Like a lot of colleges in Japan, wherever most men and women are born with straight, black hair, the Kaifukan Senior Higher College in Osaka is fussy about students’ appearances. Perms and braided extensions are off limits, as are dyed and bleached hair.
One particular brown-haired Japanese-born pupil ran into difficulty when college officials, believing that she had flouted the guidelines, checked her roots and repeatedly demanded that she dye it black. Although the pupil dyed her hair at to start with, she ultimately stopped complying.
The college then eliminated her desk from the classroom, erased her identify from college rosters and barred her from a college journey. In 2017, when the pupil was 18, she sued the Osaka Prefecture, which runs the college, alleging psychological distress.
On Tuesday, the District Court of Osaka ordered the regional government to shell out her $three,one hundred in emotional damages. The pupil had initially sought $twenty,780 in damages.
But in a statement denounced by pupil advocates, the judge also ruled that the school’s enforcement of look-linked rules did not run afoul of the law, and that there had been “reasonable grounds” to think that the pupil had naturally black hair.
The situation set off a nationwide reckoning above invasive college guidelines and an outcry towards rules that left very little space for pupil individuality. Activist groups started off petitions demanding improvements to guidelines that dictate the length of students’ hair, skirts and, in some situations, the shade of their underwear.
Japan is not the only nation in the area, nevertheless, to police hair shade in younger females. Final yr, two women’s soccer teams at Chinese universities had been barred from participating in a match due to the fact gamers had dyed hair, which was towards the guidelines. When one particular player was judged not to have “black enough” hair, she was ordered to depart the game, forcing her crew to forfeit the match.
Kayoko Oshima, a professor of policy at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, explained in a tv interview on Tuesday that some college guidelines had been important, but that in this situation, “the hair advice induced the lady to stay away from going to college and took away a mastering chance.” Professor Oshima extra, “In this era, when there are worldwide interactions with men and women who have unique eyes and hair, is it acceptable for colleges to ban dyed or permed hair? We have to reconsider.”
In accordance to a plaintiff’s petition filed in 2017, the student’s mom informed the college that her daughter had naturally brown hair. But teachers stored pressing the pupil to darken her hair. She utilized black dye so normally that she formulated rashes and scalp ache just before she stopped going to class in September 2016 due to the fact of the pressure.
The Osaka government argued that a vice principal had inspected the student’s roots and had discovered them to be black, which the college interpreted as proof that she had been coloring her hair.
The pupil, who has not been recognized, could not be reached for comment. Neither could her attorney, Yoshiyuki Hayashi, who explained in a information conference on Tuesday that he would appeal the ruling. He explained that the court had erred in identifying that the student’s all-natural hair shade was black.
In the court ruling, Judge Noriko Yokota criticized the Osaka higher college for scrubbing the student’s identify from college data, saying that “its actions lacked significant legitimacy.” But Judge Yokota rejected the student’s declare about her naturally brown hair, incorporating that the rules on pupil look served a respectable function and that it was acceptable for the college to deliver “hair guidance” and to perform inspections to make confident people guidelines had been followed.
In the wake of the lawsuit, the scrutiny utilized to Japanese college guidelines has led to modest improvements in some colleges because the situation was filed.
As of 2018, forty % of public higher colleges in Osaka Prefecture have reworded guidelines explicitly banning brown or curly hair, changing them with prohibitions on hair that was “intentionally” dyed or permed, Osaka’s training board explained. And in 2019, Tokyo’s training authorities barred colleges from instructing college students with lighter hair to dye it black.
The principal of the Kaifukan Senior Higher College, Masahiko Takashi, explained on Tuesday that guidelines for hair look remained the very same at his college. He explained he would consider to make clear its intentions to college students and mothers and fathers.
“When it comes to college students with dyed hair, I have not altered the specifications for college students to alter it back to black,” he explained at a information conference. “But I want to consider this lawsuit as a lesson and deliver fine-tuned advice for my college students.”
Makiko Inoue contributed reporting.