TOKYO: A social media campaign against Japanese employers forcing women to wear high heels to work has drawn support from tens of thousands of people, including over 15,000 signatures on an online petition on Thursday.
Yumi Ishikawa, a 32-year-old actress and model, started the protest movement by tweeting a message in January about suffering from wearing heels every day, which has received around 100,000 likes or retweets, reports Efe news.
"I want to lose the custom that a woman must wear heels and pumps at work someday. Why do I have to work while my feet hurt," she tweeted.
Following the huge wave of support, she created the hashtag #KuToo -- a mixture of "kutsu" (shoe in Japanese) and "kutsuu" (pain), and a play on the universal #MeToo movement.
Many women responded with messages describing their own experiences and expressing similar complaints, with some of them even posting pictures of sores on their feet caused by wearing heels on a daily basis.
Ishikawa then started a petition on Change.org with an aim to get support against firms differentiating between genders while establishing rules of etiquette for employees, and ending the custom of women having to wear high heels due to their detrimental impact on health and productivity.
The campaign started a week ago, has received a promising response with more than 15,000 signatures -- well on its way to the target of 25,000.
Most companies and public organisations in Japan have a dress code requiring its employees to wear a suit and dark-coloured shoes for men, and skirts and heels for women.
However, a growing number of firms are relaxing the norms on grounds of comfort.