City of Japan launches standardized school uniforms; students free to choose skirt, pants

SUSONO, Shizuoka — Students starting at this central Japanese city’s five high schools in the spring of 2023 will all wear the same basic uniform, the municipal government has announced.

New junior high students in Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture will have uniform jackets for winter and navy blue polo shirts for summer, with each student, regardless of gender, allowed to choose between pants and regular skirts, ribbons and ties to go with jackets and shirts.

The five schools’ current uniforms include high-necked jackets for boys and sailor-style tops and skirts for girls. However, some issues have been reported, including that they are not made to deal with global warming, differences in the price of uniforms between schools, gendered clothing incompatible with today’s diversity ideals, and the difficulty in reusing uniforms due to their lack of versatility. .

The city government set up a committee in fiscal year 2021 to study uniform issues. Since the new uniforms eliminate gender distinctions, they can be reused. Meanwhile, schools will allow new students to wear the current uniforms passed down from their older graduating siblings.

Susono is the first municipality in Shizuoka Prefecture to standardize all of its high school uniforms. Elsewhere in the prefecture, the city of Kakegawa is working to introduce standardized uniforms at the city’s nine middle schools for new students entering in the spring of 2024.

Susono Municipal Government School Education Division Chief Kiyoshi Watanabe said, “We have made changes (to school uniforms) to match the times and changes in society.”

(Japanese original by Hiroshi Ishikawa, Numazu Local Office)

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