At the end of each school year, e-commerce sites in Japan see a sudden spike in the sale of a special commodity: second-hand schoolgirl uniforms.
According to RocketNews24, teen Japanese girls who are willing to let go of their used outfits can earn some quick cash by selling them online.
Although sellers often pitch their used schoolgirl uniforms to cosplay enthusiasts or new incoming students, the exorbitant prices the listings demand is a telling sign that they are likely geared toward adult men who are “joshi kosei” (high school girls) enthusiasts.
In a post on second-hand reselling app Mercari, a seller offers a package of both the summer and winter uniforms on sale for 10,000 yen (US$89).
— こーへー (@kouheirec) February 25, 2017
Some are sold at very high prices ranging from 150,000 yen ($1,310) to over 300,000 yen ($2,620).
It is also suggested that some schools command higher prices than others, so some sellers note the name of the academic institution in their listings.
So far, buyers have been doling out cash for the average 20,000-yen-plus schoolgirl uniforms. Of course, with a diverse target market, it is not far-fetched that some elite buyers will shell out the money for the more expensive ones.
Since high school girls have long been romanticized and/or fetishized in Japanese pop culture, joshi kosei-related business ventures have increased in recent years and the teens are simply cashing in on the growing demand.
Netizens (via Rocketnews24) were split on the phenomenon when it first emerged last year:
“I LOLed when I saw all the school uniforms up for auction on mercari.”
“They’re selling their uniforms on mercari?! Their parents must be in tears!”
“But people who buy from the graduated school girls on mercari will be able to get their home address, won’t they?”
“Even though they’re selling their uniforms, isn’t it common for them to include underwear with them?”
“The ones from Tokiwagi Academy are fetching a pretty high price!”
“You could start a business by buying new uniforms and putting them up as used on mercari.”