Anne Marie Giri wrote:
...As to the "modesty" reason, I really don't know what modesty they are wanting me to protect...
Well, I understand (and I may be wrong) this falls back on Japanese culture and tradition.
The dogi (top, pants and obi) used to comprise underwear for the Japanese. Indeed, most of the Japanese I train with wear nothing beneath the dogi - it is their underwear
. Being western, I wear boxer briefs and I used to wear a T-shirt. As the T-shirt was visible, I was asked to stop wearing it.
So, from a cultural standpoint, training in the dogi for the Japanese, is the same as a westerner training in an undershirt and briefs (or boxers, etc).
Because of this, women were traditionally allowed or required (depending on the association) to wear hakama - to cover their underwear
. Hence the reference to it being an issue of modesty.