I have previously published two articles at The New Leaf Journal about some interesting (and sometimes, peculiar) dress code rules about hair color in Japanese middle schools and high schools (article on naturally brown-haired student; article on rule changes in Tokyo). Both of those articles were prompted by reports which appeared in SoraNews24. Naturally, I could not pass up on mentionining a new hair-dress code story reported by the outlet:
In April, a public junior high school in the Fukuoka town of Kurume was conducting a check to see if students were complying with the school’s rules regarding hairstyling and dying. … [One] 14-year-old girl had been removing hairs at the edges of her eyebrows to give them a more groomed appearance. The school ruled this to be an infraction. She was punished with three days of besshitu toko, “separate-room schooling,” a form of disciplining in Japanese schools where students who have broken a rule must do their day’s schoolwork in a separate room, away from the rest of the class, essentially a form of in-school suspension. She was also made to write an essay reflecting on her transgression.
As I noted in my previous posts, I support dress codes in middle and high schools as a general matter. Moreover, I do not have an issue with prohibiting hair coloring or eyebrow shaving. But a suspension for eyebrow grooming? I concur with Kurume (the city where the incident occurred) city councilwoman Mutsumi Kaneko, who was quoted in the SoraNews24 piece:
How is it wrong for he to groom her eyebrows? By not letting her study in her regular class, and making her study in a separate room, did they think that was going to make her eyebrow hairs grow back? This school’s eyebrow rule is outside the bounds of logic.
The incident has apparently made national news in Japan (according to SoraNews24), so perhaps this will lead to the school (or school district) fine-tuning its rules about eyebrow grooming in the future.