Things are so bad, an organization was formed to investigate these ridiculous rules.
We’ve seen a lot of bizarre rules in Japanese schools, everything from students being forced to bow and kneel to their teachers in a cult-like ceremony, to a girl with naturally-brown hair having to dye her hair black… ironically to enforce the school’s “no dyed hair” policy.
In fact, it was after that dyed hair event that the NPO Burakku Kosoku wo Nakuso! (Let’s Eliminate “Black” School Rules!) was established. Here the “black” is the same as in “black companies,” organizations that have no concern for the well-being of their workers—or in this case, students.
After running a survey last March, they found that two-thirds of middle schoolers and one-half of high schoolers have experienced some form of “black” school rules. Here’s some of the examples that were given:
“Students can only wear certain colors of underwear.”
“Students are not allowed to have ponytails.”
“Students are only allowed three sneezes in class.”
“Students must get permission from a teacher to cut their hair over summer vacation.”
“Male and female students must have two meters (6.5 feet) of distance between them.”
“Students are not allowed to wear scarves during exams.”
▼ Okay, the other rules were whatever,
but scarves is clearly where we must draw the line!
Additionally, thesese aren’t just isolated cases in one or two schools. the survey also found that twenty percent of high school students with naturally-brown hair were forced to dye it black at some point, and that one out of every six middle school students had an official school rule regarding the color of their underwear.
Here’s how Japanese netizens responded to the ridiculous rules:
“That’s just school faculty being stupid.”
“If there are too many strict rules, that will just result in less of them being followed.”
“When I was on my period during school, they wouldn’t let me take a break during gym class and forced me to run around campus.”
“We had fingernail inspections and made us cut off any white sections.”
“Coats and were forbidden at my school, even on days so cold the trains stopped.”
“For the sneezing thing, I guess you could just hold them all in for one giant sneeze?”
“I’ve sneezed 10 times in one minute before. I’d get in so much trouble.”
Sneezing strategies aside, it’d be one thing if these school rules were just relics of the past that weren’t actually enforced. But the fact that so many students have had negative experiences with them shows that they may be reaching a breaking point.
Perhaps Japan could take a page out of Finland’s school system, where the students are not only the best educated in the world, but also have the most freedom. Not only can they lie down in class, study what they like, and have almost no homework, but they can even sneeze whenever they want! Imagine that.