Survey: 57% of Tokyo high schools demand hair-color proof
The Asahi Shimbun by Shinpei Doi and Ippei Minetoshi May 1, 2017
Nearly 60 percent of public high schools in Tokyo ask students with light-colored hair for proof, such as childhood photos, that these locks are their “real hair,” an Asahi Shimbun survey showed.
Many schools run by the Tokyo metropolitan government prohibit their students from dyeing or perming their hair as part of the dress code. The system of asking for “proof of real hair” was introduced to prevent schools from scolding or humiliating students whose hair is not naturally black.
The Asahi Shimbun interviewed all 173 full-time high schools run by the Tokyo metropolitan government on whether they ask students to submit forms of “proof of real hair.”
Source: Tokyo Fashion
At least 19 schools ask their students to submit pictures of themselves as infants or junior high school students to prove the true color of their hair, the survey showed.
“Some students insist that their hair is natural even though it is dyed,” said a teacher at a metropolitan-run school in Setagaya Ward. “We ask their parents to confirm these claims as their responsibility.”
The style of the form varies from school to school. Most schools ask guardians to describe their children’s hair, such as, “My child’s hair is brown,” on the forms. The guardians’ seals are required to validate the information.
The number of students who submit the forms ranges from a few to a few dozen every year at each school.
Many schools hand out forms to new students who appear to have dyed or permed hair at a school information session attended by their guardians before the beginning of the academic year.
The school said the forms are intended to avoid unnecessary problems with the students if they are admitted. But the forms also show that the school is making efforts in providing “non-academic guidance.”
As the nation’s birthrate declines, competition between public schools and private schools to secure enrollees has intensified. Strict discipline can be a strong selling point.
However, he expressed concerns that some schools are going too far.
“Photographs are private documents, and extra consideration to protect personal rights is needed,” Horikawa said.
The education board of Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, said it is “aware of the practice at several high schools.” Also in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures said they do not have information about the practice.
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