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West Japan students wear pink masks inspired by anti-bullying movement

Student council members at Mie Prefectural Nabari High School are seen wearing pink masks that were inspired by a worldwide anti-bullying movement on the final day of a school festival on Nov. 27, 2020. (Mainichi/Tatsuo Eto)

NABARI, Mie -- Student council members of a high school in this western Japan city distributed pink masks inspired by a worldwide anti-bullying movement on Nov. 27, the final day of a school festival.

    As the Mie Prefectural Government designates November as "bullying prevention reinforcement month," Mie Prefectural Nabari High School asked the student council around mid-October to discuss what kind of efforts they could engage in. Second-year student Kazuho Osaki, 17, and others came up with the idea of handing out the pink masks.

    Osaki said that while she had been browsing the internet to search for ideas, she learned about a movement in Canada where two students called on classmates to wear pink shirts when they found out that a boy of a lower grade had been bullied for wearing pink to school, leading to the school overflowing with pink-clad students. Osaki said, "I worked on this in the hope that bullying won't occur at Nabari High."

    Nabari High School held a substitute event from Nov. 25 in place of its annual sports festival in June and school festival in October due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Students were seen wearing the pink masks on the last day of the festival. Although the event was carried out on a smaller scale, with attendance of parents and other spectators canceled, Osaki commented, "I wanted the event to be a success for third-year students that could not participate in school events at all. I'm glad if they were happy about it."

    (Japanese original by Tatsuo Eto, Nabari Bureau)

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