The #KuToo movement continues to grow in Japan after the petition presented to the government against the practice that obliges women to use heels at work. The initiative was initiated by freelance actress and writer Yumi Ishikawa and has already collected nearly 20 thousand signatures, becoming viral on social media in the space of a few days. 

The name borrows the term ‘kutsù, which in Japanese means shoes, and’ kutsuù which instead translates the word ‘pain. Ishikawa had immediately realised that she had generated turmoil on the net through a tweet, when she told his personal experience, after being forced to wear high heels during a part-time job in a funeral home.

The document presented to the Ministry of Labour speaks openly about gender discrimination, citing the recent campaign of the ‘Cool biz’ adopted by the executive in the summer months, which grants the austere ‘salary man’ – the archetype of the Japanese office clerk, not having to wear a tie. The suffering experienced by women in having to wear shoes with high heels, including inflammation of the big toe and blisters, are also described. 

The first comments of members of the executive, however, were not benevolent. The Minister of Labour, Takumi Nemoto, responding to a question from the opposition during a parliamentary question, said that: “It is generally accepted by society that women should wear shoes with high heels, and it is a practice considered necessary and appropriate in the workplace”.

Nemoto also stated that forcing women to follow a dress code would be an abuse of power only when the employee has a sore wound or foot, and is forced by the employer to put on high heels. For his part, Ishikawa reiterated that the purpose of the campaign is to change the perception of the community, to convince people not to consider as a lack of education the choice of a woman to wear comfortable shoes, like her male colleagues.