We note a variety of schoolwear styles. These styles have changed over time with differeing attitudes toward school wear as well as adjustments affected by fashion trends. Regional trends are aldso a factor. Most Japanese studemnts wore school uniforms in the early 20th century. These were simple uniformds with a simple military style. The boys worn uniforms with A Prussian cadet look--especially the secondary schools. The girls wore British looking sailor dresses. After World war II, attitudes changed. Many primary schools dropped uniform requirements. Quite a number of schools continued to require a uniform, but the uniforms adopted at most schools no longer had a military look. The styles adoopted had a European look. Most secondary schools, however, retained the military looking school uniform. These military uniforms are still widely worn at secondary schools, but some schools have adopted British-style blazers.
There are two basic school uniform styles used at Japanese scools: military and civilian styles. The military style was a Prussian cadet style adopted in the late 19th century when Japan first began building a modern eductionl system. Sailor outfits based on Royal Navy styles were adopted for girls, but educating girls was not initually a priority. Until after Word War II we have also seen boys wering what looks like Japanese army uniforms. The Prussian cadet uniforms were done with some differences as to detail, but rge style was very similar. We also note a variety of civilian styles. The basic style at many schools was a white shirt and blue short pants, specially during the summer. We also notice schools with British style blazers, argough not the variety of colors found in Britain. Some schools had suits, usually grey or blue.
We note several different factors that affect schoolwear styles in Japan. Age is of course an important factor. There are substantial differences for children of varying ages, especially the boys. Chronological trends are important. Schoolwear styles have changed considerably over time with differeing attitudes toward schoolwear as well as adjustments affected by overall fashion trends. There are also iknteresting historical factors. Regional trends are also a factor, although we have little information at this time. Of course there are also destinctive gender-based styles. Styles for boys and girls are very different. The standard uniform for girls was a sailor dress while boys wore a Prussian cadet suit. Uniforms are today more varied, but pants are still for boys and dresses or skirts for girls.
Modern Japan is a wonderful collage of traditional Japanese and Western influences. Actually even more interesting is that the Western influences are not all modern imports, some date from the 19th century. A national education system was one of the important reforms of the 19th century Menji Restoration that fashioned modern Japan. Thus it is understandable that the Japanese selected European styles for school uniforms. Here they chose Prusian cadet styles for the boys' uniform and British sailor styles for the girls uniform. Curiously at the time the military cadet styles were being worn in some European schools, but sailor dresses were not being used as school uniforms. European girls were wearing sailor dresses, but they wre not school uniforms. What is interesting is how foreign influences once adopted become locked into and do not change. Thus these raditional styles are very common in Japan while they have disappeared in europe where they have originated. These are not the only school uniform styles, however tey are very common. Thus the situation in Japan is that while traditional Japanese clothing is not worn, school wear is today a mix of Western 19th century and 21st century styles.
Japanese schools appear to have a strong preference for blue. I am not sure why this is. Historic styles were Prussian cadet uniforms for boys and sailor suits for girls. Both of these styles were dark or navy blue. Perhaps this is why so many primary schools that have uniforms have adopted blue and white uniforms. Mistly white shirts with blue shorts or skirts. Blue is not the only color. We note some schools, for example, which have grey uniforms. Other colors are much less common. It is difficult to quantigy, but we would estimate that something like 90 percent of the scghools that have uniforms have blue and white uniforms. There appear somewhat more variety at private than state schools.
Most Japanese students wore school uniforms in the early 20th century. After the War many but not all primary schools dropped uniforms. About a third of primary schools retained uniforms andcseveral styles were adopted. The secondary schools did not drop uniforms and most retained the standard Prussian cadet and sailor suit uniform worn before the War. Primary schools in the early 20th century hadsimple uniformds with a simple military style. The boys generally wore long knee-length shorts. Often schools in rural arwas were less strict about a uniform. The boys worn uniforms with A prussian look--especially the secondary schools. The girls wore British looking sailor dresses. After World War II, attitudes changed. Many primary schools dropped uniform requirements. Quite a number of schools continued to require a uniform, but the uniforms adopted at most schoolds no longer had a military look. A common uniform were sweaters and short pants. The shorts were often quite short. Both ankle and kneesocks were worn. Some younger boys wore tights. Some schools had blazers. Schools varied on their choice of headear, if any was chosen. The styles adoopted had a European look. The Prussian cadet uniforms and sailor dresses were worn in Japanese secondary schools beginning in the late 19th century. Few Japanese girls attended secondary school until well into the 20th centuty. Unlike primary schools, most secondary schools retained the military looking school uniform even after World War II. These military uniforms are still widely worn at secondary schools, but some schools have adooted British-style blazers. Most secondary schools, however, retained the military looking school uniform. These military uniforms are still widely worn at secondary schools, but some schools have adooted British-style blazers. These new styles are still worn at a minority of schools, but the number is increasing.
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