Japanese Schools And Uniforms

A school uniform is a social symbol that means “students of XX school”. In Japan, the overall silhouette consisting of a jacket, trousers, and skirt is common to all schools, but the details, such as the colours and lines of uniforms, badges and emblems, express the differences of each school. 

Japanese people can identify who a person is from the similar but slightly different design of the uniform. Uniforms for boys are broadly divided into school uniforms with collars or blazers, and uniforms for girls are broadly classified as school uniforms for girls.

It is common for shoes and socks to have a designated colour and manufacturer, but this style of school uniform, which is commonplace for Japanese people, has become an object of admiration for the young people of Generation Z in other countries.

The Japanese school uniform is so characteristic that you probably don’t have to make an effort to make a mental image of it, and the truth is that when you go to Japan, you discover that the children dress exactly as you imagined.

What Are Japanese Schools And Uniforms Like?

In case you still don’t know exactly what the Japanese school uniform is like, called seifuku in Japan, it basically consists of boys wearing a military-style outfit known as gakuran, and girls wearing a sailor outfit called sailor fuku.

In general, they are usually similar school uniforms for all schools in Japan, although in recent years important variations have been seen.

Japanese School Uniform In Elementary School

In Japan, younger children do not always have to wear too strict a uniform, there are schools where the little ones normally wear common clothes.

When it’s time for them to wear a uniform, it’s easier in the early grades. It is mainly made up of a white shirt or polo shirt, depending on the time of year.

Also shorts for the boys and skirts for the girls with long white socks, and a dark jacket.

Note that it’s normal to see children wear yellow hats when they are walking down to school. It is a warning sign to respect their pace. They often carry a small boxy backpack, which makes them look adorable when you bump into them in the morning.

Must Read: Top 10 Things To Know Before Studying Abroad In Japan

Japanese School Uniform In High School

In high school, the Japanese school uniform is usually compulsory. The older boys usually wear long trousers, and the girls always wear skirts.

In all cases, teenagers wear a jacket, which can be combined with a shirt or short-sleeved T-shirt depending on the time of year. In winter, Japanese students wear thick socks to cover the part of the legs that are exposed when wearing a skirt.

Japanese Uniform For Boys

Japanese boys wear the gakuran to school, a uniform made up of a jacket with a mandarin collar closed with buttons in the purest military style.

The colour of the jacket and pants is usually always black or dark, combined with a white shirt underneath.

Japanese Uniform For Girls

Japanese schoolgirls wear the Japanese sailor uniform, which is usually navy blue. They combine a shirt with a sailor collar and a more or less long skirt.

Although the base of the uniform is usually very similar in all Japanese schools and institutes, the type of tie they wear around the neck changes. 

The colour of the uniform can also vary, and today you see shades of black, different blues, greys, and even greens.

More and more uniforms can be seen among Japanese boys and girls made up of a Western-style jacket with a skirt and pants. The current trend is for the uniform to be more similar to that of the rest of the world, with a simpler and more casual aesthetic.

Uniform Specifications

Mainly for men. Although it is mainstream in junior high schools, blazers are becoming more mainstream in high schools.

There is a “standard school uniform” defined by the Japan Clothing Industry Federation, and there are many schools throughout the country that use this as their uniform.

1. Blazer

Mainstream type in high school. It is a uniform that is relatively often adopted by new high schools and model changes. Some schools set their own specifications, some set only colours and types, etc. Specifications vary among schools.

Women’s kimonos are often combined with ribbons. In some schools, it is also possible to combine slacks. Also, although the number is small, there are schools that use slacks as standard. 

2. Sailor Suit

For girls, most schools combine skirts all year round, but some schools allow slacks to be selected in winter. Also, some schools require that students wear slacks in winter.

Felice International School  has adopted a sailor suit as a uniform for boys (Summer shirts are common for men and women. Winter jackets are slightly different for men and women, but have similar designs.)

3. Hanging Skirt

Suspended skirts are often used as uniforms for elementary school girls, but there are some schools where elementary school boys can also choose skirts as uniforms.

It is removable (in most cases, suspenders for elementary school students cannot be removed, but suspenders for junior high school students are manufactured with buttons).

Brief History Of Japanese School Uniforms 

Japanese uniforms began in the late 1800s. The history of the uniform for boys was very similar to the gakuran and came complete with a cap. 

However, the girls’ uniform was unique. In keeping with tradition, it included a kimono and a hakama, or pleated pants that cinch at the waist. These pants allowed girls freedom of movement to participate in athletics. 

However, this trend was short-lived. In the early 1900s, girls changed into sailor suits, which made mobility much easier.


In conclusion, the people of Japan are very fond of wearing a uniform and are happy to use this opportunity. 

Provided everybody wears a uniform, there won’t be any possibility of discrimination based on financial capabilities. 

Japanese believe that school uniforms serve a number of purposes. They promote a sense of unity and equality among students and school uniforms take part in education. It gives benefits for Japanese society.

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