井の中の蛙

10/7/2007

Controversy over the origins of the Japanese schoolgirl sailor uniform

Filed under: — Nick Kapur @ 10:39 pm

fukuoka-jogakuin-1921.jpgFor years private girls academy Fukuoka Jogakuin in Kyushu has been credited with first introducing in 1921 the famous sailor-style uniform worn by so many middle-school Japanese girls. However a recent investigation by a uniform manufacturer preparing an exhibit on the history of Japanese school uniforms has unearthed photographic evidence that Heian Jogakuin in Kyoto introduced a uniform with a sailor-style flap one year earlier, in 1920.

heian-jogakuin-1920.jpg The debate has heated up, with both schools insisting that they were the first and that the other schools claim is invalid. At a time when declining numbers of Japanese children are forcing private schools to become increasingly cuthroat in their competition for students, having an awesome uniform with a storied past is seen as a way to attract students.

While it seems incontrovertable that the Kyoto school had the sailor flap first, their uniform was an unsightly, shapeless one-piece, where as the Fukuoka school’s uniform is clearly a precursor to the style still in use today, so maybe both schools have a reasonable claim.

Source: セーラー服:発祥論争 平安女学院VS福岡女学院 (毎日新聞)

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