Travellers in Asia will be familiar with the ability of many good-looking boys to confuse our sense of gender. Even in conservative Japan, the fine line between male and female has been recognised throughout the centuries. Take model and actor, Hikaru, 21, whose good looks, though here clearly masculine, could easily be transformed into a more feminine likeness.
This blurring of the genders has, however, rarely had official endorsement, until an untypical day at Fuji Hokuryo High School in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. Male and female students were invited to trade uniforms for what the school labelled "Sex Change Day" (or sekusu chenji dee). The event first made the national news and, minutes later, went viral.
3 boys, 2 girls.
According to one of Japan's largest papers, Asahi Shimbun, the event day took its name from "sex" and "exchange" (or koukan), though calling it "Gender Change Day" would have been more accurate. Boys wore plaid skirts and ribbons, and girls donned slacks and neckties. The aim was to allow students the freedom to distance themselves from the standardised notions of manliness and femininity.
In Japanese high schools and junior high schools, the male and female students typically have different uniforms. Although they often both wear blazers, other uniform items are based on gender. Some schools have male students wear uniforms called "gakuran," while female students wear sailor suits, drawing an even sharper distinction between boys and girls. On this particular day, however, the distinction went out of the window to, apparently, the general pleasure of all concerned.
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