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Let's discuss school uniforms

This week’s featured article

AFP-JIJI, KYODO, STAFF REPORT

Tokyo’s Nakano Ward has decided to allow female students at all municipal junior high schools to choose pants as part of their uniforms starting from April.

Setagaya Ward will also allow the option for girls entering their first year at its municipal junior high schools in April, sources said Friday. The ward has 29 junior high schools.

Through these moves, the wards hope to create school environments in which children respect diverse backgrounds, including those of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Naoto Sakai, Nakano Ward’s mayor, said the decision was made after a female student in her final year of elementary school handed him a class survey showing that a majority of students would rather wear pants at junior high school.

“We have listened to the children,” he said.

Five of the ward’s 10 junior high schools already allow girls to choose between wearing skirts or pants on a daily basis, depending on weather conditions and mobility needs.

Nakano’s board of education confirmed that the pants option will be offered at the remaining five schools.

While the ward has yet to examine the idea of allowing male students to wear skirts, in part due to fears that such students may be bullied, Sakai acknowledged that “some boys may prefer skirts.”

Therefore, the ward has asked the principals of each school to discuss the matter, he added.

In Setagaya, new female junior high school students can wear pants as soon as their schools make the appropriate preparations.

In April 2015, the education ministry asked schools throughout Japan to show consideration for their students in part by allowing them to wear the uniforms of their self-identified genders.

Given the request, an increasing number of schools are changing girls’ school uniforms from sailor-style tops to blazers that match those worn by male students.

First published in The Japan Times on Feb. 2.

Warm up

One-minute chat about junior high school.

Game

Collect words related to school uniforms, e.g., wear, shopping, skirt.

New words

1) municipal: of local government, e.g., “There will be a municipal election soon.”

2) mobility: the quality of moving freely, e.g., “A good company allows upward mobility, where workers can get promotions.”

Guess the headline

Two Tokyo wards to allow female students to wear p_ _ _ _ for school u_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Questions

1) What change is discussed in the article?

2) Why is the change being introduced?

3) Are boys and girls both able to choose their uniforms?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What was your school uniform like?

2) What do you think about this change in school uniforms in Tokyo?

Reference

学校の制服は女性がスカート、男性がパンツのスタイルであるということが長きにわたって定番でしたが、少しずつ変化が見られているようです。アイデンティティーの多様性が声高らかに訴えられるようになった今、個性を表現する1つのツールとしてファッションの多様性にも注目が集まるようになりました。学校という統制の力が比較的強く働く現場において、生徒たちの服装はどのように変わっていくのでしょうか。

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