or-three-year junior colleges or a four-year colleges. Compulsory education lasts for 9 years through elementary and junior high school.

What clothes Japanese wear? ›

The traditional dress of Japan is the kimono. Kimonos, which are generally made of silk, have large sleeves and reach from the shoulders all the way down to the heels. They are tied with a wide belt called an obi.

Why do Japanese dress so well? ›

A common trait found in Japanese fashion trends is that they are centered around self-expression and taking risks. On average, Japanese are fashionable as fashion is a common way for an individual to distinguish themselves in homogenous societies.

What are the 3 styles of Japanese? ›

These three systems are called hiragana, katakana and kanji. If that sounds overwhelming, don't worry! Hiragana and katakana are easy enough to learn – and will be a big help if you're thinking about travelling to Japan, or learning basic Japanese. Learning kanji is a little trickier, but we'll come to that later.

Where did Japanese school uniforms come from? ›

Japan's current school uniforms can trace their beginnings to the Meiji period (1868-1912), when Gakushuin (an educational institution for the Imperial family and nobility at the time) adopted Navy-style uniforms.


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