Mangaka Reveals the Social Pressure of Non-Black Haired Students

Earlier this week, Osaka school boards were sued by an 18-year-old resident for repeatedly forcing her to dye her naturally brown hair black in order to conform to the dress code.

The school staff argued that she was a distraction with her hair color, and said that even foreign students had to dye their hair too. She was expelled from school for not showing up after separate teachers remarked, “Is it because your mom is single that you always color your hair brown?” and “If you’re not going to dye your hair black then don’t come to school.”

The incident has drawn scorn on social media as parents and students attacked the policy of forcing children to cover up their natural hair color with dye. One critic is a mangaka called Niichi. He wrote a short manga inspired by the news, highlighting some of the pressure to “be normal” students can face under such policies.


Hair Manga

Teacher: “Hey, you there! The school year’s just started and you’ve already dyed your hair? Come with me!”

Yukari: “…okay”

Yukari, thinking: “This has happened to me so many times, so now I’m just like ‘again?’

Teacher: “Hmmm…”



Hair Manga

Teacher: “…Is that really your natural hair?”

Yukari: “…It’s natural. Can you see how it comes out like this?”

Teacher: “That’s okay. I’m really sorry. It’s just that…how should we handle this…If we let you keep your hair like that, other students might use it as an excuse to dye their hair your color and then things will start to get out of hand. I mean, we are a private school and have a reputation to protect…you know? So…we aren’t going to force you, but if you could dye your hair a normal shade…”

Yukari: “Teacher…”



Hair Manga

Yukari, thinking: “What is normal?”

Yukari: “…I understand.”

Girl: “G’morning, Yukari!”

Yukari: “Good morning.”

Girl: “…Did they say something to you about your hair?”

Yukari: “Yeah, I guess it really stands out.”

Yukari, thinking: “I understand.”



Hair Manga

Yukari, thinking: “A lot of people spend their day together at school, so to keep order it’s necessary to draw a line somewhere. Your hair has to be black. Your skirt has to come down to your knees. Your collar has to be nice and straight. You have to pretend to be normal.”

Boy: “HUH? Your hair, it’s black!”

Yukari: “Do we know each other?”

Boy: “You know, you seemed a lot more happy at the welcoming ceremony. Did you dye your hair?”

Yukari: “Yeah, I did. Is that your natural hair color?”


Hair Manga

Boy: “…So you dyed it. That’s too bad.”

Yukari: “What do you mean, ‘too bad?'”

Boy: “You know what I mean. Your hair was really beautiful. It was really beautiful on the ceremony day. I was in the row behind you and watched your hair blowing in the breeze, shining in the sun.”



Hair Manga

Boy: “The way it sparkled was so beautiful. I was jealous and no matter how much I dye my hair -”

Teacher: “Hey, you there, boy!”

Boy: “Uh-oh! Catch you later!”

Yukari: “Yeah…”

Teacher: “You there! No running in the halls!”

Yukari: “Hey…”



Hair Manga

Deliveryman: “Ms. Tachibana? This is the last box, where should I place it?”

Yukari: “Thanks. Right over there, please.”

Yukari, thinking: “That ended up being the last time that boy and I talked to each other. We didn’t share any classes during our time at school. We never had another conversation, so I don’t know where he is or even his name. ‘Beautiful.’ I bet he doesn’t even remember saying that to me. He probably doesn’t even remember the girl with the light-colored hair.”



Hair Manga

Yukari, thinking: “But I haven’t forgotten. Every time I open the curtain in the morning, I remember.”

Yukari: “Okay, guess I’ll start unpacking these boxes.”

Yukari, thinking: “Every time the sun shines through my bangs, I remember the words you said.”


It’s a short manga, but it helps capture the feelings some students have when being told to dye their hair. Not everyone has the “normal” black hair color in Japan, but those students are singled out to conform to the dress code.


Majored in Music @Duke, but realized that being a Jazz singer wasn't a real job. Now I spend my days watching anime and writing about the music industry. Glad to be in the new round of GB hires. Look forward to my coverage.
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