Figure 1.--The style of short pants as dress wear for boys became well established in Japan during the 1950s. Thus Japanese boys participating in in music recitals would commonly wear short pants. This boy was dressed up for his younger sister's recital.
I believe the music recital was largely a European institution
introduced after World War I and the American occupation. The recital
became accepted in Japanese life during the eary 1950s, the same time
that the fashion of short short pants became accepted as proper dress
wear for boys. Boys often performed in white shirts, ties, short pants, and kneesocks--often white kneesocks. Boys did not commonly wear suits. Some recital were small group affairs and there were also huge auditoriu-size Suzuki recitals.
The Japanese continued to see the music recital as a dressy occasion well after American and European boys began dressing very informally, especially beginning in the 1960s.
Boys' dress fashions for recitals were highly seasonal in Japan. Boys
during the cooler winter months would likely wear a suit, often with a
tie and kneesocks. During the warmer summer months, suits were less common, and boys might wear just a dressy shirt, either open collared or with a tie, often with white kneesocks.
What ever the season, Japanese boys would commonly wear short pants for important events like recitals. Fron the 1950s when recitals became more common for children studying music, the short pants the boys wore tended to be quite short--as was the style for boys' short pants at the time in Japan. This continued with little change until the mid-1990s when longer shorts became more common in Japan.
Recitals in Japan can be small affairs much like in America with the children performing individually or in small groups. A remarkable teacher, Dr Suzuki, pioneering a novel appraoch to teaching musical instruments. The method proved so popular that mass recitals were organized for the often small children that learned through his methods.
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