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Answerman - What's With All The School Uniforms In Anime? [2019-04-03]


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nobahn
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:00 pm Reply with quote
Don't get me wrong, I find Japanese culture to be fascinating; but I absolutely refuse to look at it through rose-tinted glasses. The question reminded me of why cultural anthropology is so essential when studying a foreign language.
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KitKat1721



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:05 pm Reply with quote
There was quite a bit I hated about having to go to a private, religious school for 12 years, but weirdly enough, uniforms weren't one of them. It was kind of nice having one less thing to stress about everyday.

Although luckily, my school wasn't super strict with uniform rules, so we didn't have to have skirts past our knees, girls could wear the boy's uniform if they wanted to, you could get away with a little accessorizing, etc... which probably made things much easier.
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ultimatehaki



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:07 pm Reply with quote
This reminded me of when I was in middle school and there were talks of implementing uniforms and me and my friends started freaking out cause we thought uniforms in general looked ugly. 15 years later and still none there so all is good.
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AkumaChef



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:27 pm Reply with quote
nobahn wrote:
Don't get me wrong, I find Japanese culture to be fascinating; but I absolutely refuse to look at it through rose-tinted glasses. The question reminded me of why cultural anthropology is so essential when studying a foreign language.


I thought that Justin did a great job explaining the history and the facts without putting a spin on it one way or another.
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nobahn
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:41 pm Reply with quote
AkumaChef
I did not mean to imply that he had unduly spun it; to the extent that I gave that impression, I apologize.
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Morry



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:52 pm Reply with quote
If there's one thing I loved about wearing uniforms, it was being able to put on clothes every morning without giving it a second thought.
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meruru



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:12 pm Reply with quote
Absolutely in Japan, you'll see lots of school uniforms all over the place, even at times you wouldn't expect to see them, as school hours can be quite variable.

And more than that, working adults in Japan generally wear business wear. Suits with jackets and so forth. Going on public transit especially during commuting hours can feel a bit like going back in time in the US and other countries, as it's been decades when that level of formality in dress was the standard. I feel like even casual wear is higher class than in America.
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Greed1914
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 2:14 pm Reply with quote
I have to think that the shift in uniform style was probably easier to implement since it is more like the type of clothes those students are likely to wear as adults in professional settings. Going from a middle school where the older style is used to a high school with more of a business look seems like an effort to get them used to that type of clothing and a sign that they are growing up and should be preparing for the future.


The use of school uniforms in anime isn't very surprising when you think about it. The bulk are about younger Japanese people in middle and high school, and most of them spend their days in school. Plus, I've always thought it offered a bit of a shortcut for character designs since you can get away with having everyone where the same basic outfit, and then tweak it a bit to highlight a personality.
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Scalfin



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:27 pm Reply with quote
meruru wrote:
Absolutely in Japan, you'll see lots of school uniforms all over the place, even at times you wouldn't expect to see them, as school hours can be quite variable.

And more than that, working adults in Japan generally wear business wear. Suits with jackets and so forth. Going on public transit especially during commuting hours can feel a bit like going back in time in the US and other countries, as it's been decades when that level of formality in dress was the standard. I feel like even casual wear is higher class than in America.


I think the uniformity goes beyond that, though. Suiting in America has always been highly varied, with a plethora of colors, fabrics, and cuts in wide use. Meanwhile, every salaryman wears the same two-button semi-matte black suit.

I've heard one key to the adoption of the sailor suit was that it's easy to produce using narrow Japanese skeins and tailoring techniques (you can similarly tell that America's suits have German origin by the fact that the shoulder seams are typically set back rather than placed on top).
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rizuchan
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:41 pm Reply with quote
I think it should also be mentioned that, generally speaking, girls in Japan at least like the uniform. Little girls look forward to putting on their middle school uniform, and it's not unheard of for girls to take how "cute" the uniform is into consideration when choosing what schools to go to. So it's in the interest of schools in Japan to have a stylish uniform.

In contrast to American private schools, who, at least where I live, seem determined to make uniforms as ugly as possible. Which I suppose is a fine solution to the issue of uniforms being sexualized, but not so great for getting students to buy into the idea of having to wear them all the time.
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Jose Cruz



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 3:58 pm Reply with quote
rizuchan wrote:
In contrast to American private schools, who, at least where I live, seem determined to make uniforms as ugly as possible. Which I suppose is a fine solution to the issue of uniforms being sexualized, but not so great for getting students to buy into the idea of having to wear them all the time.


I studied in private school in Brazil (as most people who had parents who were relatively serious about education there given the awful quality of most public schools) and we had the ugliest uniforms imaginable: white shirts and blue pants, with very vibrant blue that looked a cosplay color rather than serious clothes. They were so incredibly ugly it hurts my eyes just to remember it. That was because the school had adopted a third party education curriculum developed by an education company (with specific textbooks and everything) and the uniforms had the logotype and colors of the education company's curriculum product, as they were made by the same company as the textbooks and other material.
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Gemma Seymour



Joined: 03 Apr 2019
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:16 pm Reply with quote
Perhaps because I am older than most anime fans, I know that there has been a trend in America over the last few decades for schools which have uniforms to make them as cheaply as possible, whereas the selection of school uniforms in Japan is undertaken with much more care. Because of the open and competitive nature of school admissions in Japan, where there is not requirement for schooling above the 6th Grade level, compared to required schooling until at least the 10th Grade level in the US (commonly, to age 16), schools know that uniform style and quality is a factor in students' selection of schools.

However, I'd like to correct one item in the article. The "sailor suit" may have been based in part on UK Royal Navy uniforms, but the actual inspiration for using naval uniforms as a model for women and girls dresses comes from the US, specifically, the "Peter Thomson dress", a style of dress popularised by a former US Navy tailor who marketed the style as being particularly suitable for women in the educational environment beginning around 1900. The US Navy uniforms were themselves influenced by the UK Royal Navy tradition, due to the close history of the two nations.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailor_dress

Thomson operated tailoring shops in New York City and Philadelphia after he mustered out of the Navy. The style was adopted widely, including in the UK, for women and girls, and subsequently imported to Japan in the early 1920s, in part because the principal of Fukuoka Jo Gakuin University, Elizabeth Lee, had been an exchange student in the UK.

Children's clothing modelled after Royal Navy uniforms had been in use in the UK for several decades, already, but it was not commonly used for school uniforms for young women.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailor_suit
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_uniforms_in_England#History

That being said, the more modern trend, at least at the high school level in Japan, is for uniforms to follow the traditions of Western private schools, with pleated plaid skirt and blazer for girls, and blazer and trousers for boys, rather than the gakuran & seifuku, which still feature prominently at the middle school level in Japan.
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zrdb



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:20 pm Reply with quote
I remember when I went to a catholic elementary school and yes-we all had to wear uniforms. Brown pants and beige short sleeved shirt with a bow tie for the boys and a plaid skirt with a beige short sleeved shirt with one of those ribbon bow things for the girls. At least everybody wore the same thing so there really weren't any incidents of clothing envy among the students. I also had the chance to wear a uniform for the time I was in the Navy-so what do I think of uniforms? They serve a purpose but I prefer to dress in my own unique way.

Last edited by zrdb on Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Gemma Seymour



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:24 pm Reply with quote
I should probably also mention that in the 1980s, when I myself did attend a Roman Catholic high school with a uniform requirement, our school was unusually liberal about the uniforms, at least for boys. Boys were required to wear dress trousers, dress shirts, dress shoes, and necktie, but beyond that, there were really no other specifications, so we were treated to some intentionally outlandish combinations.

The girls' uniforms were more conservative, though as I recall, they did accommodate some variations, and the Summer uniforms were seersucker dresses that came in at least three different colors (we jokingly called these the "Handi-Wipes" dresses, after the popular household cleaning product of the time). Sometime after I left that school, they did allow the girls to wear trousers, as well, but they were specified to be navy blue, I think.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:58 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
Around 1920 a girls' equivalent uniform, modeled after the British Royal Navy uniforms, was made standard. That's where the once-ubiquitous "sailor suit" came from.
And the reason why? it is rather strange, lets base our school uniform for girls on the uniforms of a foreign countries navy.
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