Like so many other students around the world, Japanese schoolkids used to view their uniforms with disdain. For decades, the sailor suit represented a symbol of conformity, forced upon the student population by evil adults intent on brainwashing Japan's youth into becoming obedient, conservative salarymen and housewives. Then, anime and manga became popular, and suddenly school uniforms (especially female ones) were all the rage.
According to a recent article in the Asahi Shinbun, anime's fetishization of sailor uniforms has transformed their image in Japanese youth culture. As a result, fashion-conscious schoolgirls are now turning their previously despised outfits into trendy threads. Self-modification is common, as is purchasing expensive name-brand uniforms from specialty clothing ships like CONOMi. Furthermore, many girls are wearing their uniforms even when their school does not require them, simply to be fashionable.
However, these schoolgirls are not sexualizing themselves. According to Toyoko Yokoyama, the vice president of CONOMi, most girls prefer a modest uniform with a mid-length skirt. Although they want to be stylish, she says, they also want to seem like young women "with a proper upbringing." The miniskirted teenage vixens of anime are, at least for the time being, still fiction.
Purely for the purposes of study, I have put together a gallery of anime schoolgirl pictures for your benefit. Feel free to examine them, then offer your opinion on this latest fashion trend.
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