Apparently, there’s some sort of AKB48 contest happening right now in Japan. We think it’s to select the next round of girls to replace those who’ve “graduated” this year (read: become of legal drinking age or maybe those who refused to swallow a bug on television).
We’re not entirely sure what the “AKB48 Single General Election” actually entails, but the writers at our Japanese sister site got around to thinking about how schoolgirls in other Asian territories dress and turned their eyes to Taiwan, where they were surprised at just how cute the schoolgirl uniforms in the “All-Taiwan High School Girl Elections” – apparently also happening recently – have become this year.
The second annual contest – which is basically a beauty pageant, from what we understand, although we’re reluctant to do a Google search because we don’t want to end up on a government watch list – saw a kind of astonishing 517 schools entering, with each school’s uniform presented in a sort of regional map of schoolgirl uniform styles.
It appears that the best five schoolgirl uniform styles were selected by a panel of judges, with a girl from each of the best five schools modeling the uniform style for a photo shoot. Here are the results:
First Place: Gao Yuan School of Industry and Commerce
This uniform features a classy bowtie and a nifty box-pleated skirt, giving it an air of sophistication. Our Japanese sister site writer notes that this school moved up to the top spot from fifth place last year, but doesn’t specify if the design of the uniform actually changed or if the judge’s tastes just did.
Second Place: Jiaqi Girls School
These uniforms lean more towards the classic sailor style uniforms Japan is well-known for and the dark blue on light blue probably makes coordinating the shoes – which girls are apparently free to choose for themselves – a lot easier (disclaimer: I know nothing about coordinating colors. Brown on pink is a thing, right?).
Third Place: Zhiping High School
Apparently this one fell from second last year to third this year, but again our writer is vague on what caused the change. This uniform looks almost like a perfect real-world analogue for something you’d see in a popular high school-based anime.
Fourth Place: Daojiang Nursing School
According to our writer, this one is a bit of an odd combo, for reasons we’re kind of unclear about. It seems to resemble uniforms we’ve spotted around Japan before, but it appears the blazer is kind of a rare accessory. Who knew?
Fifth Place: Gu Bao Jiashang
Again, this one appears to be taking a lot of cues from schoolgirl uniforms appearing in popular manga/anime and on the persons of many an all-girl idol group, although if you ask us there does seem to be a kind of plastic-y, Halloween costume sort of quality to this uniform.
According to at least one crucial panel member, the reasons for the mild shuffling around of the ranking and the overall popularity of schoolgirl uniforms may, in fact, have a lot to do with the influence of anime and Japanese idol bands in Taiwan. Apparently, uniforms that you might not classify as “schoolgirl” are also being worn in some of the schools that appeared in the competition, so it’s perhaps telling that all of those in the top five definitely appear heavily Japanese-influenced. The more you know!
(Note: Since we’re translating Japanese into Chinese, into Japanese again and then finally to English to yield these school names, there may be some funkiness going on with them. Apologies if we’ve got anybody’s school name wrong!)