For some in Japan, schoolgirls are an object of fetish. That can manifest itself in their appearance in mainstream media, whether that's cartoons or video games, or in far more unsettling and immediate ways, such as creeps trying to take photos up female students' skirts.
To combat these sorts of unsavory actions and to protect students, an academic institution in Nagoya is rethinking schoolgirls' uniforms. Nagoya Keizai University's feeder schools, Nagoya Keiza University Takakura Junior High School and High School, are rolling out new pervert-proof skirts, reports Asahi.
Dubbed the "culotte skirt" (キュロットスカート), the new threads look like pleated skirts, but are actually shorts. The term "culottes" refers to clothes that appear to be skirts, but are split, and they are fairly common in uniforms outside of Japan. In modern French, however, "culottes" refers to women's panties. These types of skirts are currently popular in Japan—and elsewhere.
In Japan, around 95 percent of high schools require uniforms. Many of the remaining five percent who don't have to wear uniforms want to wear them. Because each school's uniform is different, the way the outfit looks often factors in when students are selecting schools.
For Nagoya Keiza, it was important that the female's uniforms looked "cute", but still protected the schoolgirls while they, for example, rode their bicycles. Another obvious solution would be replacing the skirts with slacks, which one school in Hokkaido did, or instituting angle length skirts, as some schools have. Female students, however, often call these uniforms "dorky."
Many schoolgirls already wear athletic shorts under their uniform to protect themselves. And the culotte skirt, a style already popular with young Japanese women, appears to be a smart, safe alternative.