125-year-old Tokyo school wants its boys to think of proper grooming as part of their “gentlemen’s education.”

Most high schools in Japan these days are co-ed, but there are still some single-sex institutions too. The ostensible logic is that single-sex schools make it easier for students to keep their minds on their studies by preventing the daily distractions of teen romances between classmates.

However, the administration at Seisoku Gakuen, an all-boys’ high school in Tokyo’s Kanda neighborhood that was founded in 1896, doesn’t want its student body to devolve into uncouth, uncultured ruffians either. So last Friday all first-year students at Seisoku were required to attend a special lecture on personal grooming.

▼ Video of the lesson

The purpose of the grooming seminar, as it was officially called, was to “promote and understand grooming as an aspect of proper etiquette.” Seisoku invited a representative from men’s grooming product maker Mandom to speak to the 150 students, who are 15 or 16 years old, about skin care lotions and hairstyling wax, and the lesson included instruction and practice in using both.

The grooming seminar is the newest addition to the school’s “gentlemen’s education” curriculum, which was first instituted for the 2020 school year. Toru Kojima, the Seisoku faculty member in charge of the program, says: “We started the program with the strong hope of helping Seisoku students enjoy an active and cool student lifestyle in the heart of Tokyo. Being conscious of and skilled in grooming and how to take care of their uniforms and dress shoes imparts a fresh, hygienic atmosphere, and styling their hair allows them an avenue for self-expression even if they are all wearing the same uniform.”

▼ Speaking of coolness, Seisoku Gakuen’s promotional video is filled with scenes of not just studying, but also music, martial arts, and even flower arrangement.

Online reactions to the grooming lesson have been overwhelmingly positive, with comments for the event’s video including:

“It’s awesome that a school is taking the time to teach this.”
“I hope other schools will start doing the same.”
“It’d be nice for schools to have classes like these for girls too. A lot of schools don’t allow the students to wear cosmetics, but then a lot of companies’ dress codes say women can’t come to work without any makeup on.
“The kids would probably be too embarrassed to figure things out on their own, but if they’re all learning together, no one has to feel awkward.”
“If you don’t already have proper grooming experience, it can be really hard to have to suddenly catch up when you’re going to job interviews.”

It’s worth noting that the focus for the lesson seems to have been more on “grooming” as opposed to out-and-out stylishness. As many commenters pointed out, being able to make yourself look presentable is an important job-hunting skill, especially in Japan where visual first impressions often carry a lot of weight and potential employers put a lot of importance on how seriously the candidate seems to be taking the application. Granted, you could argue that a lot of kids already know how to groom themselves by the time they get into high school, but since the late teens are when a lot of lifestyle habits really become set, for those kids that could use some pointers, this is an important time to give them.

Source: Kokusai Shogyo, YouTube/【公式】日テレNEWS via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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