Home Podcasts Ichimon Japan Why are school rules in Japan so strict? (All About Kōsoku) | Ichimon Japan 23

Why are school rules in Japan so strict? (All About Kōsoku) | Ichimon Japan 23

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Today’s Question

On this episode of Ichimon Japan we ask: Why are school rules in Japan so strict?

Topics Discussed

  • Experiences working at and attending Japanese schools
  • A selection of “weird” school rules (kōsoku) from across Japan
  • The history behind why school rules became strict in Japan
  • The case of a female high school student who filed a lawsuit after her school did not allow her to attend classes due to her refusal to dye her hair black
  • The paradoxes surrounding rules restricting dying and perming one’s hair
  • Mandatory hair drying
  • Mandatory perms for students with naturally curly hair
  • Students having to prove that they were not born with black hair
  • A survey that sheds light on what some students and teachers think of Japan’s school rules
  • The justifications behind the strict school rule “mentality” that is often seen in Japan
  • Trying to protect girls through the implementation of rules that shame and blame them
  • And much more!

Note: As always, there are many more aspects to this topic that we could have covered, including how modern day schools in Japan have been shaped by policies implemented during the Meiji and early Showa (before and during WWII) eras. However, addressing that aspect of this topic would have led to a far lengthier discussion and thus it was decided to focus only on recent history for this episode.

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Sources, Links, Videos, Etc.

Here are some of the main English-language articles that served as references for this episode.

To listen to the Kamon Tatsuo song mentioned in this episode, use the link below. The song is titled “Hontō ni Atta Kowai Kōsoku,” which means “Scary School Rules that Actually Existed.”

These are the main Japanese-language articles used as sources for this episode.

The Japanese-language article containing the information about the Procter & Gamble Japan survey that asked teachers and students about school regulations can be found below.

To listen to the latest episode of Japan Station, use the link below.

Japanese Vocabulary List

Most episodes feature at least one or two interesting Japanese words or phrases. Here’s some of the ones that came up on this episode. All information is from Jim Breen’s WWWJDIC.

  • Kōsoku
    • 校則 【こうそく】 (n) school regulations
  • Hizakake
    • ひざ掛け 【ひざかけ】 (n) lap blanket
  • Rappanomi
    • らっぱ飲み : 喇叭飲み; らっぱ飲み; ラッパ飲み 【らっぱのみ(喇叭飲み,らっぱ飲み); ラッパのみ(ラッパ飲み)】 (n,vs) drinking straight from a bottle
  • Tai’ikukai
    • 体育会系に from 体育会系 【たいいくかいけい】 (adj-no) sports-minded; sports-oriented
  • Bunkasai
    • 文化祭 【ぶんかさい】 (n) school festival; cultural festival; arts festival
  •  Geta
    • 下駄 【げた】 (n) (1) geta; Japanese wooden clogs
  • Yukata
    • 浴衣 【ゆかた(P); よくい】 (n) (See 湯帷子) yukata (light cotton kimono worn in the summer or used as a bathrobe)
  • Fundoshi
    • ふんどし (n) (1) fundoshi; loincloth; traditional Japanese men’s undergarment made from a length of cotton
  • Tennen-pāama
    • 天然パーマ 【てんねんパーマ】 (n) naturally curly hair
  • Rīzento
    • リーゼント (n) (abbr) (See リーゼントスタイル) Regent hairstyle; ducktail; Pompadour
  • Furyō
    • 不良 【ふりょう】 (adj-no,adj-na,n) (1) bad; poor; inferior; (n,adj-no,adj-na) (2) delinquent; hoodlum; hooligan

We Want Your Questions

Is there something about Japan that confuses you? Is there something about Japanese culture that you would like to learn more about? Is there something in Japanese history that you would like us to explain? We’re always looking for new questions about Japan to answer, so if you have one, please send it to ichimon@japankyo.com.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing Theme: Produced by Apol (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Fiverr)

Ichimon Japan cover art: Produced by Erik R.

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Full Show Notes


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