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Homogeneous Japan prefers uniformity, and sometimes enforces it by “hammering down the nail that sticks up.” But has that been carried too far?

For example, many public schools in Japan insist that students wear uniforms and not dye their hair. Sounds not so unreasonable, right?

But what if your hair is naturally brown? In that case, you must submit documentation to these schools that this is the natural color of your hair.

Even so, a brown-haired girl in Osaka prefecture, whose mother had submitted records to Kaifukan Public High School, was ordered to dye her hair black. (Do you see some irony here?)

She complied, but was told: “NOT BLACK ENOUGH!” and was ordered to dye it so many times that a painful rash developed on her scalp.

Still she was ordered to continue dyeing her hair blacker or leave the school. With her health at stake she had no choice but to stay home from school. She is suing Osaka Prefecture, but it is doubtful that this will change anything.

Many, or perhaps most, Japanese think this is too extreme, but others support a "homogeneous Japan."

Has the “Fit in or Fail” mindset gone too far? What do you think?


by Diana K. Rowland




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