Why Were Rules So Loose at Usagi’s School in Sailor Moon?

Makoto's Juban Junior High ID card

Makoto’s Juban Junior High ID card

Pop quiz! When you hear about Japanese schools, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

  1. A warm and inviting place to freely express yourself.
  2. A totalitarian environment that makes Joseph Stalin look like a softie.
  3. 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.

The Juban Jr. High School uniform

The Juban Junior High School uniform

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

Usagi's Juban Junior HS ID card

Usagi’s Juban Junior HS ID card

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.

Ami's Juban Junior HS ID card

Ami’s Juban Junior HS ID card

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!

Living an OASIS lifestyle (click to enlarge)

Living an OASIS lifestyle (click to enlarge)

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.

Juban's school song (click to enlarge)

Juban’s school song (click to enlarge)

School Song

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…

Juban's school uniforms (click to enlarge)

Juban’s school uniforms (click to enlarge)

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?

The T.A. Gakuin uniform is just so cool!

The T.A. Gakuin uniform is just so cool!

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?

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  1. We can tell this based on Usagi’s brooch.
  2. 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.
  3. Or one of them, at least. There are at least two different versions that appeared in the first season of the anime.
  4. Alas, as we all know, I’m pretty pedantic about these things.
  5. 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.
  6.  See uniform rules
  7. 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

24 thoughts on “Why Were Rules So Loose at Usagi’s School in Sailor Moon?

  1. Super interesting! All those little details make me love Sailor Moon even more!

    I would like to know more about the arcade or Rei’s shrine. I heard they were based on real places.

  2. I would like to know more about the types of swimming pools Ami and Michiru went to, as outside of fitness clubs I didn’t see a lot of them while living in Tokyo.

    Additionally, I would like to know more about the radio shows of the time like what Jadeite used for one of his evil schemes.

    • In the Black Moon arc of the manga, Ami was going to a fitness club that her father had a membership to, so I think it’s safe to say that she was usually going there. As for Michiru, I always assumed that there was a pool in her ritzy high-rise apartment.

  3. Wow, I get it is most likely a joke considering all the upshots we get (more from the sailor suits and not panties) but having the skirt rule and the panty rule is really creepy.
    I wonder if this principle “Naoya” is secretly a huge perv or if her predecessors were?

    But still, the attention to detail in this early merchandise is so much fun. I really wish they had gone even more in-depth with other parts of Sailor Moon lore.

  4. The skirt not being longer than what they referenced is probably because japanese girl delinquents would purposely wear skirts that dragged on the floor, so it was to deter that.

    • I dunno, there’s like two feet of difference between “dragging on the ground” and four inches above the knee.

  5. Lita Makoto wore her old school uniform because the school allowed her since they didn’t have any in her size

  6. As I always understood it, when Makoto transferred, they didn’t have a uniform in her size, since she is so tall and muscular (by Japanese standards), so they told her to wear what she had.

    Love seeing cool old merch resurface after so long.

  7. The skirt length was to deter SUKEBAN female gangsters, who wore altered long skirts as a symbol in that era. Not creepy. (Mako’s original design is sukeban, complete with long skirt and cigarette. She still picks fights…)

    • Knee length, I’d get. 10cm above the knee is more than a little creepy. Even creepier that it says “shorter is better.”
      Pretty sure it was someone just making a stupid joke when writing the text.

  8. Well that’s an interesting bit of trivia! I can imagine the Olympics were a big deal in 1964- wasn’t that seen as Japan’s official “bounce-back” and unveiling to the world in the Post-War years?

    The bit with the skirts seems an obvious bit of joking about the fanservice in the series. They were never really that shy from showing skin, and I’d bet the creators were in on the joke more often than not.

  9. Makoto’s handwriting is a little sloppy, Usagi’s is cutesy, and Ami’s looks like it was written by a mature adult. Love the characterization.

  10. I would argue that Usagi wearing her broach in her ID photo was not an error given that this was released during the 2nd season.

    Don’t forget that there was a possible temporal reset at the end of the first season which results in Usagi and friends not aging and repeating the 8th grade. So R actually begins again at the same time as first season in early April near the start of 8th grade, and Usagi is already wearing her broach in that first episode unlike the first episode of the original season. Since she has it start it’s not a stretch to believe she also would have likely had it at the time she had her picture taken for her ID in this reboot of reality.

    (If you really think about it, we know the events of the Dark Kingdom had to have still happened in some form, thanks in part to us seeing the puppet show with Morga, Boxy in the VR arcade, and possible clues with things Naru says. For that to be true, Usagi had to have received the broach much earlier than she did in the original season, anywhere up to a full year sooner when she was in 7th grade… Of course it’s also possible that she didn’t actually change the past, and only altered people’s perception of what happened in the past… Still it makes sense she would have shaped the re-written present to reflect that fake past which still means that since she would have had the broach sooner, her ID in the new reality would still reflect that fact so as to not contradict the imagined history…

  11. If Usagi wears her Transformation Brooch as a Civillian, I ask myself if it’s seen any more or less suspicious (In-Universe) as Ami’s Computer which always has the Mercury Symbol on top of it. The pens play about the same harp if you’ll allow that incredibly lame little pun for the moment. 🙂

  12. Loved this! The signatures are a really sweet detail.

    Do you think there is any significance of the crest design?

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