We have developed some basic information about the garments worn by Japanese school, both uniform and regular garments. We also note traditional and Western styles. For the most part the basic garments are the same as those worn in other countries, although the styling has tended to follow a different time line than in the West. There have been major shifts such as with the opening to the west followed by the Meiji Restoration when a public school system was founded. The next major shidt was World War II and the american occupation. The most destinctive aspect of Japanese school uniforms has been the headwear worn by the children. There are also variations involving privar and public schools and uniform and non-uniform schols.
Many Japanese school children, about two-thirds of the primary school children, since World War II do not wear school uniforms. Rather they wear their regular clothes to school. Thus dress at these schools follow the fashion trends of the day. Boys at these schools wore the short cut short pants popular until the 1990s. Boys are now wearing the longer cut shorts or even long pants like boys in Europe.
This section will discuss Japanese school garments in general. We should have begun with this section, but did not. we are now constructing it in ddition to the other garment pages which hone in to the types of schools and uniform and non uniform garments. Right now we only have the link to the long stocking pages, but will work to link the other general gatments pages.
There are some garments that are not precisely uniform garments. They are worn at both uniform and non-uniform schools. Many non-uniform schools have the children wear brightly colored caps. At sime scools they are presented to the children on the first day of school when the teachers go over safety precautions with the children. These brightly colored caps are most common at non-uniform schools. Uniform schools are more likely to have blue or white caps to match their uniforms. The syles of the brightly colored caps vary, but baseball caps are very poplar. Another garment worn at all schools are slippers. When the children arrive at school, they take off their shoes and put on slippers. This is a common practice in the home as well and of course helps to keep the school clean. As far as we know the slippers are not uniform styles. We see children wearing a wide range of colors and styles. They are worn at both uniform and non-uniform schools.
Japanese school uniforms vary depending on age, type of school, and gender. They basically wear uniform garments adopted from western countries, although in some cases styles that are well over 100 years old. Many public elementary schools do not wear uniforms, but just their ordinary clothes. Most other school children do wear uniforms. Some of the garments are quite similar to schoolwear in Western countries. Japan is a very traditional country and some schools have distinctive uniform items, especailly caps, or styles that were formerly worn by European school children. Details on some of the principal garments worn by Japanese school children are available here.
Japanese schools that adopted uniforms tended to be strict about the garments worn. Some schools were somewhat flexible about hosiery and footwear. These were the only uniform itens that schools seem willing to permit some variance among th children with uniform rules. We see boys wearing both knee socks and ankle socks at some svhhol, but not different colors, probanly becaus this stood out more. This was not the case in all uniform schools, but we do notice it at some schools. As to the other garments, most uniforms were quite strict about wearing the required items. We see countless images of Japanese scvhools with all the children cottrctly wearing the required uniform. We have noted a few schools where there was some diversity in dress, not many but we have noted a few but this was rather unusual. For the most part we notice a very high level of compliance with school uniform rules at Japanese schools. We see a far higher level of compliance with school rules in general than at american schools. An here we mean both oin the part of the chilkdren and the parents as well.
While many Japanese schools have formal muniform regulations, some schools have pursued a very different policy toward uniforms and school clothes. Most American mothers are inclined to wrap the little ones up during the winter and keep them as warm as possible. Some Japanese educators believe that this is the wrong approach. And that this just makes them more vulnerable to viruses and getting sick. There idea is to expose them to the weather mote, even in the winter. Thetheory is that this will help build up their imune system. Some children come to school without shirts are take off therir shirts when they get to school. We are not sure just what the temperature perameters are here. Wwe have seen photographs of these children attending school in the snow. Obviously they could not go to school like this in freezing temperatures. Regulations vary from school to dchool. The children wear shorts and while at school are often, but not awlays barefoot. We think these schools are mostly kinfergartens, but some primarily schools may have partially adopted this approsch. We are not sure how beneficial this approach is. Surely some studies exist as to what impact this has on student health. Perhaps our Japanese readrs will know.
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