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…