2014-06-25_173800

“Hang on a second,” I hear you cry. “An illustrated book of pretty girls in school uniforms? Who’s buying this? And why?”

Let’s take your questions one by one.

“What is the ‘Collection of Taiwan High School Uniforms, exactly?”

It’s the latest book of illustrations from artist Wang Chong-ju. Right down to the number of pleats in the skirt and the stitching of the school crest, he’s illustrated and explained the girls’ uniforms of 51 schools in northern Taiwan.

“So they’re sexy schoolgirls?”

Well…the girls in this book aren’t depicted as sexy – in fact, Wang drew them to a strict six-point checklist:

1) The uniform must be worn correctly, according to school rules.
2) No dyed hair.
3) No permed hair.
4) No make up.
5) No accessories.
6) No cleavage.

“No cleavage. No panties on show, either, then?”

Presumably not.

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“What’s the appeal?”

Arguably, what we’re seeing here is the fetishisation of innocence and chastity. (Fetishisation isn’t too far away from sexualisation, but it’s not the same thing, either). Wang is known for his depictions of beautiful, smooth-skinned young women, as well as famous Taiwanese scenery.

“I see. Who’s this Wang guy, anyway?”

Wang Chong-ju is a 31-year-old Taiwanese artist who goes by the name of Chiyou. This is his seventh book of illustrations.

“And what are Taiwanese school uniforms like?”

They vary from sailor suits (a remnant of Japanese rule):

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… to simpler white shirt and skirt combos. Didn’t you read my other article?

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“Errr… anyway. How accurate are the pictures in the book?”

Wang went to extreme lengths in a bid to achieve 100 percent accuracy in the illustrations. He even checked out the type of stitching used, and the patterns on the buttons.

“How’d he find that out?”

Painstaking research. As he told the Taipei Times:

“To learn more details about the uniforms, I had to conduct careful research online, or approach female students on the streets … I also called up each of the schools asking them to provide me with more information.”

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“Is there going to be a boys’ edition?”

Probably not. A Japanese language edition is coming out in July, though, for Japanese readers who aren’t happy with just looking at the pictures.

“Oh yeah, Japan! Didn’t they have a book like this too?”

Yep, a long-running hit. The Tokyo Joshikou Seifuku Zukan (Tokyo High School Girls’ Uniform Illustrated Guide) was published every year from 1985 to 1994.

“I heard you can buy schoolgirls’ used panties in vending machines in Japan, too?”

Well, that’s illegal now, anyway…

“Isn’t this all a bit creepy?”

Depends who you ask, really. You’re the one that keeps talking about panties.

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Top image: Studio Amatiz
Other images: RocketNews24, preview pages of Japanese edition via My Navi Books
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[ Read in Japanese ]