Student sues school over hair dye

Wednesday, 15 November 2017, 11:50:50 AM. A SCHOOL in Japan is under fire for ordering a student to dye her naturally brown hair black in order to keep attending.

Image of woman getting hair salon dyed

A SCHOOL in Japan is under fire for ordering a student to dye her naturally brown hair black in order to keep attending.

An 18-year-old Japanese student is suing a local government body after she developed a scalp rash and other irritations after following directives from her high school to dye her hair.

Japanese schools tend to have strict rules about appearance, including hair colour, make-up and uniforms.

Many forbid students from dyeing or bleaching their hair, with some insisting on getting proof that their lighter coloured hair was natural

The teenager dyed her hair several times to comply with school rules, but teachers kept saying her hair was not black enough, and banned her from class, the Asahi newspaper said.

The girl has not attended school since September 2016 and claims that she suffered damage to her scalp from the dyeing process, local media reported.

She filed a claim in late October, seeking $AU19,300 in compensation.

The school reportedly told the girl that even a “blonde-haired foreign-exchange student would have to dye their hair black” under school rules.

The student’s mother had informed Kaifukan High School before the teen started attending that her hair was naturally brown, but teachers ordered the student to dye it black, according to documents the plaintiff submitted in court, the Japan Times reports.

Ironically, the school also has a policy that prohibits students from dyeing their hair any other colour than black.

Support: Filipino/Japanese actor and singer Sayaka Akimoto revealed she had dyed her hair black at school. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Critics of the school say the claim confronted outdated thinking in Japan, and as more students in Japanese schools come from diverse backgrounds, rules regulating the “natural appearance” could be seen as discriminatory.

Online, the student had plenty of support, including from high profile Filipino-Japanese actor and singer Sayaka Akimoto. Akimoto, a former member of Japanese girl group AKB48, revealed she did not have naturally black hair, and had dyed it at school. Her father had defended her, she said, telling her school their policy was “ridiculous”.

“Rules are important,” she said. “But there must be many other things that are more important.”

The Osaka prefectural government, which runs Kaifukan High School, has asked the court to throw out the claim.

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