On the eve of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, players and fans are advised by the organizers to cover up their tattoos during the tournament.
Many tattoo tourists
have experienced culture shock when coming to the country of cherry blossoms - where tattoos are especially stigmatized. They can't even experience the things that are most popular with tourists in Japan: people with tattoos are banned from most onsen (hot springs), sento (public baths), ryokan (inns) traditional), swimming pools, gyms or even capsule hotels.
In 2013, Erana Te Haeata Brewerton, a Maori, who went to tatkuink Hokkaido for a local language conference, was not allowed to enter the hot springs because of the traditional ta moko tattoo on her face. This incident sparked a controversy in Japan, prompting a senior member of the Cabinet to say that Japan needs to be more welcoming and respectful of international culture - especially during events of such magnitude. Rugby World Cup or Olympics.
Current Japanese stereotypes exist mainly
because of the association between tattoos and criminal organizations, or the Yakuza. The land of the rising sun has two tattoo cultures - western style and yakuza. The underground rules are mainly set for the gangs to define the area of operation.
In fact, the Japanese stigmatization of tattoos dates back to the Edo period (1603-1912), when criminals were punished with tattoos. During the same period, flower girls - also known as "Yuujyo" - also tattooed themselves to show their dedication to serving loyal customers.
Tattoos gradually became illegal in the Meiji period (1868-1912) and were only legalized in 1948 - when Japan was occupied. However, this law does not apply to foreigners.
Although prejudice still persists today
service businesses are starting to open up to guests with skull clothing tattoos. Most of this attitude only applies to foreigners, and Japanese people with tattoos are still banned in many places.
Eli Orzessek, a New Zealand travel journalist, once resigned himself to not being able to enter an onsen bath in Japan when he had several large tattoos, including a prominent black cat on his forearm. Through online research, Eli found a capsule hotel that accepts tattoo guests called Anshin Oyada Luxury Capsule Hotel in Ogikubo, Tokyo. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw a sign outside the hotel that read "some of our guests have tattoos, please respect our international guests". He was even able to comfortably soak in the hotel's artificial onsen room on the night of his stay, revealing all of his tattoos without seeing any scrutiny.