TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese teenager is suing the government of Osaka, saying her public high school repeatedly forced her to dye her naturally-brown hair black or be banned from attending school, local media reported on Friday.
In a lawsuit filed in Osaka District Court, the 18-year-old girl said her mother informed Kaifukan School in Habikino city upon her enrolment that she was born with brownish hair, as the school had a policy banning hair coloring, media reported.
Educators, however, instructed her to color her hair black, telling her repeatedly that the dye job was insufficient and forcing her to “either dye the hair black or quit school”, Kyodo news reported, citing the lawsuit.
The girl has not attended school since September 2016, suffered pain and irritation from the hair dye, and is seeking damages of about 2.2 million yen ($19,300), said media, adding that Osaka prefecture is asking the court to reject the claim.
Masahiko Takahashi, head of Kaifukan School, said he could not comment directly on the case, but noted the school’s policy prohibiting students from dyeing or bleaching hair. He declined to say whether it was permissible to dye brown hair to black.
The girl could not be reached for comment.
In Japan, where conformity is the cultural norm, many schools have strict rules about hair color, accessories, make-up and uniforms, including the length of skirts for girls.
Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Michael Perry