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I have been watching with interest the recommendations made by the educational reform committee, and would like to make a suggestion that would, I think, really make an impression on all who became involved with its implementation. My suggestion is that all school uniforms be changed back to the kimono and hakama style of prewar days.

Reasoning: The students themselves would have to learn how to wear their uniforms correctly, a lost art to most Japanese children, and there could be very little done to alter the lengths of their skirts. The loose-socks brigade would also lose their hold on the children if their shoes to school were boots and inside they had to wear geta! I am sure they would be inventive and find new ways of expression. Still, if you don’t wear these particular garments properly, they come apart or fall off.

For society, benefits would be abundant. Traditional industries (kimono, hakama, geta) would gain a new lease on life. The sudden influx of kimono and hakama-clad youngsters on trains, buses and city streets would remind us all of where we are, and for the Japanese, where their real identities lie. Perhaps the use of the garments would rekindle ties between generations and lead to more communal spirit and pride. It couldn’t hurt the Japanese tourism industry either.

Schools should just try it for two years and see what effect it has on teachers (who should wear them, too) and students. Sometimes when you are sick, the best way to recover is to go back to the basics and start again.

cynthia keith

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