Japanese School Uniforms are a Changin’

August 11, 2010

New School Uniforms in Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan. Mitaka is a city within Tokyo with a population of 175, 712. It was founded in 1950 and has one official Universiy and High School. Somewhere in a hard to find location there is a “clothing optional” college. It’s more of a pre- college similar to county colleges in America. You get an equivalent of an associate’s degree.

Ren Watanabe, principal and headmaster, founded the school Fuki Bunka consisting mostly of high school graduates that aren’t quite ready for a University in 2006 and the enrollment has been increasing since. It’s offers college preparation courses and some under graduate programs like any other school except the dress code is different. Although the teachers are required to remain clothed while teaching, the students are free to go to class and walk around the campus nude. It’s not a requirement for the students so some stay clothed mostly the males. It is required for all students to wear shoes for health reasons.

“I feel that nudity relaxes most students and they tend to learn more when not worrying about what to wear.” Says Ren Watanabe.

It’s not a real well known school and breaks no laws so those that do know about it let the school do their thing. It seems that people in Japan are more open to new ideas even in their educational system.

“At first, I thought there might be a problem with the young men staring at the girls or try to have sex with them but so far they are very polite. Luckily we live in a free yet reserved and polite country.” Says Ren.

When students were asked why they attended such a school the responses were mostly because they like the freedom of being nude while learning. The school also offers classes that others don’t like human development, film, animation and has a strong music department.

“I like it here better than other schools not just because I don’t have to bother with clothes but because the teachers know how to teach. They work on an individual basis if they have to. They show that they care about the students.” Says second year student Teiko Uchida.

I’m not sure how well I would have done in a college like that but it’s worked for four years at Fuki Banka with students moving on to bigger universities and graduating with honors.

Maybe next time I’m in Japan I’ll visit Mitaka and try and audit a class at Fuki Banka.

Information and photograph sources: The Daily Yomiuri Online and Asahi Shimbun Online

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