Dolled up to celebrate

japan's curious fascination with girls' school uniforms appears to be continuing unabated.

The latest evidence is the launch of a special version of Licca, Japan's answer to Barbie, who wears a uniform courtesy of an actual school.

The Sapporo Higashi high school in Hokkaido has allowed its uniform to be worn by a new version of the doll, which will be sold from next month for 2,500 yen (pound;10) each.

The doll has been a joint project between the toy company Tomy, which wanted to build on the popularity Licca has built up since first being sold in 1967, and the high school, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The doll's skimpy version of the uniform has a hemline so short it would be unlikely to pass the school's own regular dress code inspections.

But Yukiko Uchida, a member of the school's parent teacher association, said: "We thought that it would be a bit old-fashioned if we gave her a long skirt."

There is a catch to the schoolgirl Licca. Sales will be limited to past and current students and those directly associated with Sapporo Higashi high school.

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