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HOME  > Past issues  > 2017 December 6 - 12  > Forced dark-dying hair at school violates human rights: JCP Kira
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2017 December 6 - 12 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Forced dark-dying hair at school violates human rights: JCP Kira

December 6 & 10, 2017

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Kira Yoshiko on December 5 criticized the "student guidance" at an Osaka public high school for denying a female student's personal choice by repeatedly forcing her to dye her naturally-brown hair black.

Resultantly, the 18-year-old student was compelled to file a lawsuit against the Osaka prefectural government in September, demanding about 2.2 million yen in compensation for mental anguish.

According to her lawyers, her hair pigment is thin by nature, and her mother told an Osaka prefectural-owned high school in advance that her hair is naturally brown. However, the high school "guided" her to have the hair dyed black every two weeks. The following year, this "guidance" escalated to every four days, causing her to suffer from hyperventilation and scalp rash. She then became unable to go to school. After she advanced to her senior year, the school deprived her of learning opportunities by deleting her name from the student roster and removed her seat from the classroom.

Kira in the Upper House education committee pointed out, "The school's reaction is unrelated to education and infringes on the individual student's right to learn." Minister of Education Hayashi Yoshimasa responded, "That was inappropriate 'guidance', so the Ministry issued a correction instruction to the Osaka Board of Education." Kira also said that school rules which specify the color of hair and even the length of uniform skirts do not comply with the accepted norms of present-day society and added, "It is necessary to discuss and work together with students to reform such outdated rules."

Yotoriyama Yosuke, an associate professor at Niigata University, said on the Akahata Sunday edition (Dec.10), "Hairstyle belongs in the category of personal freedom. To force someone to dye their hair black constitutes a serious violation of human rights. Any punishment which gives no consideration to the individual situation or dignity runs counter to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child." Yotoriyama continued to say, "One major reason is that the government adopts a zero-tolerance policy as a tool to maintain the competitive school order among children. This method automatically and ungenerously punishes dropouts."

Education critic Ogi Naoki also said on Akahata Sunday edition (Dec.10), "School rules are, in principal, set for children to enjoy school life safely, never for teachers to control them." Ogi furthermore pointed out that Japan, though ratifying the UN treaty on children's rights, has not reformed domestic laws in order to have them abide by the UN covenant and that the government responsibility in this sense is very grave.
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