TOKYO: Nearly half of Tokyo high schools ask students with hair that is wavy or not black to submit certificates confirming that their hair is not artificially altered, public broadcaster NHK has reported.
Of 177 high schools run by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, 79 ask for these certificates signed by parents, NHK said on Thursday (Feb 25), citing information the Japanese Communist Party obtained from the metropolitan government.
In Japan, many schools have strict rules about hair colour, accessories, make-up and uniforms, including the length of skirts for girls.
Tokyo's board of education told NHK that the hair certificates are not compulsory. But the broadcaster said only five of the 79 schools make it clear in writing that students aren't required to submit them.
In 2017, a woman in Osaka sued the prefectural government for damages after she was forced to dye her naturally brown hair black.
The then-21-year-old sought about ¥2.2 million (US$20,700) in damages, claiming she suffered mental distress as she became a truant student.
According to the ruling, cited in an article by the Japan Times, she stopped attending school in her second year after she was ordered to dye her hair. The court ordered the government to pay her ¥330,000 for failing to include her name in attendance records after she stopped going school.
Tokyo has also banned metropolitan junior and senior high schools from instructing students to dye their hair black when it is naturally another colour.
A notice issued to schools in September 2019 demanded that "schools respect students' human rights when providing instructions on hair colours and dealing with problematic behaviour", reported the Mainichi news outlet.