As per Motoki Sugiyama, a former middle school teacher in Japan’s school, administrators told him that girls must not wear a ponytail because exposing the nape of their necks could “sexually excite” male students.

While referring to how most schools require girls to wear white undergarments so that they won’t show through their uniforms, Sugiyama said, “They’re worried boys will look at girls, which is similar to the reasoning behind upholding a white-only underwear colour rule.”

“I’ve always criticized these rules, but because there’s such a lack of criticism and it’s become so normalized, students have no choice but to accept them,” he added.

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Sugiyama has taught at five different schools in Shizuoka prefecture, some 90 miles southwest of Tokyo, over the course of 11 years, all of which prohibited ponytails.