Today was my culture presentation so I decided to do Seifuku (制服) or uniforms, specifically school uniforms. I think I left some parts out and my English failed near the end so I am typing a short synopsis. They were introduced in the late 19th century and based on Meiji military dress which was based on European military uniforms. There are 2 main types: Gakuran (学ラン) for boys and Sailor Fuku (セーラー服) for girls. Gakuran are based on Prussian army uniforms and sailor fuku are based on British naval uniforms because they were the primary military and naval powers at the time. School uniforms are required for middle and high school but not in most elementary schools.
Gakuran are usually black but can also be navy blue. The top is composed of a jacket with a standing collar with buttons going down the center. Matching straight leg pants are also worn usually with penny loafers or sneakers. Caps are also traditionally worn but it is less common in modern times. A tradition associated with the gakuran is the giving away of the second button from the top to the person one is in love with at graduation as a form of confession. It is said that since the second button is the closest one to the heart, it contains the emotions accumulated over all 3 years of school.
Sailor fuku are composed of a blouse with a sailor-style collar with a ribbon tied in front which can come in several variations and a pleated skirt and penny loafers. They are usually blue and white. It was originally thought to have been introduced by Fukuoka Jo Gakuin (福岡女学院) in 1921, but about a month ago research showed that they were first introduced by Heian Jo Gakuin (平安女学院) in 1920. In modern times, sailor fuku have been seen as as fashionable and is sometimes a deciding factor for where girls want to go to school. Sailor fuku are also a popular item with otaku. The most popular sailor fuku in Akiba right now is the one from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu followed by the one from Lucky Star.
Here you can see an assortment of otaku dancing to Hare Hare Yukai in the streets of Akiba. (Quick Culture Note: Hokou Sha Tengoku (歩行者天国) is a term that is used to describe when streets are closed off to vehicles in order to allow pedestrians to walk and shop along the roads without fear of getting hit. The 3 locations in Tokyo where roads are closed off to traffic on a Sunday are the main road in Ginza, selected roads in Shinjuku and Akihabara. Vending and performing in the street is strictly prohibited which is why they all disperse after seeing the policemen.)
Here you can see some students performing Motteke! Sailor Fuku with Lucky Star characters in the front and Haruhi characters in the back.
My Favorite Rendition: 新生ＣＨＯ団 第一弾 もってけ！AWAYユカイ
When I do study abroad or whenever I go to Japan, it is my duty as a Haruhi and Lucky Star fan to do the Hare Hare Yukai and Motte dances in Akiba at least once. Of course, I would still need to get a hold of a male Haruhi uniform and maybe also some male and female Lucky Star uniforms to go along with the female Haruhi uniform I already have. lol This is pretty sad, isn’t it!?