High school girl skirt lengths and hair fashions once again in a flux
Japan Today -- Apr 17
As Japan finds itself on the cusp of a new imperial reign -- to be named Reiwa, according to the government's announcement on April 1 -- the nation's collective eyes briefly turned upwards, in the direction of the over 1,200 years of continuous, uninterrupted generations of Japan's imperial family.

Having done that, reports Nikkan Gendai (Apr 11), the focus shifted downward to the hemlines of the skirts of teenage girls. It seems that in the past, as one of the signs of the times, hemlines on the skirts of the "JK" have moved in response to economic or social attitudes.

"JK" is not an abbreviation for "joke," but for joshi kosei, or high school girl. Yasuko Nakamura, a cognoscenti who markets to this particular demographic, predicts flat out that "skirt hems are going to get shorter."

If one looks back to a previous generation, JK fashions went through an extreme period, where the uniform of the day consisted of miniskirts, bobby sox that flopped around the ankles, thick-soled boots and hair tinted light brown (chapatsu). After school classes let out, speckles of glitter were also sprinkled around the edges of their eyes for added effect.

Then as the Heisei era progressed, the pendulum swung back in the opposite direction.

"Nobody in my school has dyed hair," a high school sophomore tells the reporter. "And socks are all the same type -- usually long navy blue ones."

A freshman at another school said the length of her skirt carefully conforms to school regulations. "The appearance doesn't cause anybody to get out of whack," she adds.

According to a survey conducted by a research outfit named Girls' Trends, only 11.55% of teenage girls in 1996 (women who are currently about age 40) wore their hemlines at 15 centimeters or higher above their knees. The figure for JKs in 2018? A considerably higher 33.6% said their skirt hems were 15 cm above the knee. Or higher.

From the view of today's high school girls, however, loose, floppy white sox and short hemlines did not afford a very good balance. "Now it's popular to wear very short sox or long sox that we let slip down to expose the ankle bones," one JK tells Nikkan Gendai. "That makes our legs appear more slender," she added.

News source: Japan Today
Apr 18
A pharmaceutical science professor at a university in Shikoku was referred to prosecutors Tuesday for allegedly instructing his students to produce the synthetic drug MDMA without a permit, the university said Tuesday, in an echo of hit TV series “Breaking Bad.” (Japan Times)
Apr 17
The English-language ability of students at Japanese public secondary schools fell short of the government's target in the 2018 academic year through March, despite a slight improvement from a year earlier, a government survey showed Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Apr 17
As Japan finds itself on the cusp of a new imperial reign -- to be named Reiwa, according to the government's announcement on April 1 -- the nation's collective eyes briefly turned upwards, in the direction of the over 1,200 years of continuous, uninterrupted generations of Japan's imperial family. (Japan Today)
Apr 14
Job-seekers in the Philippines have taken tests for a new visa status in Japan that aims to increase the number of foreign workers in the country. (NHK)
Apr 13
Latest data show that Japanese society continues to gray, with the percentage of the population of working age tying a record low. (NHK)
Apr 13
The government plans to penalize universities with many foreign students whose whereabouts are unknown, it was revealed Thursday. (Japan Times)
Apr 13
People having their sexual orientation or gender identity revealed without their consent has become a deepening problem in Japan, a country known for its culture in which the "nail that sticks out gets hammered down." (Kyodo)
Apr 12
As a country that still stands behind fairly rigid gender roles, Japan has a long way to go in granting its LGBTQ citizens equal rights. Same-sex couples, for example, are still fighting for their right to get married in Japan, and many in the LGBTQ community experience discrimination and exclusion from society on a daily basis. (soranews24.com)
Apr 12
A female high school student was hit and killed by a train in Yaita City on Tuesday in an apparent suicide, police have revealed, reports NHK (tokyoreporter.com)
Apr 11
The closure of 51 Coco Juku eikaiwa (English conversation) schools in Japan last week, with more to come in June, illustrates just how unstable the English teaching market can be. (Japan Times)