Some Japanese school regulations don’t make sense!


Stereotypically, Japan really likes their sense of social conformity and the comforts of their steadfast rules. The socialization of Japanese children as honest and discreet citizens begins at a young age and is encouraged by the country’s education system. Rules regarding clothing and classroom behavior are necessary in the school setting in any country, but attempts by institutions to control their students appear particularly important in Japan.

Yet there are certain rules that even people who grew up within the Japanese system find particularly confusing, if not downright uninformed. When asked in an online survey how many people thought their school had kinds of weird rules, 12.5 percent of respondents answered “yes”. That may not seem like a very high number, but when asked to go into the details of these unconventional guidelines, the results were still rather surprising. Here is a short list of weird guidelines supported by some Japanese schools.

*** Please note that all comments were made by Japanese people who are now in their 20s and anything in parentheses is my personal comment ***

The confused demands began as early as nursery and primary school.

  • Kindergartens must be barefoot. (Just inside or all the time?)
  • You must go to school in uniform and then put on your PE uniform when you arrive. You must wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Still, you can’t ride a bike on the streets, only in the park. (At least I agree with the helmet thing …)

In high school the rules are much more severe on appearance.

  • You must wear socks. (Wait, isn’t that cheap?)
  • Sweaters cannot be worn on the way to school as they create a sloppy appearance. You must wear your jacket over any shirt or sweater. (I can’t have warm looking kids on the way to school…)
  • Only third year students are allowed to carry school bags. (In this case, I have to assume they’re the only ones who have to do their homework.)
  • A girl’s bangs cannot go beyond her eyebrows. (But what if you try to grow them?)
  • A boy’s hair should be short enough in the back that it does not reach the nape of the neck. (No mules at this school.)

Yet the majority of the weird rules came from the nation high schools.

  • No love implications. (Because banning relationships will certainly keep teens focused on their studies rather than sex…)
  • Self-study time can be taken at any time of the day. Ask a teacher and you can use class time from another subject to study on your own. (Kids only learn things in high school anyway.)
  • You cannot wear more than one lucky bracelet. (Two would be considered cheating.)
  • A boy’s hair should be cut close to his ears. Hair cannot be cut to contain layers. And, no hairstyle is allowed, especially no hair wax. (Can we just get a diagram of all the approved haircuts? That would probably be faster than trying to list what’s prohibited.)
  • Shoes cannot have wooden soles. (Where would you even buy shoes like this in Japan ?!)
  • There are no regulations. Personal clothing, shoes, accessories, and dyed hair are all acceptable. (So ​​this one is basically like an American public school!)

I have to say that a lot of things on this list certainly seem to go beyond common issues that might hinder a student’s ability to learn. Although to be honest what I find even more surprising is the number of things not be on this list!

When I worked as an English teacher for elementary and high school students here in Japan, girls were not allowed to shave their legs, put on makeup, or even to pluck your eyebrows, because they should focus on learning rather than worrying about how they look. If a girl’s hair was longer than the shoulders, it should be worn in a ponytail or braids. Accessories and jewelry were strictly prohibited. Everyone was to change into a separate pair of indoor shoes or slippers to use indoors, and each day, either around lunchtime or at the end of the sixth period, students were to clean up the room. school instead of janitors. As an American I was surprised at first and it took a while to adjust.

In the end, it just shows that every culture is different and adheres to different sets of values. We can laugh at these things that seem a little illogical to us, but the point is, these “strange” rules and practices are what made Japan the country it is today, a country we know by chance. . love.

You have surely encountered some sort of obscure direction in your own time, whether it is inside the classroom or outside of school. Why not share your experiences in the comments?

Source: Nico Nico News via Hachima Kikou (Japanese)
Image: Wikimedia

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