Say No To Wearing Buruma

April 30, 2011 Juju Kurihara Anime, Culture, Entertainment, Japan Tags: 33 Comments

In a café, over a cup of tea, a friend suddenly brought up a conversation about Dragon Ball, to be more exact, about Bulma, the girl who started travelling with Goku and Kame jisan (the old man with a turtle shell).

bulumaThis is Bulma, do you remember?

I grew up with Dragon Ball, I had all the comics. At school kids were trying to get Kamehame Ha, that trick that emits energy power from the hands. Once I was working in the mountain, taking little kids around and on the break, I saw a thin and long stream shaped cloud was hanging from the big cloud. I said to a boy next to me, ¨hey look, it´s like a shenron!¨

The boy looked at me surprised. Yes back then I was already 19 or 20 and the boy was something like 10. Dragon Ball was still on the TV but for that boy, I was way too old to know anime. Excuse you, I was there when the comic was published when he still couldn´t even speak. Ha ha ha.

oorongAnyway, I liked the concept of Dragon Ball, the idea of collecting 7 balls and the you can only ask one wish to the dragon. I nearly wet myself once, after all that effort and showed up the dragon, then Oorong shouted. 

¨Give me a gal´s panty!!¨

Puff… it was dropped from the dragon.

I always had a doubt that how come an ancient Chinese dragon knew about "gal" and "panty". But this is another story.


The point is that this conversation about Bulma had triggered a traumatic memory of my schoolgirlhood.

It was a few weeks before my secondary school life started. I'd received my school uniform, bags and other stuff I'd need. I was in the living room sitting in the middle of the stuff with a bit of excitement.

I was picking up one by one just to check what I'd got. Then stopped.

Mmm? What's this?

burumaIt looked like a panty. Only the difference was it was made of much thicker material than underwear.

"But how come the school gives us underwear? For the winter?"

I had no idea.


Then I realised that this thing was with some colothes for PE. Yet, I had a doubt.

How is possible wearing under pants in public?

I stood up and asked my mum. She looked quite normal and wasn't surprised to see it as a sportwear. She told me that it was called "buruma".

I was just shocked. I was wearing normal shorts for PE at my primary school and now with age 13, I had to run around with undie. Unbelievable…. I thought it was an insult.



Now I understood that this is worn commonly at schools as gilrs' sports wear. I see them in animation, too.

Then why boys wear normal shorts?

Is this some sort of fantasy for PE teachers to compensate being a boring job?

I still don't get it.





Buruma came from bloomers and the original version was nothing to do with underwear.

Not only it was shameful but also it was very uncomfortable because if you move hard, as it was worn when we do sports, your actual underwear would be shown.

What we did was, we were so aware of it so if we see someone's pants was showing, we quietly pointed at around her bottom or whispered to that person "your undie".

If you are a guy, I know you'd say "why not?" But still I don't think it's fair that only girls have to be embarrassed that way. Even now, I would say NO to wearing buruma!


buluma 2

Well, back to Bulma in Dragon Ball. I can't recall if she ever had worn buruma. If anyone does, please let me know.


  1. Douglas 9 years Reply

    I was remembering about our trip to that resort, Zihuatanejo Mexico. The case was that one night before of to go to the beach, my sister decided to eat hawaian pizza and to the next day she looked to herself on the mirror and suddenly she said: What happened to me!?, why I’m so fatty!?. xxDDD. Then my mom told to my sister that was the result for to eat hawaian pizza at night. For both of us, for my sister and me was a traumatic experience, one was my sister and her fatty belly, (her buruma didn’t fit her very well). Just I found buruma confy as sleep wear on the hotel room and uwabaki comfy for walking at the beach sidewalk, without socks they’re good, the sand don’t stick on them, at the beginning the strap it’s little bit tight but with the usage it looses.

  2. Falcon 11 years Reply

    Hahahaha, don’t worry, the most important thing it’s to attract girls!.
    What’s wrong when you’re atracting the girls?.xxDDD.
    Now my niece is asking to me were to find the sportswear buruma and about the uwabaki she wants the same model such as the girl of the web page, she’s 23cm shoe size and I couldn’t find pink uwabaki of her size.
    She doesn’t care if buruma are not made for splashinf or not, she’s living on one place were the weather is very very hot.

    • Douglas 11 years

      I see that you’re very obsessed with that type of embarrasing “panties”. Just I’ve seen movies or only the strippermen wear that ! >__<, when sweeping on the grass during a soccer play at the school. Just for volley ball and a gym for ladies. That's it. (is a traumatic experience and that must be finished).

  3. Douglas 11 years Reply

    No way! >_<
    It was embarrasing!, specially when the teen girls watching on me and keeping their eyes on me and telling me: "You're so kid for to have a good shaped legs" and then I came back crying to the car.
    And I heard that in Japan some bad guys are taking photos to the girls with that type of shorts.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Sounds like you have a bit of trauma from buruma experience.
      There are always people who have peculiar inclinations and Japan isn´t an exception.

  4. Falcon 11 years Reply

    Now my niece wants a pair of uwabaki in pink color!, she’s asking to me if I can find uwabaki.
    The past year I found the blue one on internet; e bay.
    Now she’s asking to me for the women’s buruma, she doesn’t care if they’re too short, she wants them for to be worn under the skirt, as Douglas says, under the skirt, according to my niece, she wants buruma for rollerskating and can be worn under the sports skirts.
    But now my big question it’s about the pink uwabaki!.

  5. Douglas 11 years Reply

    That’s so embarrasing >////<. Not only say No to wearing buruma, just tell to all the girls to grab their respective sports skirt or women's short and wear them over the buruma and that's it.
    I never thought that the trip to the resort would end so embarrasing, specially comming back to home.
    You know, just wearing my sister's sports wear; T shirt, mini shorts (buruma) and uwabaki, forced to stay on the car when stopping at the gas station and food stores.
    Buruma for splashing, for the beach or for the swimming pool isn't too bad, but doesn't dry quickly as the speedo. Just I loved the white boys shorts, for their pockets and very fresh during hot days walking along the bay. My aunt told to my mom that the short is for the boys and the "mini short" (buruma) for the girls, and the blue uwabaki for boys and the red one for the girls.
    And then my mom said to me I'm so sorry.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Hahaha, in any case, wearing sister´s clothes for a little boy sounds quite traumatic unless you like it, which is also OK. The shorts is fine. My primary school PE uniform was the same for boys and girls so when I started a junior high and was given buruma… it took me a while that was actually an outfit. I can imagine how uncomfortable wearing wet buruma because it´s not made for splashing and gets soaky.

  6. Falcon 11 years Reply

    If the shape and color aren’t to girly, that’s fine, if they look as speedos swimming wear go ahead, the only problem is if you have a good shaped body, for the girls, you’ll catch the attention of the boys and the same with the boys xD. (Just kidding). For indoor activities I’m agree with buruma and specially for splashing at the pool.
    Now I don’t know why, but I found that in Japan some girls have started to wear uwabaki as a fashion too!

    • Douglas 11 years

      My respects for the japanese women, if they say no to wearing buruma that’s fine because they don’t deserve to feel humiliated with something like that. I heard that the japanese woman is very feminine and that’s true!. They have the right to protect their body and their integrity too!.
      My respects for the japanese girl.
      If the school force them to wear buruma, well, just take your PE shorts or sports skirt and that’s it.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Even they don´t like it, as a society and the characteristic of Japanese people, it may be difficult for a student to say “no” and not to wear buruma at school. You know how important to be a part of the group.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Hi, Falcon

      Only difference between buruma and speedo or swimming wear is the material. Buruma is made of thick cotton-like material and it´s not as quite fit as the swimming wear. That´s why girls are a little conscious about their undies sticking out from the buruma.

      I´ve seen some girls wearing uwabaki in the streets, too. Also a reader of iromegane said that in Canada, uwabaki is becoming popular in some part. It´s a kind of funny to think about though.

  7. Douglas 11 years Reply

    So, buruma was brought to Japan during the olympic games in 1964?. The cheerleaders they look for buruma for to wear under the mini skirts and for a better performance, you know how is to stretch the legs, but now the cheer leaders they have to fight with the hair removal too!!!.
    So now I think that for the girls in Japan buruma is so embarrassing and specially the hair removal should be required, but with normal shorts or sport skirts is much better.
    So, the navy blue buruma could be worn for boys just for swimming as speedos!?. That’s my question.

  8. Falcon 11 years Reply

    What’s wrong with that type of buruma shorts?. they look sporty in navy blue colour, for boys with a good shaped body isn’t too bad, as Douglas says, they look as Speedos swimming wear.
    Buruma for swimming would be nice!, just for splashing or swimming.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      No, nothing wrong with wearing buruma, Falcon. I think it´s OK for some sports. But wearing for school PE is a little tough for young girls who aren´t so fit and conscious about their body. I was a swimmer and had no problem wearing speedo but was a little uncomfortable wearing buruma. I don´t know why, just a silly self conscious thing.

  9. Falcon 11 years Reply

    Now you’re saying no to wear buruma such as sports wear, meanwhile here in Canada I’ve seen during the summer girls wearing that type of short or mini shorts. The past three days I saw two girls from the cheerleading scool just wearing a hoodie jacket, buruma shorts and sneakers. Such as a couple dressed sportly, wearing the uwabaki sneakers, the girl was wearing the red one and the boy the blue ones. Other girls just wear uwabaki as fashion here in Canada!.
    Now my niece is asking to me where to find the sera fukus and the sports wear buruma!, now my niece she’s looking for something like that!.

  10. Douglas 11 years Reply

    How do you think??!!! >////_<.
    That's so embarrasing and I'm agree on to say no to wear buruma shorts.
    For the bosy should be shorts and for the girls sport skirts and that's it.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Hahaha, I wonder if one day schools decide to change it.

  11. Douglas 11 years Reply

    That’s really embarrasing >_< dont' ask me!. When my dad planned a trip to a resort. Just I remember that my sister decided to bring some sporty stuff for the beach. The case is that my mom told to me to wear my sister's buruma because they look like speedo (at that time jus I was 10 yrs old). I enden up very tanned by the sun of my whole body.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Hahaha, it´s a really common thing to happen when we are small. Sometimes parents are quite inconsiderate. Did you now find buruma comfy?

  12. Douglas 11 years Reply

    Just I remember that my aunt just visited Japan for a wedding. I remember all that staff, specially she broght from Japan two types of sera fukus for high school girls, because my aunt got charmed and she decided to bring them back home for my cousin (at that time she was may be 11 or 12 yrs old) such as sports gear and uwabaki sneakers. Just that my mom said that those uwabaki were more look like for girls than for boys by the type of strap on the top, so my mom gave almost all to my sister and my mom asked:
    “If the japanese girls wear buruma for to show good shaped legs, why the boys wear shorts and not buruma? they look like swimming swit too.”
    That’s really embarrasing.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Hi Douglas

      Yes, the strap on uwabaki looks quite girly, that´s true. Usually you put your name on the strap. I had a different model, it was a closed one and we just drew pictures and scribbled on it though.
      In terms of buruma, many girls are conscious about their legs, even they are very slim like 48kg. I guess it´s similar to the boys who aren´t swimmers are embarrassed to wear Speedo.

  13. Douglas 11 years Reply

    Interesting photo and link about buruma. For to be honest, one friend of one aunt of us, she used to visit Japan 19, 20 years ago. She told us all about Japan and schools, specially about the womens typical school uniform sailor style, i’m not sure if si “seifuku” or ”sera fuku”.
    She broght us some craftamnships from Japan, jars, dishes, tea cups. Just my sister was the only one afortunate, she received the two pairs of uwabaki, suppously the blue uwabaki would be for me and the red one for my sister. Including the sports stuff was given to my sister, the shorts, in white color and burumua, just I could keep one T shirt with one label for to write on it name and grade of the school.
    Buruma should be for female volleyball players and just for performing gymnastics or acrobatics, exercise on the gym, or when taking a splash on the pool.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Hi Douglas

      DId the lady visit Japan for business or just she loved Japan? Anyway you never know what triggers your orientation. A friend of mine loves Japan because his elder sister used to work Japan and came back with a litle Japanese dictionary when he was a little boy. Seifuku is uniform in Japanese and sera fuku is the one with sailor collared top. My high school´s seifuku was sera fuku, too, it´s quite common style although I always liked to wear shirt and a ribbon tie.

      About buruma, it´s strange that wearing a high-cut swimming suit isn´t as embarrassing as wearing a buruma. I can only tell you that I was so conscious of my undies sticking out of the buruma and it was quite annoying as a teenage girl.

  14. Douglas 11 years Reply

    What!, do you have to wear that tipe of buruma on winter?!. No way >_<.
    I have a question, the uwabaki sneakers are for boys and girls right?, and you must wear uwabaki inside of the school for to keep clean the schools flooring right?.
    But why they force to the girls to wear that type of shorts or bloomers?. Really I'm on disagree too.
    How possible that boys wear shorts and the girls should wear buruma?.
    That's too bad U_U

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Hi, Douglas

      In my school, we could wear long tracksuit trousers.
      Most of the girls complained and thought they made us wear buruma for a feast to men´s eyes. I know that female valleyball players wear them but it´s also true that buruma can be a sexual attraction to certain people at the same time. So in my personal opinion, schools should change buruma to some longer shorts for the sake of the school girls.

      By the way, you are right, uwabaki is written 上履き in Japanese and “uwa” comes from “ue” means up as in Japanese houses, you have to go up to enter, then “baki” comes from “haku” means to wear shoes or trousers. So uwabaki means footwear for inside. I guess we wear shoes because we can´t really wear slippers inside the school.

  15. Falcon 11 years Reply

    That’s right, why not shorts or shorts skirt style for the girls, zip off pants. If they’re worn under the skirt, nice. If you’re performing gymnastics it’s ok, but when leaving the gym take your pants or sport skirt.
    If you have a good shaped body you need to protect your body, specially with that type of buruma short, your legs will gonna end very tanned by the sun.
    You need to check that, buruma should be only for gymnastics or aerobics. As you say that is like walking with undies, everybody of you girls should take some mini skirt sport style and that’s it, specially for sun protection too.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      Hi, Falcon

      I did a little research. The history of buruma comes from bloomers as a part of feminism movement in the 19th and the original design was done by Elizabeth Smith Miller in 1850. You can see the photo from here, and this style of buruma was introduced to Japan in the end of Taisho period to the early Showa period. And people were wearing it under the skirt then later, after the Tokyo Olympic in 1964, American female valleyball players started wearing the one with current model and back then buruma was the most appropriate and functional sports wear for woman.

      Yes, maybe for professional players but for normal teenage girls, maybe not, especially they are the age who are quite sensible about their physical appearance.

  16. Falcon 11 years Reply

    I’m agree with that type of buruma shorts, but only under the skirt, short or pants. Buruma shuld be only for indoor activities such as gymnastics, aerobics and volley ball when the weather is very hot, but for performing general sports activities I’m on dissagree!.

    • juju.kurihara 11 years

      From my experience, it´s really embarrassing to wear it outdoor. It´s like walking with your undies. On the contrary, for guys, buruma has another significance and knowing that, it makes me even less want to wear it. I just wonder, why not shorts?

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