Schools in Japan have banned female students from wearing their hair in a ponytail over fears that the hairstyle could "sexually excite men", a teacher has revealed.
Former middle school teacher Motoki Sugiyama said school authorities told him that girls cannot sport the updo because showing the nape of their necks might have aroused the opposite sex.
Sugiyama taught for 11 years in five different schools in the area of Shizuoka and said they had all prohibited the style.
He compared the bizarre rule to another regulation about girls having to wear white undergarments so it cannot be seen through their uniforms, reports VICE World News.
“They’re worried boys will look at girls, which is similar to the reasoning behind upholding a white-only underwear colour rule," he said.
“I’ve always criticised these rules, but because there’s such a lack of criticism and it’s become so normalised, students have no choice but to accept them."
Although there are no nationwide figures on how many institutions still impose the rule, a 2020 survey implies that around one in ten schools in the southern prefecture of Fukuoka banned the hairstyle.
Other restrictions enforced by Japanese schools include the colour of socks, the length of skirts and more unconventionally the shape of eyebrows.
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Students are also prohibited from dying their hair and are forced to prove their natural hair colour or style if it's anything other than "black or straight."
Sugiyama uses the popular platform TikTok to discuss the strict regulations and said pupils often are left without a valid explanation.
He went on to claim that several of the demands are contradictory as some schools allow shorter hairstyles which would show the nape of the neck.
However, he did highlight that many schools introduce such rules to prevent students from taking things too far.
He mentioned that undercut styles are also banned as students could potentially use them as an excuse to validate their reasoning for other hairdos.
"If the two-block [undercut] is okay, then some students might start saying the mohawk should be okay," he added.
But overall he believes the majority of the rules were "unreasonable demands" and encouraged sexism while discouraging self-expression.
It has been reported that the regulations, known as buraku kōsoku or ‘black rules’, date back to the 1870s.
In June families called on the Japanese government to amend the guidance for schools across the country, however, many schools are yet to display a change.
"Many schools ignore notices that aren’t legally binding or that don’t have penalties," he explained.
But Hosoyamada Junior High School, in Kagoshima, has revised its rules following underwear complaints. Now pupils can wear black, grey or navy blue undergarments.
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