Okinawa hot under the hem over schoolgirls' short skirts
By Ryann Connell
May 19, 2005
Schoolgirl skirts are creating a massive war of words in Okinawa, Japan's
tropical island prefecture in the south, according to Flash.
Okinawa's schoolgirl skirt spat started in February when Katsuhiro Yoshida, a
member of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly, complained that hemlines were too
"When I've been walking through the streets recently, I've been stunned by the
growing number of girls wearing incredibly short skirts. I don't know where to
turn my eyes. And that's a bother. Have these girls no sense of shame?" Flash
quotes the politician as saying in a protest he filed with the superintendent
of the prefectural board of education. "We need concrete steps to counter
With Yoshida's rant, suddenly all eyes turned to Okinawa --- and it wasn't to
peer up schoolgirls' skirts.
Bitter debate raged throughout Okinawa's education circles, local newspapers
picked up the story and the tale of schoolgirl hemlines in the island
prefecture was soon making national news. Now, Okinawa's schoolgirls are posed
by the threat of a prefectural ordinance outlawing them from wearing miniskirt
A check by the men's pictorial weekly is revealing in more ways than one. Of 26
high school girls in Naha, the average skirt hem was 18.3 centimeters above the
knee. Not only does that ensure the dresses give local schoolgirls plenty of
exposure, it also makes them an average of 5 millimeters shorter than skirts
worn by the average high school girl in Niigata, which has long claimed to have
the skimpiest uniforms in the country.
Apparently, Okinawa's tropical climate has less to do with the abbreviated hems
"We wouldn't be seen in a skirt that wasn't short," one schoolgirl tells Flash.
"I'd rather die than be seen in one of the long skirts only the geeks wear."
Other complaints from Okinawa's schoolgirls about long dresses echo gripes
heard elsewhere throughout Japan.
"If the hem's too long, it makes you look like a junior high school kid," says
Another adds: "Short skirts make your legs look longer."
School gate inspections have become the norm at Okinawa's high schools.
"It's really tough," one high school lass moans to Flash. "We get a male
teacher with a ruler measuring how many centimeters the hems on our skirts
rises above our knees. If it's too short, they make you go home. Some girls
have been forced to change into their PE gear."
Many girls lower their hemlines for inspections and then raise them once
they've passed muster.
Others say the crackdown on short skirt uniforms is all for the good of the
The men's weekly says that fans of long skirts point to the rape of local
lasses by members of the U.S. military stationed throughout the prefecture as
good reason for the girls to choose more modest attire.
It seems likely the drive against exposing girls in the tropical prefecture is
poised to continue, judging by the stance of the prefectural board of
"We have already sent out directives to all schools regarding overall standards
of dress," a board of education spokesman tells Flash. "We will continue doing
everything that we can to make sure that schools do their utmost to make sure
students know what they have to do."
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Country' schoolgirls boast shortest skirts