Japanese School Headwear: Conventions

Figure 1.--Here we see a primary school graduation in 2004. ( 卒業式への参加 平成15年3月19日 --金) It is a good example of how dating is different in Japan than in West. Notice that they still count years as term of emperor's reign so 2004 is 15th year of Akhito's reign and graduation was March 19. The school has a cadet-style uniforms. The boys wear the traditional cadet jackets. The girls also wear a cadet jacket which was not very common. Their jackets are styled less militarily differently than those of the boys and without the brass buttons. They also wear white Peter Pan collars. All the children have non-matching headwear done in bright yellow. The girls wear the soft-rounded crown hats which at some schools were also worn by the boys at many schools. The boys here wear baseball caps.

Japanese school headwear are a matter of fashion. They are not worn for warmth or other inclemet weather. Headwear conventions are in part something which both Japanese uniform and non-uniform schools have in common. Most Japanese schools with uniforms have caps. We note both matching and non-matching styles and colors. The non-matching headwear is a fairly recent innovation. Even schools which do not have uniforms often incourage boys to wear caps, commonly they have a uniform cap. This is the one piece of uniform that is worn at the many different Japanese schools. Both primary and secondary schools have required caps. Headwear has become increasiongly common at primary schools, largely as a safety measure. While once almost universal, some secondary schools, however, that have dropped the traditional military cadet cap. Schools that have adopted the new blazer uniform, no longer require headwear. Caps continue to be worn with the now traditional secondary school cadet uniform and at primary schools. A few of the secondary schools still retaining the cadet uniforms have dropped the cap. We are not sure just why. We re not sure why caps are so commonly worn at Japanese schools, except the safety factor at primary schools. There are gender conventions concerning headwear, but most styles areworn by both boys and girls. At some schools the children wear the same styles, but usually they are different styles. Headwear in general had declined in popularity in Japan, the same trend as in the West. Even so, many schools continue to require headwear. Thos is probably just a tendency seen in other countries that school uniform styles persist over time regardless of general fashion trends.


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Created: 5:07 PM 12/20/2012
Last updated: 5:07 PM 12/20/2012