The Japanese school uniform is modeled on European-style naval uniforms and was first used in Japan in the late 19th century. Today, school uniforms are common in many of the Japanese public and private school systems. The Japanese word for this type of uniform is seifuku (制服)
The Japanese junior- and senior-high-school uniform traditionally consists of a military style uniform for boys and a sailor outfit for girls. These uniforms are based on Meiji era formal military dress, themselves modeled on European-style naval uniforms. The sailor outfits replace the undivided hakama (andon bakama 行灯袴) designed by Utako Shimoda between 1920 and 1930. While this style of uniform is still in use, many schools have moved to more Western-pattern parochial school uniform styles. These uniforms consist of a white shirt, tie, blazer with school crest, and tailored trousers (often not of the same color as the blazer) for boys and a white blouse, tie, blazer with school crest, and tartan culottes or skirt for girls.
Regardless of what type of uniform any particular school assigns its students, all schools have a summer version of the uniform (usually consisting of just a white dress shirt and the uniform slacks for boys and a reduced-weight traditional uniform or blouse and tartan skirt with tie for girls) and a sports-activity uniform (a polyester track suit for year-round use and a T-shirt and short pants for summer activities). Depending on the discipline level of any particular school, students may often wear different seasonal and activity uniforms within the same classroom during the day. Individual students may attempt to subvert the system of uniforms by wearing their uniforms incorrectly or by adding prohibited elements such as large loose socks or badges. Girls may shorten their skirts, permanently or by wrapping up the top to decrease length; boys may wear trousers about the hips, omit ties, or keep their shirts unbuttoned.
Since some schools do not have sex-segregated changing- or locker-rooms, students may change for sporting activities in their classrooms. As a result, such students may wear their sports uniforms under their classroom uniforms. Certain schools also regulate student hairstyles, footwear, and book bags; but these particular rules are usually adhered to only on special occasions, such as trimester opening and closing ceremonies and school photo days.
It is normal for uniforms to be worn outside of school areas, however this is going out of fashion and many students wear a casual dress. While not many public elementary schools in Japan require uniforms, many private schools and public schools run by the central government still do so.