A Half-Black Student in Japan Excluded From Participating in High School Graduation After Showing Up with Cornrows

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ Matthew Henry

A Black Japanese teenager in Japan was separated from his classmates during his graduation ceremony because his hairstyle broke school rules, VICE World News reported. 

The unidentified 18-year-old boy wore cornrows to his high school graduation and was pulled by school administrators who said the style went against the school’s policy. The boy said he wanted

“neat hair”

for his graduation and asked his dad, who is black, about the hairstyle. Teachers took the teenager away from his classmates and placed him on the second floor alone. He was also told by staff to not

“respond to his name when it was called,”

reports note. 

The student’s father spoke out against the school’s actions in an interview with local journalist Mainichi Shimbun,

“Braiding is a way for Black people to arrange their hair, the same way that Japanese people part their hair. It’s discriminatory to assume that a hairstyle with roots is a violation without any reason.” 

Asao Naito, an associate professor of sociology from Meiji University told VICE World News that the school’s restriction is not uncommon in Japan as they have implemented strict school rules known as burakku kousoku, which requires students with hair that isn’t black or straight to provide proof. Some schools even ask that you submit childhood photos, reports reveal. 

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