Saturday, September 3, 2011

School Uniforms (Gakusei-Fuku /Seifuku)

Local school's uniform.
Although its not the beginning of school for kids on Japanese school year schedule, it is for my kids which prompts me to write about school uniforms.  I think uniforms were such a rarity where we lived in America, that I can only think of one private school in town where the kids wore uniforms.  I personally think they are a great idea, even though I have heard they are quite expensive in Japan.  Some schools include the uniform fee in their tuition.   At least it eliminates the worry about what to wear everyday. 

It is a very common sight in Japan to see children in public, private, and International Schools wear uniforms.  Most children from preschool through High School and even some women's colleges require students to wear school uniforms.  While the sailor uniform used to be a very popular uniform for girls, most kids around where we live, or that I see on the train, wear a parochial-style uniform that includes the following:

  • Yochien (Kindergarten) girls- pinafore, shirt, socks, jacket and hat.
  • Yochien (Kindergarten) boys- shorts, shirt, suspenders, socks, jacket and hat.
  • Elementary/High School girls- pleated skirts, white shirt, tie, blue or white socks that go mid-way up the calf, loafers, and sweater or blazer with school crest.
  • Elementary/High School boys- dress pants, white shirt, tie, blazer with school crest.  
Ready for yochien.
The above are just some random observations I've made.   There may be variations of the uniforms depending on the school and season.  What I do find interesting is that I've seen High School girls hike, or roll up their skirts so they are quite short.  High School boys, when not in school,  may take off their tie and lower their pants.  Instead of judging these kids, I've come to realize its just a way of being individual in a world where all your peers dress the same. 

Formal Friday uniform at International School.

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