Attack Of The Japanese School Girls ! ! ! ( part 1)

High School Is A Special Time For Girls

Stand And Bow – Lessons Are About To Start ! ! ! 

When I started this post I realised I had so much I wanted to say that I would actually need two posts ! ! !  So in this first one I want to talk about the two main styles of uniform and a little of the history of school uniforms in Japan and then something about personalising uniforms.  Next week I will focus on School uniforms in J-pop but first lets get to know the uniforms and something about the girls that wear them ! ! !

In Japanese schools when the lesson starts the kids stand up and formally bow to the teacher.  This is to show they are focused and ready to learn and as sign of respect for the teacher.  We ready to start now  – so stop talking at the back of the class and pay attention ! ! !

Lesson One  – History

Education for girls was limited to the aristocracy for most of Japan’s history.  But after the Meiji restoration Japan opened to the West and began to industrialize and a middle class formed.  The first schools for girls were founded and they  followed the western model.  At first girls would wear traditional Japanese clothes to school, but in 1921 in Fukuoka Jo Gakun, a Christian high school for girls, a revolution was about to take place.

A Sail Suit School Uniform From 1920 decade

The Head Mistress was an American lady called Miss Elizabeth Lee.  She was famed for her beauty, and the stylish sailor suits she wore to school were considered modern and stylish.  Also the traditional Kimono was not practical for study and physical activity and so soon some of the girls started to copy her look.  It quickly caught on  and the first sailor suit school girl uniform was established in Japan.

Sailor Suit uniforms were considered very modern and a symbol of the liberalisation of women and girls roles in society.  Even during the war, when all things western were shunned,  they continued to be worn for this reason (although trousers were worn instead of skirts and a padded hood was worn to protect the girls from the terrible fires caused by the bombing)

A classic Sailor Suit

The two piece sailor suit is cute, comfortable and practical and was the standard uniform style for girls up to the 1980 decade.  But in the 1980’s the first private schools began to use a “preppy ” style uniform based on plaid or plain skirt, white blouse and a caramel or blue, or black blazer jacket.  This gave the school the opportunity to show a nice big crest on the blazer and it was seen as a more adult uniform by the girls and quickly became popular in high schools.

Time some music ! ! !    

AKB48 areof course the most famous school girl image band in the universe ! ! !  They usually wear some variation of the preppy style school uniform. In this video which is about graduation from high school, you can see the uniform really very well.  Often in their videos the uniforms are very stylised, but in this video the uniforms are very typical of a private high school.  Notice the grey plaid skirts and pay attention to the socks – we will talk about  them later !! ! Also notice some girls have bows and some wear ties.  It is common for schools to allow both.

AKB48 – Sakura No Hanabiratachi 2008

There are actually very few videos of groups wearing sailor suits, I think this because they do not look so good in dance routines. I had some problems finding a nice one but the Head Master (Mr P) recommended this one.  It is by nano.RIPE.  The track is called Hana no iro and it means the colour of flowers.  At around 2 minutes into the video you see some girls in blue sailor suites.

nano.RIPE  – Hana no Iro

Lesson Two – Personalising Your Uniform

Of course girls will want to personalise their uniforms.  And the first thing that a girl will want to do is shorten her skirt.  The way that girls do this is to fold the skirt around the waist band, usually you can shorten your skirt by at least

an inch for each fold and so with three folds you can make your skirt a respectable length ! ! !  Of course if you are unlucky

We know what the bags are for now

enough to go to a mixed school then you face the problem of boys  walking behind you when you climb , stairs to try and see your panties.  This is why you need a large bag, not a back pack type but shoulder strap bag.  You just hold this across your butt as you go up and no boys (who you do not want to) will see your panties – easy ! ! !

Sock Touch – glue to keep your socks up ! ! !

Socks are a problem.  Basically you either wear baggy socks and do not worry about keeping them up, or you wear tight socks and then you have to keep them up.  These days baggy socks are out of fashion and considered slutty, so of course girls now need to face the problem of keeping their socks up and looking good. The secret is a special dermatologically  safe glue called Sock Touch.  You just apply it to your leg and then put your socks on.  It comes in a variety of strengths depending on the amount of physical activity you think you might have during the day.

Lesson 3 – Do Not Mess With the Sukuban ! ! ! 

As the good girls were making their skirts shorter and shorter the bad girls went in the oposite direction ! ! !   Yanki is the word we have in Japanese for delinquent and the tough Yanki girls modified their uniforms by lengthening their skirts until they became ankel length.  They would also shorten the tunic of their sailor suits so that when they moved you could see an alluring glimpse of belly button.  On graduation the girls would embroider their tunic with personal and gang designs.  The long skirt sailor suit is the uniform of the Yanki girl ! ! !  The leader of a Yanki girl gang is called Sukuban and this is the name of this style. Of course for most girls it is just a fashion, but  some girl Yanki gangs are extremely violent and dangerous and involved in drugs, prostitution, violence and theft, so it really is not a good idea to mess with them ! ! !  Here is a short clip from the drama Maijisuka Gaken.  In it you can see both the standard sailor suit and the Yanki style with the design sewn with sequins.

Lesson 4 – How to be a schoolgirl

In the west individualism is seen as being important and a good thing.  However in Japan being part of a group is seen as being more important and so we quite like uniforms which show we belong to a group or company or association.  The years

Sailor Suit

girls spend in  high school are seen as a special time.  The girls are really young women and sexually mature, but they are still free from the obligations of adult life.  It is seen as time to enjoy friendships, have your first boyfriend and explore your personality.  Girls like to wear their uniforms because it is shows they belong to this special group.  Of course school has its own pressures and adolescent problems really do seem to be huge when you have them, but for the vast majority of girls High School is a time they always remember with great fondness and the friendships formed there often last a life time.  Schoolgirls want to have fun with their friends, be kawaii and grow and experiment in a safe place.  The best schools create this environment for the girls, and of course some even study aslo ! ! !

So to finish here is a really nice video from Morning Musume.  The uniforms are fake of course, but I like the way they have accessorised them.  I love the punkette key chain which gives a street feel to the plaid skirt and I love the beret ! ! !   Every girl should have at least one, they match almost everything and always look super cute ! ! !

Morning Musume  – Ai Araba It’s All Right

I hope you have found the post interesting and not too girly ! ! !  I hope you will read part two to see how the schoolgirl and her uniform is used in J-pop.

140 thoughts on “ Attack Of The Japanese School Girls ! ! ! ( part 1)

  1. Hi Sakura Darling ! ! !

    The thing about skirt length reminds me of my time in a mixed secondary. Most of the school in my city are convent schools, with one all-boys Christian Brothers’ School, a Jesuit-run mixed secondary and three state-run mixed secondaries. Unlike in most schools in the country, all these school have ankle-length skirts and you’re not supposed to shorten them (although one of my little brother’s friends has cut hers up to above the knee and ignores the teachers’ glares…)

    On a trip to Cork with my English class to see a play, we got off the bus and saw a load of people from other schools around the country, and all of the girls were wearing short skirts. My friend Harriet – originally from Cambridge – groaned, and when I asked her what was wrong she replied: “I feel like a f***ing nun. F*** this s***!” and started trying to roll up her skirt without looking fat because it was so long…

    • Hi Punky Darling ! ! !

      I always found the problem was not so much looking fat, but that the waist becomes tighter the more you fold up your skirt.

      But, I think if schools are going to make you wear a uniform they should at least make it cute ! ! ! Girls in Japan often select their high schools by how cute the uniform is ! ! !

      • And in Ireland we tend to choose schools by how near they are and whether our families went there ! ! ! I believe in the UK they look at educational standards, exam pass rates and so on, which seems a little silly to me :D

      • Exam pass rates are important of course and also in Japan parents consider the things like this and how close the school is also. Of course in Japan you have to pay for high school even in the public ones and the cost is also important in making the decision. I was very lucky that my parents are comfortable and so the money was not so much of an issue for us.

      • Hi AIP ! ! !

        In Japan you need to pay maybe at least a thousand dollars a year even for a public school. But you will also need to pay for uniforms ( to get back to the post ! ! ! ) and they are expensive and of course you need two (a winter and summer uniform ) and then the sports uniform. It can quite expensive actually.

        YUI for example came from a modest single parent family and worked part time to help pay for her high school, but eventually dropped out as it was too much for her.

        I know how lucky I was with my mum and dad and the support they gave me and my sister through our educations.

      • Well, in Ireland secondary education is cheap ! ! ! In theory we have free education for all, so there are no university fees. The colleges get around this by charging a ‘registration fee’. When I started college in September 2008, this was E900, now it’s E5,650 and rising… This doesn’t look like much, but the average middle-class adult pays 45% income tax and some of that is supposed to go on education…

        Like you, I’m very lucky that my parents worked hard ! ! !

  2. Thing is you could put those girls ( the picture at the top) in a potato sack and they’d still look cute.
    The uniform thing is quite controversial here, there’s a bit of a fuss about a bread advert at the moment .

    http://tinyurl.com/b63xrwu

    I do think the Japanese focus is different though and more nuanced. It seems more about the girls “doing for themselves” rather than trying to appeal to the old pervert market or anything.

    • I just watched the bread advert and honestly I think it is so weird that people find it offensive ! ! ! She looks nice and the skirt is not so short. Maybe there are somethings I will never understand about the UK culture ! ! !

      I think it is about Kawaii in Japan.

      In none of the videos do you see anything sexy, Kawaii about how you look and behave to other girls, and this is the “missing link” I will explore next week.

      • Oh ! ! ! I know the answer ! ! ! The first thing is that if a schoolgirl’s arse is ‘tempting’, and considering that most schoolgirls in the UK and Ireland are underage (I finished school aged 17 – the age of consent – but I couldn’t legally drink or vote until I was 18, and three of my friends – all girls – were 16 when they finished) it’s (to paraphrase Fall Out Boy) a little less cute, a little more Jimmy Saville ! ! !

        The other thing is a wider question of sexualisation: in Ireland we’ve had repeated complaints over ads for a brand of crisps featuring pictures of scantily clad women playing rugby with ‘saucy’ captions http://www.thejournal.ie/those-hunky-dorys-ads-are-back-and-so-are-the-complaints-2-218034-Sep2011/

        Funnily enough, given that this is Ireland, the complaints aren’t from Catholic fundamentalists. The argument – led by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre – is that a society that sees women as sexual objects harms impressionable young women and is more likely to condone rape (when this kicked off in 2010, I was on work placement with 6 girls & 1 guy who all thought the campaign against the ads was stupid: when I explained the reason I’ve just given you, the guy said – to general laughter – “But women are sexual objects! Get over it!”)

        It’s for similar reasons that I support No More Page 3 ! ! ! !

    • Hi AIP ! ! !

      Ummm . . .I think you are thinking too much about it. In the bread advertisement she is just a mice looking schoolgirl teasing her little brother. I really find it hard to go from that to rape. But maybe I do not understand.

      • Hi Sakura Darling ! ! ! !

        I guess it’s different in different cultures. Bear in mind that in Ireland we’re dealing with decades of the institutionalised rape of children by the Catholic Church, so we’re very touchy about things like this ! ! !

        There are wider points about the way women are portrayed in ads, and the fact that it’s always ‘desirable’ for a woman to be sexualised. It might be worth your while having a look at the Everyday Sexism Project (everydaysexism.com) to see real people’s stories of they way they get treated because of their gender.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a mad “Men are evil” type feminist (as I am a man, it would be hard ! ! !) and I’ve no objection to sexy girls, but it is problematic that women in the West at least, women are still valued primarily as sexual…

  3. Sakura –

    That picture of the girls walking up the stairs might not be such a good idea. All i can see is paedobears posted all over it. There are things that you might not get about western culture, but things are what they are here.

    • Hi Amylee ! ! !

      Thank you for the comment ! ! !

      I wanted to put that photo in as it is really typical behaviour and you see girls do this all the time when they climb stairs and escalators in public places and I wanted to explain why they do it.

      I thought is was light hearted, but I will think again about it and maybe change it.

      I hope you did not find it offensive ! ! !

      • I don’t especially find it offensive because i know the spirit in which you posted it. But as Aba said, you really don’t want to get the wrong traffic here for the wrong reasons.

      • Hi Amylee ! ! !

        I have changed the picture and removed the “totty” category.

        Thank you for your advice ! ! !

  4. I’m just cooking lunch so having a quick skim. Excellent post, Sakura.

    I will be back later with the English fool-proof “keep your socks up without resorting to glue” method! You can hardly wait, can you?

    • Hi SR ! ! !

      I am happy you liked the post ! ! !

      You are right – I can not wait to find out how UK girls keep their socks up with out using glue ! ! !

  5. I’m sorry – and I am old and stupid, of course – but I can’t help but consider these activities as a particularly extreme fashion/conformity/self-expression module of the social training that helps make women crazy.
    No offence intended, I assure you, Sakura.

  6. I’m sorry too – i’m old too, wouldn’t necessarily say stupid, but a bit cynical and jaded maybe. I think i’ve mentioned my love of Japanese culture before – art, literature, music, film, photography, etc. Certainly the classical, but there are some much darker aspects of Japanese culture explored in the arts as i’m sure you well know, and i’m afraid that these are the ones that interest me.

    No offense intended either!

    • Hi Amylee ! ! !

      Of course I am not offended ! ! !

      And you are definitely not too old ! ! !

      I know that not everyone will be interested in this topic but I wanted to explain a little of the background about schoolgirls and uniforms in Japan before I look at how they fit in J-pop. And of course J-pop is not exactly art ! ! ! It is fun and light hearted and very superficial.

      The darker aspects of Japanese culture are explored in some rock, visual kei and occasionally even in J-pop acts and tracks but maybe there is another post to be written about that.

    • Without getting too po-faced about it, I feel that the view that ‘being part of a group is seen as being more important’ than being an individual is a darker aspect of Japanese culture.
      It may be expressed frivolously in this instance but it’s part of a worrying attitude that allows individuality to be considered, ultimately, as disposable and, by extension, considers the individual to be of relatively low importance. You don’t have to be crazy to know where that leads.

      • Hi Chris ! ! !

        I hope you do not mind if I disagree with you.

        The individual is certainly not considered as low importance n Japanese culture. However in Japan, your role in society as a parent, family member, employee, member of your community or whatever and the obligations to other people in society are seen important and an individuals take pride in fulfilling their obligations.

        When I was in the USA, I found the individualism led to level of selfishness and conflict which I was really not used to encountering in Japan, you could say this is good as it leads to creativity for example, and in the same time you can say that Japanese culture also results in extremely low levels of crime and good social harmony, but it is just different not better. Societies are different and cultures are different, and very complex

      • I’m inclined partly to agree and partly to disagree. Group-think certainly does have its dark side; there is always the risk of the tyranny of the majority, so that individuals who don’t conform are marginalised or persecuted, and even more there is the risk that the group defines itself against others – gays, other races – which can lead to persecution, war, genocide etc. On the other hand, I don’t think that this is unique to Japan, or even that Japan is necessarily more prone to this conformism – it is expressed more openly than in the West, certainly, but in practice our societies suffer from similar tendencies – perhaps even more so, because they’re not limited by strong social/communal institutions but are simply a bunch of individuals acting as a mob.

      • Hi Abahachi ! ! !

        It is certainly an interesting topic ! ! ! But it is really at the edge of my knowledge and ability to express myself.

        I think I agree with you and our constitution which was written by the USA after the war was designed to stop many of the issues you identify.

      • Of course you know Araki’s photography. And Nan Goldin’s series on Japanese teens. And yeah, i know a bit about Japanese porn too.

        Don’t ask DsD about In the Realm of the Senses :)

        But even the post-war literature – Tanizaki, Kawabata, Mishima, etc…fascinating stuff there. Not to mention the Samuri and Shogun days.

      • First someone on Twitter is whining about a Harry Potter fanfic where Draco, Narcessa (his mother) and Bellatix (his aunt) have a threesome, and three minutes later you say that, amylee… I WANT TO DIE.

      • Given that my real identity is relatively easy to track down, I don’t think I had better offer any opinion on the sexiness or otherwise of octopus porn.

      • I was just texting one of my friends and mentioned this… she says she’s seen a video of a girl & an octopus and thought it was hot. I need new friends, don’t I? The worst part is she and I tend to have the same taste in pretty much everything, so now I’m SLIGHTLY curious (but probably not enough to risk the potential mental scarring…) I don’t know what I’ll do when panther joins in!

      • I think quite a lot of us on the Spill have seen that video, or something similar, after it was first mentioned. It’s okay, viewing it doesn’t make you go blind or anything.

      • I missed it too, (thankfully), but I did read an unexpectedly explicit short story on the theme, but with tentacled aliens in a scifi collection once. The mental images remain.

      • bethnoir: that, to quote Terry Pratchett, makes me “oddly sad and full of strange, diffuse compassion which would lead you to believe that it might be a good idea to wipe out the whole human race and start again with amoebas.”

      • Aba –

        Dunno if you’ve ever read Tanizaki’s A Cat, a Man, and Two Women, but i’d bet that you would totally get it.

      • No, I haven’t; my knowledge of Japanese literature and culture is in fact utterly lamentable. I’ll certainly keep an eye out for it.

        Final thought: one culture fetishises schoolgirls, the other fetishises women being ravished by octopi. I cannot think of any reasonable basis on which to assert that one is more or less perverse (in the technical sense) than the other, or that one type of porn is intrinsically more dangerous and damaging than the other. On the whole I’m leaning more towards condemning the schoolgirls thing.

      • I’m with you, Aba. Although it’s a generalisation to say one culture fetishises a specific thing, as sexual paraphilia aren’t culturally monolithic, personally I’m inclined to agree that of the two, the schoolgirl thing might be more harmful. Certainly the concept of tentacle porn only makes me want to vomit, whereas schoolgirl porn makes me want to reach for a flamethrower and destroy this decadent western Gomorrah… (I’m only exaggerating a little teeny bit!)

      • What bothers me i think is the disingeneousness of the schoolgirl fetish. By the schoolgirls themselves in this case. I have no doubt that the western world here is not unique in perving out on them either.

      • And just for the record, i find bukake to be a lot grosser than tentacle porn. Which seems sort of like toungue in cheek schlock fun to me.

      • amylee – I agree about the schoolgirls, and yes it’s a multicultural thing, but under current circumstances in the west it leaves an even more sour taste in the mouth than usual. As for bukake vs tentacle porn, it IS a personal thing, and I suppose from a socio-political perspective it comes down to which is more demeaning to women & by extension less acceptable to society (if that’s an argument you agree with me on..). I don’t have much love for gross-out humour anyway, so I guess that’s my big issue with tentacles (well, bar the whole OMFG BESTIALITY!! thing…), but then I wonder, is bukake more demeaning? And then I wonder, why am I having this mental monologue? And then I think, I’ve been single for too long, haven’t I? And then my head connects sharply and repeatedly with my desk…

      • And now you’ve made me laugh. I’ve been single for awhile too.

        But yeah, it’s personal. I’m all for anything goes between consenting adults, none of my business. But personally i think bukake is just fucking rude. I suppose that’s my own problem. The tentacle porn just makes me laugh, as it has nothing to do with reality.

        As to the pedophile priest thing, you’re aware that we have our own huge scandal here, nationwide. Boston, Philly, St Louis, LA, NY, etc – but we’ve had some significant prosecutions recently. And some significant settlement payouts too, many diosces are bankrupt. One guy in SF that beat up a priest who had abused him was acquitted. One msgr in Philly got jail time, not for being an abuser himself – he wasn’t – but for enabling abuser priests. Still, we need to get Bernie Law back here and on trial…but we’re getting there.

      • And to put the schoolgirl thing another way – yeah, i’m calling bullshit there.

        (oops, put in the wrong place earlier.)

      • Yeah, I’m not a big fan of the US justice system in general but you guys have been far better about prosecuting the people behind the cover-ups. mean, we have a Cardinal roaming free who has been heavily implicated in covering up abuse and our Orders still haven’t made all the contributions towards the compensation fund that they agreed to make. WE ARE WEAK, DAMMIT, WEAK! I think bukake is pretty rude, myself, but one of my friends says she loves it (not watching it, engaging…) so each to their own I guess!

        Glad I gave you a laugh! I’m a long time single with feelings for a close friend, so my frustration/borderline depression would be going through the roof were it not for my songwriting. Basically, this conversation, despite its deep weirdness, is a blissful distraction from my car-crash of a love life and – more importantly – my college assignments! What did I do before RR?

      • You’re a songwriter? How awesome!

        I’m single, but not uninterested in someone. Weird situation, i’m walking on eggshells. Enough of that, at least i have enough work on my plate to try to keep me distracted. Wish me luck though, as i wish you.

      • “but one of my friends says she loves it (not watching it, engaging…)”

        Jeebus. Maybe i’m a bad libertarian after all.

      • Thanks! Good luck!

        …I’m that most useless of individuals: a songwriter & guitarist without the band – absolutely necessary for the style of music I play! It’ll all work out in the end, and so will the relationships!

      • Wrong place…

        Well I won’t argue with her because that requires thinking about it, and I still see her as a kid so I’d rather not! So I’m not a good libertarian, I’m just taking the easy way out haha…
        :) “The best way to make it through/with hearts and wrists intact/is to realise that/two out of three ain’t bad” wise words from Fall Out Boy’s “I’m Like A Lawyer With The Way I’m Always Trying To Get You Off (Me And You)”

  7. There have been some fascinating comments today, so thank you everyone ! ! ! It is really late here now and I need to go to bed very soon.

    I will check back tomorrow in case there are more comments.

  8. I’d never heard of sock glue before! How cool. When I was at secondary school I used to wear white thigh high socks and use garters to hold them up, but I still ended up hoiking them up regularly. I don’t get on with hold ups (stockings with a layer of sticky rubbery material at the top) either. It’s a horrible feeling when they start rolling down your leg as you walk!

    I was very glad when I didn’t go to the school in my home town as they had to wear bottle green box pleated skirts, at least at my school it was just grey skirt, no regulations about length or style. The did outlaw patent leather shoes though because they said girls knickers night reflect in them!

    It is interesting to note the cultural differences, I’ve just been reading a Jon Courteney Grimwood book set in Tokyo where the offense foreigners cause by not understanding Japanese culture is mentioned quite a lot.

  9. Get a pair of over the knee white socks. Put them on. Cut a piece of thin white cotton ribbon. Tie and knot it around the upper part of the sock, just below the
    knee. Make it tight enough so as to keep the sock from dribbling down your calf. Fold the part of the sock above the knee down and over the ribbon. Et voila ! Robert Redford’s your uncle.

      • IHi Beth ! ! !

        love the whole Scottish thing with kilts and stuff ! ! !

        I did notice when I went to Edinburgh that some people in the tourist areas worn garters for their socks with a little taran bow.

        I thought this was cool, as if you are going to wear a garter then you should not be ashamed of it and make it a feature instead of a fashion error ! ! !

    • The problem with that is that you have a fold at the top of your sock, but of course that is not the end of the world . . . . .only the end of your sock ! ! !

      (whatdoes webcore say . . .I will get my coat ! ! ! )

  10. Well that’s my garters big reveal gone for a burton! The elastic knee garter was what we did at school. If the elastic is the right thickness and the right tension to hold your knee-highs up without cutting off your circulation they are just the job. We had to wear ankle socks in summer though…

    I remember being curious about the whole Japanese school uniform situation some time ago and Sakura explaining it in one of the He Said She Said posts then. It became clear that it is not a sexual thing, there is no fetishism and it is a group bonding and identification thing. It’s way cool and fashionable.

    It seems inexplicable to our culture, particularly the wearing of an immaculate uniform with pride (teens!) but now I am used to the idea, I find it endearing and charming. I would be perturbed if it caught on here though, because it would be sexualized, because just about everything involving children is nowadays.

    Again, thank you for your post on your culture, Sakura. I found it informative and interesting and I thank you for your hard work. The comments have been interesting too!

    • Hi SR ! ! !

      I am really so happy you took the time to read the post ! ! ! And even more happy you liked it ! ! !

      I hated ankle socks when Iwas younger, but I have got into them lately as I have started to wear ankle boots quite often and if you wear then with shorts or a skirt then having socks that come just above the line of the ankle boot looks cool.

      I am happy you understand about the cultural thing also. I knew you would ! ! !

  11. Don’t worry folks Sakura will be fully covering totally hot squid sex in a later post.
    No cephalopods will be harmed in the making of it.

  12. Garters here too. At the start of term we had to kneel in assembly and the teacher would measure the gap between the bottom of our skirts and the tops of our knees. And we had to curtsey to the headmistress. I’m not joking! I hated school.

  13. Hi Everyone ! ! !

    So, there are lots of things to think about ! ! ! !

    But l want to say this:

    The relationship between schoolgirls and pop music is not one of fetish.

    It is about kawaii in J-Pop. The reason I wanted to make these two posts is to explain exactly that.

    Now, of course no one is suggesting schoolgirls are not fetishized in Japan.

    Like everywhere in the world guys like young women and girls, and of course we all know that guys are attracted to the combination of innocence and sexiness that teenage girls have. BUT – I am just saying that one thing is pornography and another is J-pop.

    There is a difference in Japan that maybe does not exist in the west. And this difference is Kawaii The idea does not exist in the west but it exists in Japan.

    J-pop does not fetishize school girls usually. Just look at the videos ! ! ! There is absolutely nothing sexual about them at all ! ! !

    Maybe to explain this properly we need to have another post exploring Japanese pornography and the AV (Adult Video) industry. I am happy to make such a post.

    I know girls working in this and producers working in AV because of my stupid job, and also the work I did before as a gravure model when I was at university, and also a personal friend is quite a well known AV acress and pink film actress. So I do know quite a lot about it actually.

    So, if our community want to explore Japanese pornography then I am really happy to do it.

    I hope next week, when I talk more about J-pop and schoolgirls, you will start to see the difference between AV , pornography and J-Pop in its attitudes to school girls.

    I think this has been a great discussion and I am really pleased we can talk about these things so openly.

    Tell me what you think – shall I make a post on Japanese porn in two weeks time ? ? ?

    • Sakura –

      Just the fact that they’re girls in school uniforms is sexual to many people.

      But yes, i’d be delighted to see a post on Japanese pornography!

      • Hi Amylee ! ! !

        I will make a post after the second part of this one . . . . if people agree.

        I think it is a subject that we should discuss,

      • Sakura ! ! !

        I’m with amylee on this, so don’t think we’re criticising Japanese culture for sexualising schoolgirls. We’re just bitching about how much our own culture sucks… I’m finding this whole discussion fascinating because it’s like a whole new world: in Ireland, a teenage girl dressing the way Japanese schoolgirls dress as a matter of course is setting out to look sexualised (probably for a party). In fact, during freshers’ week in my university, most of the nightclubs in the city do ‘back to school’ nights where college girls in school uniforms get in at a discounted rate and there’s a ‘sexy schoolgirl’ competition.

        I’ve no objection to a post on Japanese porn. Just expect CAPSLOCKing, swearing, feminist theory and a lot of comments saying stuff like *headdeask* I swear I’m far more articulate in real life, I even do intervarsity debating…

      • Put it this way – look at any fetish object – say a spike heeled shoe. Is it sexualized in itself? Of course not, it’s just an object. It’s the associations with the object that are the trigger.

        So look at a schoolgirl uniform. You don’t have to flash butt or boobs for the associations to be there. And any innocence (faux or otherwise) and lack of overt sexuality by whoever is wearing it is exactly the sexual trigger the sick fuckers are attracted to.

        You don’t think that whoever produces the videos and chooses the uniforms don’t know exactly what the fuck they’re doing? Bullshit.

  14. OK, as an ‘outsider’ with 10 years of living in Japan under my belt, and as someone who works in the Japanese state school system, I thought I’d offer my tuppence worth.

    Great post Sakura!

    OK, first of all the whole sexy thing.

    It should be pointed out that the skirt shortening thing only comes into play at Upper Secondary School level (the equivalent of Sixth Form in the UK or High School in the US) so they are not underage or anything (although, interestingly, the age of consent in Japan is 13 and girls can legally get married at 16, but boys cannot legally get married until 18 – I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what that says a male-dominated society like Japan) and I think Sakura is right that from the girls point of view it is a fun fashion thing and that the girls genuinely like wearing the uniform. However, it is idealistic at best (and disingenuous at worst) to suggest that there is no sexualisation of schoolgirls and that it is all innocent fun. A very very large portion (fnar fnar!) of pornography (both real and in Manga) in Japan features schoolgirls, with the short short skirt of the uniform as the focal point of the sexualisation (erm…according to my research assistant…!). In fact, I would go as far as to claim that Japan has THE worst record of any developed country when it comes to sexualisation of young girls and failure to protect girls from exploitation and abuse. I’ve seen with my own eyes, completely by accident, I hasten to add, softcore magazines featuring girls as young as 11 or 12 in swimsuits posed provocatively.

    Allright, now on the group thing. Again, I think Sakura is right and the discipline and work ethic that groupthink inspires was undoubtedly the key to Japan’s quite extraordinary post-war economic success. But, in my view, it is just this very same conformity that is/will be the main component of Japan’s international economic and diplomatic decline, and is no longer something to be proud of (as it certainly once was). For me personally, secondary school (especially the first few years) were without doubt the most important years in forming my own identity, music, friends, rough political beliefs, strengths/weaknesses etc, but the Japanese school system so tightly and completely dominates and controls every aspect of the students lives (for example: no hair wax for boys, girls must tie up their hair with a black or brown hairband, students must attend school club events every day after school and on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays too, most students are forbidden to have a Saturday/evening job). I suppose, it is no different from a posh public (in the English sense) school in the UK, but this level of control across the whole spectrum leads to the inevitable stunting of identity development and lack of opportunity to develop specialist interests and skills. The fragmented nature of 21st Century society and work demands are just not met by this system , which the school uniform could be seen to be symbolic of. Although, as Sakura says, there is plenty of room for accessorising and fucking with the formula, so maybe there is some hope.

    Oh….and just one word about ‘people’ wearing uniforms in the workplace. Yes, it may show pride in working for the company and all that, but Sakura neglected to mention that it is not ‘people’ at all, it is WOMEN. There are no male equivalents to the classic OL (office lady) uniform, that to me is just another way to infantalise women in society by keeping them as perpetual schoolgirls.

    Well, that’s my tuppence worth and I honestly do apologise for sounding negative Sakura, but I thought I’d just offer the flipside of your excellent history and dissection of such an iconic feature of Japan

      • amylee – *headdesk*

        Panthersan – now THAT is what I sound like when I’m talking as opposed to typing. You’ve hit all the points I wanted to make, but far more articulately. I’ve never been to Japan, but my parents were TEFL teachers so they taught Japanese students and have some stories! More to the point, there are loads of Japanese students in my uni, and that’s my main experience of Japanese culture beyond the out put of Studio Ghibli (strong female characters! THANK FUCKING CHRIST!)

        I’ve never made friends with a Japanese student, guy or girl, even though I’ve shared classes with some. They tend to keep themselves to themselves more than the Spanish, Germans, Iranians, etc. Almost as much as Midwestern Americans, in fact… What I have noticed is that they work away diligently in class and get good grades, they move in packs and you NEVER see them out. I don’t just mean ‘out on the town': in general, they don’t join clubs, don’t go to uni events and you never see them down the campus bar. Now I work reasonably hard and – not boasting, I swear – I get VERY good grades. But I know I also need downtime: I’m a member of the debating union, I play music, I write for the SU newspaper and I spend a lot of time in the bar & the coffee shop just hanging out with friends. Hell, I skipped a lecture on Thursday to spend four hours in the bar with one of the girls, and in that time we got through a plate of chips, two longnecks of cider (me), a class of coke (her) and a coffee (her again). We were just relaxing, and everybody needs that, surely?

        Also, even though the most sexist awful guy I know is Irish born & bred (and his ‘antics’ drive his Middle-Eastern dad insane) I only know of one case of what boils down to attempted sexual assault – a tiny, stereotypically Irish girl attacked by 3 Japanese guys. So hey, this is Ireland, we’re an awful country with a pretty high rate of rape, so this is statistically insignificant, but from a personal perspective it kind of backs up the whole ‘male dominated society’ thing. It’s not the fact that they tried to rape her, it’s that they genuinely didn’t see it as attempted rape: she’s a sexually mature girl, ergo she must be up for it. I have another friend who was warned about this when she spent 6 months working in South Korea, basically the advice was “girls your age [18] and plenty of the girls you’ll be teaching will be dressed like sluts from even a liberal Western perspective. You can’t do that. You have to dress modestly or you’ll be seen as an acceptable target. Oh, and maybe stop dying your hair scarlet and pink.” This from a Korean-American woman who had experienced this kind of problem when she visited the mother country.

        I guess the point is that it’s not just Japan, but that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable…

    • Hi Panthersan ! ! !

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment ! ! !

      But really Panthersan you make school sound terrible ! ! ! It really is not that bad ! ! !

      First of all club activities are fun ! ! ! It is the time the kids play sports and follow their interests and hobbies. It it the part of school time where all the things you say about developing interests and your personality happen ! ! !

      There are clubs about all kinds of interests. In my school there were clubs for everything from cooking and dress making and tea ceremony to a brass band, choir and astronomy, modern dance and traditional dance. There were sports clubs also and we had softball, Futsal (like mini soccer) Kendo and track and field, swimming and a cheerleading team. There was also an English literature club where we learnt and acted in plays in English. The clubs are usually formed and run by the kids and teachers act as club advisors or coaches etc.

      My time in high school was really fun and actually in the light music club was where I developed my knowledge and love of western pop and rock music and I developed my interest in theatre in the English Lit club and I actually went on to study Performance Art at university as result of this.

      Actually, I do not see UK schools with the problems of discipline and poor achievements in literacy and basic maths as doing anything very much better.

      Now I am not saying that Japan is not a male dominated society, but then how equal is the UK or USA really anyway? And if you compare to other Asian countries Japan is really very much better than most.

      Also I just want correct something. The age of consent is 13 in national law, but nearly all prefectures have laws which raise this to 16. So it is not quite true to say it is 13.

      Now also I am not saying that the school girl uniform is not used in pornography, I am just saying that the school girl uniform is not just a sex fetish item. It is an iconic item and has a wider and totally non sexual significance as well. In much of J-pop the use of school girls and school uniforms is nothing to do with school girl fetish or sexualisation and next week I will develop this argument more.

      I hope you will be able to read next week ! ! !

  15. AIP – In my mid-twenties I was long-term single with feelings for a close friend. It took me far too long to give up on the relationship prospects, and then two relationships with other lovely people were affected by the women concerned not being sure about a bloke with a close friend / confidante who they used to be in love with. I ended up disengaging from / dropping the close friend, for the sake of my future happiness, but hurting her in the process. I’d say it’s worth persevering for love, but if it doesn’t happen, draw a line somewhere before your twenties are too much further gone. I feel very lucky with MummyP and two children, maybe I just had to go through all that and get into my forties before I met the right person….

    SAKURA – I think a post on any variety of porn would be a really bad idea for the ‘Spill. Not because we couldn’t discuss it properly as a community, but because we’d get the wrong sort of attention and traffic. Others might know more than me about the risks and how to reduce them, but I fear that it wouldn’t go well… And that the cultural distinctions between different national porn industries are probably superficial ?

    • DP – Thanks for the advice! The rational, cynical part of my brain is going: “Ha! Persevere for love with someone who has had the mantra ‘men are s***’ drilled into her by her mother since she was a toddler, is mentally unbalanced and most importantly ALMOST DEFINITELY ONLY SEES ME AS A FRIEND! You must be joking!” Unfortunately I’m human and we’re not really all that rational, so I suspect I will push on, for now at least. I’ve been in several relationships in the time I’ve known this girl, some good, some awful. However, the only friend I can confide in about this stuff (because he’s older, wiser, trustworthy and gay so not a competitor haha) has informed me that they have all resembled – in looks, personality and occasionally insanity levels – my friend. I flipped out when he told me that… The way I see it, I’m still very young, so my life has time to sort itself out (unless the nutters are right, in which case I have until December 21 :D ).

      I agree with your point about not having a porn discussion :)

      • Ummm . . . . .

        If you have been friend zoned then you should forget about ever having anything more. There is no way back.

        Sorry AIP but you are wasting your time. Find some one who appreciates you and forget about being anything except a friend to this girl.

      • Sakura Darling ! ! !

        Thanks for the advice, and I agree with you, but see my above comment on humanity’s inability to do the rational thing haha… I’d probably give up now if she hadn’t spent a good four-hour block last week flirting with me *headdesks as he realises the stupidity of that statment* … excuse me, I’m off to listen to some really depressing emo music and eat Ben & Jerry’s before I have to go into college later and explain to my supervisor that I don’t have a solid thesis topic because I haven’t been able to sleep or concentrate on anything for the last two weeks. The ‘Spill game is up, by the way! :)

      • I’ll add my 2p here – I had a situation with someone where we tried to give a shot to being more than just friends. What an unmitigated fucking disaster that was. A friends with benefits situation can work, but only if the feeling on both sides is genuinely friendship and affection, and not anything much deeper.

        Now i’m not saying that it can’t work. But you can’t expect that it will either. And drag it out too long, there can be more than an unpleasant tinge of masochism in there too.

      • …and that is why Pete Wentz was invented haha. Like I say, don’t worry, I’ll be fine. It it comes to it, I’ll go out on Thursday night, get pissed and score… and that just makes me sound like a terrible person, doesn’t it?!

    • :) To quote Fall Out Boy “We don’t fight fair” Actually, I wasn’t being a player, my gay analyst friend tells me I was running away from my feelings. He said “I’ve never known anyone as manic as you. You’re always doing something, you never stop. Everyone else we know who works hard in college has one other big interest, you have about a billion. Stops you from having to think, eh?” Git. :D

  16. Well what an interesting discussion !
    I think that Sakura wins the internets for pointing out that the Western model is not all that. We’ve got little to be proud of, really, when it comes to constructing a working, cultured society.
    It could be argued that Western women have more “freedom” than their Japanese counterparts but do they really?
    I know that if I were a girl I’d feel a lot safer in Tokyo or Kyoto than I would in Newcastle or Slough on a Saturday night.

    I’d also say that a lot of things can be fetishised ( Lord knows I’ve tried !) and it’s not the fault of the schoolgirls that they attract pervs ( I sincerely doubt that that is there motives). If anyone’s attitude needs approbation and changing it’s the guys not the girls.

    As for J-porn post. Very bad idea. I’d be quite happy to talk about such things but this isn’t the place and there’s the danger that the blog would attract the “wrong” sort of visitor.
    An intersting topic but for another place , I’d say.

    • Pairubu –

      Do i think it’s the fault of 13 year old schoolgirls that they attract pervs? Of course not, that’s the point. They need to be looked after. Do i think that older girls, and purveyors of the schoolgirl look aren’t trying to sexualize it and are doing it in all innocence? Do i fuck.

      • “looked after” by whom ?
        The stats on teenage pregnancy would seem to indicate that despite all the best efforts of pervy elders to sexualise Japanese youngesters they are failing miserabley
        2007
        Japan teenage pregnancy per 100, 000 = 4.9
        USA ” ” ” ” ” = 42.5
        UK ” ” ” ” ” = 26.7

        I’m not defending the pervs but it looks to me that it’s no Japan that has the issues with oversexualisation of the young.

      • Looked after by the culture for one thing. Not saying that any of ours do a bang up job of it.

        Look, you have a teenage daughter, it’s not news to you that there’s a big difference between 13 and 16, and 16 and 18, and 18 and 20, etc. At some point as they get older they become a lot more aware. And innocence can quite easily morph into disingeneousness too. Hey, i’m a girl (really!), i know of what i speak here.

      • Pairubu – we’re not saying Japan is unique or ‘worse’ than the West. We’re saying denying that this happens would be disingenuous. Trust me, I’m objectively-speaking only out of my teens & already I can say that 14, 15 yo girls in Ireland now are WAY more sexualised than most of the girls I know were at that age, and until we face the elements of human society & culture that contribute to this it’ll keep getting worse. That’s my view, anyway.

      • As for the pregnancy rate, well, if Japanese porn is any indication of anything, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of actual fucking going on there. But there’s a lot of other stuff.

  17. p/s

    Post about Japanese music – 5 comments
    Post about Japanese schoolgirls – 112 comments ( and counting)

    What does that say about the RR massive ?

    • I’m hoping it says that after a weekend of nominating and listening to music, it’s good to rest that faculty and discuss a wide range of cultural and political issues. But I might be wrong.

    • In my case it says that I have more important things that I don’t want to have to think about! I might also add that a sizable chunk of those posts are effectively me and amylee going “Argh! No! Pedo central!” I really need to do more real-life stuff, don’t I? :D

  18. Opened my twitter feed and what did I find in my timeline? Someone I don’t know had tweeted “Flirtationship = more than a friendship, but less than a relationship”

    THAT IS NOT A THING!

    *begins to laugh the laugh of a man on the verge of a mental breakdown*

    …and yet…

      • I do try :) Don’t worry about me, what’s life without a brief pause in functionality while the OS is waiting for an upgrade? :D Even with my hyperactive metabolism, all this ice-cream is TOTALLY going to make me fat unless I stop soon though…

      • life is big and wide. There’s a whord world of neat stuff waiting for you. (and granted, an awful lot of shit too.) Look at the big picture and don’t let yourself get boxed in. If it doesn’t work out, i guarantee that some day you’ll be wiping your brow and saying, thank fuck that didn’t work out.

      • I orobably will, given her mental health issues and general belief in the shittiness of humanity :D There’s a difference between cynicism & mild misanthropy (me) and not wanting to have children because that just adds more awfulness to the world (her)

      • I’m one who never wanted kids, and now it’s too late, which i couldn’t be more delighted about. It’s a good weeder outer for relationships.

  19. Wow. This thread sure has lit the fuse on a powder-keg of worms. For the record, there’s a girl’s school not far from me and whenever I’ve driven past of a lunchtime, I’ve seen not one pupil walking or standing in the playground. Everyone, but everyone, is sitting in one of the many circles spaced across the playgroud like crop circles. I’m not saying it freaks me out but, if I was Edward Woodward, I’d be looking down to check whether someone’s nicked my trousers and set fire to my tootsies.

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