Japanese school girl sues government after being forced to dye her natural hair

School-girls at zen rock garden, Ryoanji, Ryoan-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty

A Japanese student is suing her district after she was repeatedly forced to dye her naturally brown hair black.

The 18-year-old woman alleges she suffered mental anguish at the repeated insistence that she needed to dye her hair to match school dress code, the Osaka District Court has heard.

When the time came for her to start high school her mother enquired about acceptable hair colouring but was told it would not be an issue.

Soon after arriving the student says she was subjected to comments from teachers about her hair colour, warning her she would need to dye it darker.

By the second semester of her second year the student says she was getting warnings every four days about her hair, and the repeated dye jobs had damaged her hair and scalp.

The student says teachers began making offensive comments about her hair, causing her to feel bullied and anxious.

"Is it because you have a single mother, that you always change your hair colour to brown?" one teacher allegedly asked.

The student claims a teacher told her not to come back if she did not dye her hair. She did not return and her name was removed from the school roll in April.

The Osaka Prefectural government does not allow non-natural hair colours. Black hair is commonly as the natural colour, which is why her brown hair could have been seen as unnatural.

Some high schools in the area have introduced a Natural Hair Color Registry, where students with non-black hair can become accepted as such.

The student is asking for 2.2 million yen (NZ$28,000) from the Osaka Prefectural government due to emotional damage.