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Is brown hair allowed in Japanese school?

Is Brown Hair Allowed in Japanese School?

Japan is known for its strict rules and regulations, particularly in schools. One of the most common questions that foreigners ask when they plan to study or teach in Japan is whether brown hair is allowed in Japanese schools. In this article, we will delve into the history, culture, and policies surrounding hair color in Japanese schools.

The History of Hair Color in Japan

Hair color has always been an essential aspect of Japanese culture. Traditional hairstyles such as the chonmage or the geisha’s elaborate coiffure require specific hair colors. Natural black hair is considered the standard, and any other hue is often associated with rebellion or non-conformity. In the past, having dyed hair was a sign of gang membership or delinquency.

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The Perception of Brown Hair in Japan

Brown hair is not a common hair color among Japanese people, yet it has become a fashion trend in recent years. Many young people dye their hair brown to stand out or express their individuality. However, some Japanese people still associate brown hair with foreign cultures or non-Japanese features.

The Rules and Regulations on Hair Color in Japanese Schools

Japanese schools have strict policies on appearance and grooming, including hair color. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) provides guidelines for school uniforms, hairstyles, and accessories. According to MEXT, students are not allowed to dye their hair or wear flashy accessories that may distract from the learning environment. However, the implementation of these guidelines varies from school to school.

The Consequences of Violating Hair Color Rules in Japanese Schools

Students who violate the school’s regulations may face disciplinary action such as suspension or expulsion. Teachers may also reprimand students who come to school with dyed hair or unnatural colors. Some schools require students to dye their hair back to their natural color or wear a wig to cover up their dyed hair.

The Debate on Hair Color Rules in Japanese Schools

The strict rules on hair color have been criticized by some as a form of discrimination against students who want to express themselves. Some argue that natural-looking shades of brown should be allowed since they are not as distracting as neon colors or extreme hairstyles. On the other hand, proponents of the rules argue that they promote discipline and conformity among students.

The Impact of Pop Culture on Hair Color Rules in Japanese Schools

Japanese pop culture has influenced fashion trends around the world, including hair color. Many anime characters have colorful hair that defies natural hues, leading some fans to emulate their favorite characters’ style. However, this trend has also led to stricter enforcement of the rules on hair color in schools.

The Public Perception of Hair Color Rules in Japanese Schools

The debate on hair color rules has sparked discussions among the public and policymakers. Some people believe that students should be allowed to express themselves freely as long as they do not cause disruptions in the classroom. Others argue that conformity is necessary for social harmony and success in Japan’s highly competitive society.

The Future of Hair Color Rules in Japanese Schools

The debate on hair color rules is ongoing, and it remains to be seen whether there will be any changes to the existing policies. Some schools have relaxed their regulations on natural-looking shades of brown or other subtle colors. However, many schools still enforce strict rules on appearance and grooming.

Tips for Foreigners Planning to Study or Teach in Japan

Foreigners who plan to study or teach in Japan should be aware of the strict rules on appearance and grooming in schools. It is advisable to research the policies of your specific school before dyeing your hair or wearing flashy accessories. Some schools may allow natural-looking shades of brown, while others may require you to stick to black hair.

Cultural Sensitivity When Discussing Hair Color Rules in Japan

When discussing the topic of hair color rules in Japanese schools, it is essential to be culturally sensitive and respectful. Avoid making sweeping generalizations about Japanese culture or dismissing the opinions and experiences of Japanese people. Instead, approach the topic with an open mind and willingness to learn about different perspectives.


In conclusion, brown hair is generally not allowed in Japanese schools due to strict policies on appearance and grooming. While some schools may allow natural-looking shades of brown, others strictly enforce regulations on hair color. The debate on these rules continues among policymakers and the public, highlighting different views on conformity versus individuality. Foreigners planning to study or teach in Japan should be aware of these policies and approach discussions on cultural differences with sensitivity and respect.

What are Japanese school rules on hair?

Starting March 31, 2022, public high school students in Tokyo will no longer be required to dye their hair black or wear specific colored undergarments, typically white. These rules have been criticized for limiting students’ self-expression and have been enforced in Japan for many years, with schools dictating how students should look and behave.

Can you have colored hair in Japan?

In the past, coloring hair a different color was generally disapproved of, with schools and companies having rules against it for a long time. However, nowadays, it has become common to dye hair brown, and even blonde hair is no longer uncommon in Japan.

What does brown hair mean in Japan?

In traditional Japanese ceremonies, having dark hair is necessary, and you will not find sumo wrestlers or geisha with brown hair. Brown hair is still seen as a risky and non-conformist choice.

Is it okay to have a colored hair to school?

The color of one’s hair does not have any impact on their academic performance. No scientific study has found a connection between academic achievement and hair color. Additionally, the brain does not process the colors used in hair dye in a way that would affect academic performance.

Does Japan school Ban ponytail?

Recent regulations in Japanese schools prohibit female students from wearing their hair in ponytails due to concerns that the style may be perceived as attractive to male students and teachers. The new rule aims to prevent any inappropriate behavior and maintain a professional educational environment.

Do any Japanese schools allow dyed hair?

Recently, all public high schools in Tokyo have abolished their rules that required students to dye their hair black and follow specific underwear color regulations. Moreover, restrictions on popular boys’ hairstyles were lifted. The Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education members convened for a routine meeting on Thursday.

The Importance of Respect for Japanese Culture

Respect for Japanese culture is essential when studying or teaching in Japan. Japanese people place great emphasis on respect and conformity, and foreigners should make an effort to understand and follow cultural norms. This includes adhering to dress codes and grooming standards in schools, as well as practicing proper etiquette in everyday life.

The Role of Education in Shaping Cultural Norms

Education plays a significant role in shaping cultural norms and values in Japan. Schools are responsible for instilling discipline, conformity, and respect for authority among students. These values are reflected in the strict rules on appearance and grooming, which aim to promote a harmonious learning environment.

The Impact of Globalization on Japanese Culture

Globalization has had a significant impact on Japanese culture, including fashion trends and attitudes towards individuality. While some young people embrace Western-style fashion and hair color, others cling to traditional values of conformity and respect for authority. The debate on hair color rules in schools reflects these conflicting attitudes towards cultural identity and expression.

The Importance of Dialogue in Resolving Cultural Differences

Dialogue is crucial in resolving cultural differences between people from different backgrounds. Rather than dismissing other viewpoints or imposing one’s own beliefs, it is essential to engage in open and respectful discussions. This applies to the debate on hair color rules in Japanese schools, as well as other cultural issues that may arise when studying or teaching abroad.

The Need for Flexibility in Cultural Adaptation

Flexibility is essential when adapting to a new culture, especially one as different from one’s own as Japanese culture. While it is important to respect cultural norms and values, it is also important to be adaptable and open-minded. This may mean compromising on certain beliefs or practices to fit into the new environment.

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