Uniforms designed differently for females and males were once viewed as ‘standard attire’ for schools in Japan. However, as more nations embrace gender inclusivity, Japan is now also under way with its updates to its school uniforms to be more ‘inclusive’. Recently, about 40% of Japanese schools have started introducing ‘gender-neutral’ uniforms in their systems, so students can mix and match their school outfits depending on their preferences.
Based on the 2022 findings of Japan Wool Textile Co.’s, a textile company in Osaka, around 299 junior high schools and 133 senior high schools replaced their students’ uniforms out of consideration and support for gender or sexual minorities. The movement is a good way to break old gender codes when it comes to school clothing. These changes are believed not only to increase flexibility for the sake of comfort but also to promote acceptance regardless of the students’ gender choices.
Gender-Neutral School Uniforms
According to the Asahi Shimbun survey, 83.1% of high school students would like to have an ‘option’ when it comes to their uniforms. This finding revealed that the majority of the students feel uncomfortable with the mandatory gender-based uniforms.
To lessen the problems of the students when it comes to conventional school clothing, Japanese campuses are introducing a ‘selective’ system wherein genderless sets of uniforms, including blazers, skirts, pants, ties, and ribbons, are available for all students with diverse gender identities.
Genderless Sports Attire
In various countries, traditional sports uniforms are often designed differently for girls and boys, and these can be divided into different styles and colors. Meanwhile, Japan introduces numerous pieces of gender-neutral sports attire that students can choose from.
Gender-neutral School Swimwear and Bags
Last year, the first-ever genderless school swimwear was produced in Japan, and three campuses have introduced it to their students during the current academic year. Ten more schools are also considering implementing genderless swimwear in their systems in the subsequent year.
Aside from clothes, Japan is also producing genderless Japanese school bags, also known as Randoseru backpacks. More color choices are now available, contrary to the traditional black and red options for boys and girls, respectively. This is a good step to breaking gender stereotypes imposed by society for a very long time.
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