Nara schoolgirls shun bare legs in favor of a vaguely Islamic aesthetic

Asahi Shimbun, 21 June:

At Kintetsu Yamato-Saidaiji Station in the evening, full of uniformed high school students, I watched with a distant eye, recalling myself in my younger days. And I noticed that the girls’ skirts were long–covering the knee as a matter of course, but overlapping the socks so that the legs couldn’t be seen at all. I thought it must be some school with harsh rules, but it wasn’t just one school. Watching each school as a high school baseball reporter, the miniskirts seemed to have fallen behind, as long skirts were in the majority. “Since about two years ago, there have been many students with skirts covering their knees,” says a male teacher at Koriyama Senior High. Under ordinary school rules the skirt must be long enough to cover the knees, but when I was in high school, it was usual to see 15 centimeters above the knees.

Why long skirts? “Chon-chon (short skirts) are tacky now,” says second-year Yuki Takahashi. “The shape of the skirt looks cute,” says third-year Ayumi Fujimoto (17). Another opines that “I don’t want a Pocky tan (where the socks leave a tan line), so I pull my socks up to the bottom of my skirt.”

This is a pendulum that should have swung the other way a long time ago. Although teachers complain about short skirts, the implicit acceptance of that aesthetic in popular culture has made Japan look like a nation of “hot, shallow and superficial sluts with knee socks and short skirts that live to exist like real world barbie dolls.” What’s interesting is that in Nara, it appears to be the natural forces of fashion that are taking short skirts out of favor and making more modest dress the “new hotness.”

I’m sure that Marxy has a lot to say about this…

24 thoughts on “Nara schoolgirls shun bare legs in favor of a vaguely Islamic aesthetic”

  1. You know the old axiom about the relationship between hemlines and and the state of the economy. Skirts that go all the way down are therefore clear sign of full-scale economic depression. However, I’m still not quite sure how to fit the current trend of fairly short shorts or skirts combined with skin-tight leg coverings into this equation.

  2. I must admit I’ve never heard of Sukeban Deka before, but the description makes it sound kind of fun. Is the manga/drama/anime recommended?

  3. It is a way over the top streetfighting shojo manga. Like “Otoko Gumi” for girls.

    I have a soft spot for the anime – done by Dezaki who did Ashita no Joe, Golgo 13 movie, Black Jack OVAs, Rose of Versailles, Oniisama he, and a few other love em or hate em titles.

    The manga is very good but it is very 80s and I’d say that you have to be in the mood for it – check it out at a net cafe or Bookoff first.

    The 1980s live action – well, if you are in the mood for big hair, shoulder pads, and a side of cheese, go for it, but don’t go sober. It’s kinda like a cross between The A-Team, Taiyo ni Hoero, Kinpachi Sensei, and Watashi wo Ski ni Tsurettete.

    The recent film – Combines everything that you hate about Japanese (reverse) Matrix ripoffs, Korean Dramas, and V-Cinema. Worse than the live action Devilman.

  4. Live action versions of 80’s are actually the must item for Ilove80’s crowd in Japan.
    It has late 70’s Daiei drama-like texture.(Over acting,bizarre script and deus ex machina endings.Much like K-drama of today).
    The first one was stared by Saito Yuki.The second is Minamino Yoko.The third one is Asaka Yui and two others.They are all icons of the decade.

  5. Remember this is Nara we are talking about. Skirt lengths vary from place to place depending on the particular high school’s culture. 2ch commenters noted they tend to be short in Kyoto and Shiga for instance.

  6. This is not just a Nara trend and it has been gathering force for at least 6 months.

  7. The students in the photo are most likely junior high school students, who must conform to stricter dress codes.

  8. Appearantly, 80ies fashion is coming back. Wearing miniskirts are not cool anymore I guess (I hate the 80ies, but not because of the length of skirts). What I don’t understand is why young girls are wearing long skirts DURING SUMMER, and miniskirts DURING WINTER.

    The interesting thing is, when I was a teenager during the 80ies, school regulation in Kansai area have apparently banned wearing long skirts for school uniform and kansai girls had to wear skirts above the knee length.

    When our school went to the school trip to Nara and Kyoto, I remember all the Kansai high school girls looking with envy as my classmates were all wearing skirts below the knee length (skirts above the knee length were forbidden in our school).

    Was a perfect example for me and my friends at that time, how regulations about school uniforms were just arbitrary and absurd.

  9. If only the boys could learn to wear their suits properly, instead of looking like they got fired from a job and have been sleeping on the street for days (and stole somebody’s tennis socks in the meantime).

    If this skirt trend does catch on–which, if it closer to what the school requires the girls to wear, it *should*–then it follows that girls will stop holding their damned bags against their skirts when they go up the stairs at the station. Albeit necessary, that was as a behavior fairly irksome.

  10. I’ve noticed the bag thing too, but it seems more common for short-skirted girls to simply hang on to their hind ends with one hand as they go up the stairs, which looks even sillier.

  11. I like it when I see a high school girl smart enough to be wearing gym shorts underneath her skirt so that she doesn’t have to worry about guys catching a peek on the stairs/bicycle. Few things look stupider than a girl riding a bike one-handed while using the other one to keep her skirt from blowing up and showing her panties.

  12. I agree with points that tomojiro and Tokyo Fashion made, that this might not be a Japan wide trend. I lived right between Kobe and Osaka until last year and was surprised by how the “bad” high school girls in Kansai were wearing long skirts while they smoked. After moving back to Kanto I couldn’t help but noticing the shortness of skirt length. Culture shock without even leaving Japan.

  13. I think the regional differences are going to be there, just as there were schools in the US in the mid-80’s where people did not peg their jeans.

    I am starting to wonder if there is any decent way to measure this at all. Talking about the tastes of girls at a top science high school in Nara and those of gyaru from Shibuya is comparing apples to oranges (←questionable fruit metaphor…), and so I’d like to see the comparison controlled for region and high school.

    You’d all like to see it too, you sickos.

  14. Sukeban Deka is definitely worth checking out. It makes yo-yos really sexy. Am I betraying my great age when I admit that I thought as a teenager that Nanno-chan looked way hot in that uniform? I haen’t seen the recent film, but if as M-BOne says, it’s actually worse than the live-action Devilman (which was jaw-thuddingly BAD) then I never will.

  15. やっぱり、コーデネートは、こう出ねえと。 な。

    Or something. 18 comments? Awesome.

  16. I agree that it’s probably not fair to compare the Shibuya gals with the Nara super-students, but look around central Tokyo and I think you’ll agree that even the “normal” schoolgirls are still wearing skirts rolled extremely short. In fact, this season’s fashion seems to be all about showing more skin, not less.

  17. True that the trend is different in Tokyo and Kansai. I agree that in Tokyo, that most of the teenage girls are still sticking to miniskirts. But during a recent business trip to Kansai, I was astonished to see high school girls uniform which adopted trousers. Kansai and Tokyo are sometimes very different.

  18. Reminds me of ‘Rescue from Gilligan’s Island’ when they finally get off the island, the Skipper hears about how while they were gone the skirts went from long to mini and back to long and tells this to Gilligan with tears in his eyes.

  19. Eh, when I was living in Japan a few years ago it always struck me that the school uniform skirts in the Osaka area were longer than Tokyo or even most rural areas I traveled thru on the 18 Kippu. Was like going back in time or something. Maybe its even more pronounced now, but I wouldn’t call it new.

  20. I sure whould like to find a 18 year old girl to rub her legs. it whould make us feal good,

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