Pop quiz! When you hear about Japanese schools, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
- A warm and inviting place to freely express yourself.
- A totalitarian environment that makes Joseph Stalin look like a softie.
- An environment centered around nurturing your unique strengths.
While technically none of those are true across the board, I think we can generally agree that 2 is a lot closer to the image of Japanese schools portrayed in most anime and video games.
And yet with all of Miss Sakurada’s throwing Usagi out of her classroom for the mere transgression of eating lunch early, I can’t help but find that Juban Junior High seems to give their students a lot of free reign.
Today we’re going to take a look at the ins and outs of Juban Junior High and see what we can find out. Be sure to comb your hair and tuck your shirt in, kids! We’re playing purely by the rules here.
So how, exactly, are we supposed to deduce the rules from a completely fictional school, anyway? Obviously just watching a few episodes and writing down everything Haruna yells at her students over isn’t quite going to cut it.
Fortunately for us, that’s where the officially licensed Sailor Moon R Juban Junior High School Student ID comes in. This bizarre, piece of Sailor Moon merch was released back in 1993 during either the end of the first season or the very early parts of Makaiju arc of Sailor Moon R.1
From what I can tell, these products are relatively rare and don’t seem to show up often on online auctions.2 Making things even more difficult, they only released IDs for the three Sailor Senshi attending Juban Junior High, meaning just Usagi, Ami, and Makoto. While I wish that we could have had something for Rei and Minako, I realize that the additional work vs. payoff probably wasn’t worth it when you could just copy and past these three.
So what do these school IDs actually contain, I’m sure you’re asking?
Well, as you’ve probably picked up on by now, the opening page consists of what looks to be a fairly generic school ID, including the Juban Junior High School logo,3 a photo, and some information about the student. There’s actually a lot of interesting stuff to break down here, so bear with me for a moment.
- Student ID number: I admire the fact that they did pay enough attention to have Usagi’s number be the lowest, followed by Ami’s, and then Makoto’s. Nice attention to detail!
- Class: Nothing too remarkable here — the class numbers are correct, though. Usagi is in Class 1, Ami in Class 5, and Makoto in Class 6.
- Signature: Usagi signs her name with a rabbit. Absolutely perfect and spot on… and also consistent with the anime!
- Birthdate: They suspiciously omit the year here, though the dates are correct.
- Address: Left blank, because that’s totally not suspicious at all.
- School Information: The address is half complete so there’s no way you could track it to a physical location. The phone number also includes placeholder characters as well. Most interesting, though, is that the principal is listed as “Naoya Takeuchi,” a play on Ms. Takeuchi’s name.
- Picture: Here’s where things go sideways. Makoto’s picture’s fine as is Ami’s, though I do find it hard to believe that the usually proper and by-the-book Miss Mizuno would be winking in her official school photo. Fan service, maybe? But the biggest issue is actually with Usagi: she’s wearing her brooch, you see, and she only received that after the school year started. While you could certainly make a case and argue that her picture was taken a bit later, since this is clearly from some time in her second year, I still think it’s a pretty poor attention to detail.4
Luckily for us, the treasures in this little booklet don’t stop there!
School History / Philosophy to Proper Living
The student booklet opens up to the history of the Juban Junior High School (dating back to 1954, by the way). It includes such incredibly important information like when the school crest and flag were settled upon, who became principal and when, and even when the school pool was completed!5
More interesting to me, though, is the concept of what is listed as “Juban Junior High School’s Statute on OASIS Philosophy.” It then goes on to break down オアシス (o a shi su; oasis) into its core components and how they feel this leads to a healthy and proper lifestyle.
- O = Ohayo (good morning)
- A = Arigatou (thank you)
- SHI = Shiawase desu ka? (are you happy?)
- SU = Sumimasen (I’m sorry)
These are the values under which they want their students to carry out their lives in order to lead a proper and healthy life.
Something tells me that there’s some sort of joke or reference going on here that I’m just not picking up on, though.
Didn’t know that Usagi’s school had a song? Surprise! Neither did I. Even more surprising, though, is that it should have served as heavy reference that our hapless heroine just never happened to pick up on. Titled “Maboroshi no Ginzuishou: Silver Crystal,” the song was written by none other than Ms. Takeuchi herself and debuted in episode 34 of the anime when the Silver Crystal appeared.
I never really thought about it before, but considering that Naoko herself simply named the song “Silver Crystal,” I wonder if that can finally put to rest all the legendary, mystical, mysterious, and other clunky translations for the ginzuishou. Alas, probably not…
School Uniforms and Rules
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: just how is it that Usagi’s school is so loose on its rules that Makoto is allowed to just wear whatever uniform she pleases and the rest of the Sailor Team come to school with earrings in.
The most interesting points are as follows:6
- Summer uniforms are worn from June to September. From October to May, it’s the normal long-sleeved uniform.
- Skirts must be no longer than 10 cm above the knee. They may be shorter, but longer is strictly forbidden.
- Underwear must be white, and worn at all times.
- Piercings are strictly forbidden unless you had them prior to entering the school, or some other special circumstances (including permission from your parents), in which case they will be allowed from a medical standpoint.
- If you cannot wear the standard uniform, then you may submit a form stating as much, though it is highly recommended that you change to the proper uniform within 90 days of coming to the school.
So lets go backwards from the less creepy information and make our way up.
According to this, there’s grounds for Makoto wearing her own uniform and even for the Sailor Soldiers keeping their earrings even when not transformed.
The underwear thing is certainly odd, but not without precedence in the real world. Only in recent times have schools been called out for overstepping their boundaries in some of the bizarre restrictions they put on students.7
The skirt length needing to be short (“the shorter the better”), however, is just plain creepy. Likely it was written as an in-joke by one of the people working on this. But I guess it also fits into Makoto’s image as a deviant, long-skirted rule-breaker?
While this is definitely a fun piece of the Sailor Moon universe to own — and I freely admit that it feels pretty awesome to have Makoto’s school ID sitting on my desk — this is pretty obviously not a part of the Sailor Moon canon.
It’s not a total loss, however!
We still get a nice look at the Juban Junior High School emblem (something we usually only see in passing), we get some cute signatures for three of the characters, and you could probably find some deeper meaning in the school’s proposed OASIS philosophy.
With that out of the way, now I have a question for you: what Sailor Moon location would you like to know more about?
- We can tell this based on Usagi’s brooch. ↩
- It’s also possible that kids often wrote phone numbers and personal information in them, meaning most sellers are hesitant to actually part ways with it. ↩
- Or one of them, at least. There are at least two different versions that appeared in the first season of the anime. ↩
- Alas, as we all know, I’m pretty pedantic about these things. ↩
- March 31, 1964 — in advance of the up-and-coming Tokyo Olympics. And yes, that actually was a big deal back in the 1960s in Japan. ↩
- See uniform rules ↩
- See 白い下着以外は脱がして没収？ 「ブラック校則」が子供たちを壊す ↩