Fashionable or inappropriate? Tattoo in Japan

March 5th, 2013


Do you have any tattoos on you? If not, what is your opinion about tattoos? In Japan, the life can be a bit tougher if you have a tattoo especially somewhere we can see pretty easily. Tattoo is something gang members have, that is the image some people have about tattoos in Japan. It is a shame because Japanese tattoo technique is one of the best ones in the world. When there is an international competition, we can see one or two Japanese names on the list of the people who got prizes. Even tattoos are not appreciated in Japanese society, it has a long history in Japan.

Now some young TV stars or singers show their tattoo in public to say having tattoo doesn’t mean they are not serious people or dangerous people, but it doesn’t go so easily it seems. There is a traditional music show on 31st December. It is called “Kouhaku Uta Gassen”. Kouhaku means red and white, Uta means songs, Gassen means a war or a fight. It is a music show that red team and white team compete with gorgeous singers and performance. Since it is run by National TV channel, many old people watch the show too. The songs are Japanese traditional music, pop music and recent songs to entertain to all the age groups of people. The show includes many back dancers and gorgeous light works. Some years ago on the show, one of back dancers had a tattoo on his back. The dancer was on TV just a few second, but still so many calls to complain the tattooed guy in public are made to the show.  Since the incident, the show has a strict rule that no one with tattoo can be on the stage.

Japan is clearly not the easiest country to live for people who have big tattoo on their bodies, but it starts to get easier little by little. Especially if you are a foreigner, many companies compromise the point that you have tattoo on somewhere on your body. They surely ask you to hide the tattoo in some way, but if you can hide them, it wouldn’t be a problem, but if you are willing to be a public worker in Japan, it can be a problem. It is written in their guide book that they don’t hire somebody with tattoo.

My husband has 2 rock band kind tattoos on his shoulder and on his chest. When I first saw them, I was a bit surprised because it was a first time to see tattoos on my boyfriend, but by living in France for 2 years, I am so used to it now. Here in France, even you are in military, police, public office many people have tattoos and they are not hiding it at all.

Different country, different rules, what is your opinion about it?

Thank you to read my article


photo by: Hardworking

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