Reasons Why Rules Are Important As Per Example Of Japanese School

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Japan is famous for its education system as well as for its strict school rules. In fact, according to a research done in an urban area in Tokyo, 80% of the elementary schools have 10 to 49 rules and 80% of the junior high schools have 30-69 rules (*3/16). One of the reasons of why there is so many strict, unquestionable rules in the country, is that Japan’s education is heavily influenced by Buddhism teaching where teachers word is unquestionable and his duty is not only to educate but also guide his pupil through life. And this kind of philosophy is evident in nowadays schools in Japan as most of rules are targeted at the everyday behavior, instead of academic honesty.

For example, some schools in Japan require that students who sneeze more than three times must leave the classroom and visit the school nurse, they prohibit gatherings of three or more students or making eye contact with students from other schools, students are not allowed speaking with an accent or in local dialect, (*JT) boys cannot hold hands with girls at school and girls are not allowed to give chocolate to boys on Valentine’s Day. What is more, the looks of students are also highly controlled. From most junior school the uniforms must be worn every day, no accessories or changes to the uniform are allowed. Many students considered these navy blue or black uniforms to be dull, when they studied in 80’s (*1/55) and they in fact have changed little. Despite that, the real problem with strict rules of uniforms is not that they ugly but that they can be also harmful to students as even during winter girls must wear skirts and no socks or scarfs (*JT). But what is the purpose of these strict uniform rules? “Look at the militaristic future of Japan” – my half Japanese friend says bitterly while observing school children. And in fact, many scholars school uniforms as reflect at attempting to control and regulate human bodies and minds through clothing (*5) and that is very evident in Japan, where the belief of homogeneous nations is still strong and a saying “The stake that sticks out gets hammered down” is one of the best ways to describe societies look on anyone who is different. Even though, uniforms can be seen as an attempt to hide a person’s social status and a way to make everyone equal, but anyone who has ever studies in school knows very well that there are many other ways to show or know someone’s financial stability, you could do it just by asking fellow student what they do during weekend. Moreover, the strict regulation of uniform rules creates an opportunity for sexual harassment as teachers — sometimes male — might be allowed to check the color of girls’ underpants or bras.

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Never the less, the control of students’ looks does not end there. Many schools do not allow hair styles in which hair is bellow eyebrows or dying hair. However, in 2017 Osaka high school student brought a lawsuit as her school demanded her to dye her naturally brown hair black. (*JT) For any Western person this might sound like violation of human rights and true to that according to research many school rules do violate human rights like freedom of expression (*1/53). Some schools try to justify it by stating that by having strict rules for the looks of students, they can notice and register easier if there are any problems in students’ life. For example if well behaving and properly dressed girl, who always does her hair according to requirements, one days come to school with dyed hair, there might be some problems in her family and teacher could take actions to help her (*1/57). However, it could likewise be seen as a way to control a person in their private life. School should be mostly concerned with academic performance of a student, not to get involve in their personal matters. Moreover, there are even cases of students’ deaths by so called shidōshi (death from school rule-related “guidance”), because of created stress from being monitored in every step. (*JT)

The problem is that in Japan it is seen necessity for the teachers to be observing all because they are responsible for the total development of each child (*4/381). This kind of attitude has many issues. First of all, it can create tension between a student and a teacher. Most students, especially teenagers, do not want to be monitored by adult and teachers are not exception and by damaging relationship with the teacher because of rebellious behavior can have negative consequences on studies’ results. Speaking of which, as teachers are encouraged spending their time and attention to students’ behavior, the quality of studying can drop very easily. The true is, that there are schools where a student would never be expelled for any amount of copying or plagiarism but a student would typically be sent home for a violation of the dress code and could be expelled for continual violations (*2/93). It makes you question the purpose of school. Is it a place where a child can gain academic knowledge and skill or is its’ main purpose is to make a decent and acceptable member of society, what in reality should be the duty of child’s parents.

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