A Japanese teenager is suing her school for forcing her to darken her natural brown hair


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/30/a-japanese-teenager-is-suing-h.html


#2

We have some people here in the BB community that are in Japan i believe, or that lived there in the past. I am curious if the problem is uncommon or if other schools have similarly restrictive rules for students. I understand having standards for not showing up with hair in bright unnatural colors and the like, but natural brown hair? Strikes me as odd.


#3

You have got to be freaking kidding me. They seem so polite and meek but in their hearts is this (I know what I said is pretty racist - and I’m only making a point… don’t ask me which one). Would they also not let mixed race children come to school unless they bleached their skin (I remember seeing a 60 min piece on a mixed race black-American Japanese kid growing up there).

Someone (Japan) is about to get a crash coarse in growing the hell up.


#4

it’s linked to in the original article, but hey…


#5

This guy tackles (unscientifically) a lot of these weird questions about Japan which might be super rude for a foreigner to ask a Japanese person driectly. And he has some nice lessons on speaking Japanese.

He’s got a few episodes where he interviews mixed race Japanese–admittedly in Tokyo, which is one of the more multi-cultural parts of the country, but still…

ETA: With regards to the uniformity that the culture there demands, they have a saying, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down”.


#6

Hm. Read the linked article and it does seem that most schools and even work places heavily discriminate based on hair color and even naturally non-straight hair.


#7

Hmm, I wonder if forced sameness contributes to declining innovation?


#8

Contributes to their rapidly declining demographics i would say.


#9

As much as we enjoy all of the cool things about Japan, it can be stiflingly oppressive for people that must live there, but don’t conform in one way or the other. Same is true, but less so, for China and many other countries including much of the Muslim world. Cherishing individuality is a fairly western thing. Don’t even think about trying to immigrate to most countries, unless you are racially and culturally “appropriate.” The U.S. has serious problems, magnified recently, with embracing diversity, but remains quite open compared with most of the world.


#10

Reminds me of this but underpinned by slightly different social issues
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/letters/2017/05/15/school-rebuked-for-its-hair-policy/rAFrPxsZTswgr29bjS7Q9O/story.html


#11

This may just be one of the dumbest most trivial authoritarian restrictions that I’ve ever heard of.

How exactly does everyone having straight black hair aid in advancing their education, in any way?

I get the whole ‘unnatural colors are a distraction’ argument, (though I think that one is stupid and superficial as well) but forcing people to dye or straighten their natural hair as a part of forced assimilation is just a control freak measure.


#12

I was a blond child in 1st grade in a bog standard elementary school in Kyoto. And mostly adored in the entire neighbourhood for my blond hair. Although I did spend a considerable amount of the first few weeks in school beating up other kids who I (not speaking a word of Japanese) assumed were teasing me.


#13

My take on it is that it’s old school thinking and policies that are cracking under new young generations of Japanese. I know Japan has been pretty hard headed over keeping themselves proudly Japanese, so these policies strike me as making sense with that line of thought. “You should look, act, and be as Japanese as possible”, which is why immigration has been so contentious with Japan since… well… ever.


#14

If what you say is true, then I am genuinely concerned for the rest of the world. (signed: a prole in these Trumpian times)


#15

Younger generations are pretty infatuated with the a-typical look they’re used to i would guess. When i lived in Reno in my college years the majority of my friends were Asian, and among those most were Japanese. It was during a time when i was growing my hair out so it was really curly, and i have very soft hair and for whatever reason my Japanese friends (both male and female) were very infatuated with it. They couldn’t help but want to touch and stroke my hair when we were hanging out.


#16

I will say it again, Japan is confusing. Weird, awesome, a little fucked up, and confusing. I guess that’s why I love visiting there.


#17

I’ve heard that discrimination is a thing in some parts of Japan, and that some establishments have signs that say “Japanese Only.” I read about one particular person who is a Japanese citizen but was still denied entry to establishments even after showing his Japan passport due to the fact the he was Caucasian.


#18

My daughter just returned from her Junior year of High School as an exchange student in Sapporo, Japan, so I asked her about this.

It’s definitely a thing. They would have monthly checks at school, and colored hair, long and/or painted nails, and earrings were all forbidden. Hair that was naturally not-black was allowed, but was very uncommon.


#19

And now they’re finding that their population is slowly shrinking; surprise, surprise.


#20

Lived in Japan as a kid with blond hair, and my sister with curly brown hair. The school didn’t make too much fuss (made my sister always single braid it). But the kids loved our hair; it was like being the bunny at the petting zoo. I always wore a hat with the integrated ear flaps that go around the back of the head to keep the teenage girls off me.