#KuToo Movement: protest against mandatory high heels at work in Japan Favorite 



Jan 24 2019



Yumi Ishikawa, a Japanese actress, freelance writer, and part-time funeral parlor worker, started the #KuToo Movement because she feels it’s unfair she has to wear heels at work. She also feels that being required to wear heels is rooted in a cultural problem, one much deeper than physical discomfort.

Many businesses in Japan require working women to wear heels or pumps between five and seven centimeters, or 1.9 and 2.75 inches. For jobs that necessitate women to be on their feet all day, like Ishikawa’s job at the funeral parlor, the shoes are a significant inconvenience. She believes that she would be more productive and efficient if she could wear flats or sneakers. When she complained via Twitter about the societal convention, she received nearly 30,000 retweets and more than 60,000 likes. As a result, other women began sharing their own stories of discomfort with heels, posting photos of their bloodied and blistered feet in solidarity with Ishikawa.

The social media campaign tag #KuToo is a triple pun, playing on the Japanese words kutsu (shoes), kutsuu (pain), and the #MeToo movement. Ishikawa makes the argument that mandatory heels for women only is a form of gender discrimination. Working men have no comparable dress code to follow. Men are expected to dress professionally, but do not wear ties and suit jackets in the summer. This allows room temperatures to be kept higher, saving on energy.

(Quoted from https://daily.jstor.org/what-is-the-kutoo-movement/)

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Then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated during the parliament session that women should not be forced to adhere to the dress codes. Ishikawa, the organizer of the movement, tweeted that the Japanese health ministry promised to mention #KuToo movement in its brochure about harassments in the workplace distributed to businesses. In response to the movement, Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, the two biggest Japanese air carriers, decided to abolish the dress codes that requires female workers wear high heels.