Osaka – Osaka District Court ruled on Tuesday that it is legitimate for a prefecture-run high school to ask its students to dye their brown hair black under school regulations and instructions.
In a lawsuit filed by a 21-year-old woman in 2017, the court, however, ordered the Osaka Prefectural Government to pay ¥330,000 to her for failing to include her name in attendance records after she stopped going school.
The woman sought some ¥2.2 million in damages from the prefectural government, claiming that she suffered mental distress as she became a truant student after she was ordered by teachers to dye her hair black. The school regulations ban brown hair.
“The school regulations are reasonable in light of conventional wisdom, and hair color instructions are based on a legitimate purpose under the school education act,” presiding Judge Noriko Yokota said.
Yokota also rejected the woman’s claim that her natural hair color is brown.
On the school failing to include her name in the attendance records when she advanced to the third year and not assigning her a seat in a classroom, the judge said that the school’s decision was extremely inappropriate, and that the school abused its discretionary power.
According to the ruling, the woman entered Osaka Prefecture Kaifukan Senior High School in Habikino in April 2015.
After she was repeatedly instructed to dye her brown hair black for violating the school regulations, she stopped attending the school in September 2016 when she was a second-year student.
The lawyer for the woman said at a news conference that the ruling is regrettable, adding that the court decision that her natural hair color is black is an unjustifiable factual error.
An official of the prefectural bureau of education said its position on school regulations and instructions was accepted. Regarding the school’s failure to include the woman’s name in the student list, the official said the bureau will work to prevent a recurrence.
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