When it comes to children attending school, what really matters? Grades? Uniform? Punctuality? You’d say so. Hair colour? Not so much. Unless you’re in Japan, that is.
Believe it or not, there are rules in place in Japan that force schoolchildren with brown hair to dye it black, with 60% of schools making pupils submit a natural hair certification document that gives details into their natural hair colour, and its degree of curliness.
Backlash over the unnecessary rule began back in 2017, after a girl from Osaka was forced to dye her hair. High numbers of students have experienced the same pressure to colour their locks in order to meet requirements for the school’s policies. This kind of control over the physical appearance of students is an alarming contribution to the already pressurising Asian beauty standards, which also perpetuate fatphobia, encourage plastic surgery, and more.
A video campaign headed by Pantene has gone viral in Japan and has encouraged thousands to sign a petition looking to ban such enforcements being allowed in schools. Named #HairWeGo What’s Wrong With My Hair, it’s been viewed by over 10million people and presents results from a survey where 1,000 teachers and children were asked about rules regarding hair in Japanese schools. According to its results, one in 13 pupils from middle and high schools are have been forced to dye their hair, and 87% of teachers said that they think the rules need to be changed.
The petition has now been signed over 19,000 times, with signatures being submitted to the Governor of Tokyo and the Chairman of the Board of Education of Tokyo.
The campaign’s organisers said: ‘In this signature campaign, we will focus on “the issue of the instruction of forcing natural hair dye black”. We will work on the issue throughout positive 'talk' with not only students and teachers but also an entire society.’
You can support Pantene’s campaign here.
Founder and Editor of The Unedit