To me, Japan has a love-hate relationship with tattoos although I think the growing international exposure is helping to normalize the issue. It’s a love relationship because many japanese hero-like characters have tattoos, take for example Gladio from FFXV. Hate relationship because they are still frowned upon by some if they see some ink in real life. Tattoo history in Japan is related to the Japanese mafia, and even if you’re obviously not Japanese or even asian, they can be considered offensive.
As you may know, I love tattoos and I have four myself. I don’t plan to stop getting ink done anytime soon, and I would love to get tattooed in Japan (soon enough).
In Japan, today you still are expected to cover your tattoos in onsen, some gyms and pools, and even at the beach if someone complains.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for when in Rome do the Romans and for that reason I only visit private onsens (God forbid my bunny tattoo offends anyone) BUT! This is what grinds my gears:
How can anything on my body offend your sight enough to force you to be proactive and shame it – instead of looking away and keep on with what you were doing?
I mean I could be offended by freckles for example (which I have at least a couple million) or I don’t know, small boobs (which I also have) and I wouldn’t in a lifetime think of a better way of dealing with it than ignoring it. Its not like you have to stare at my body, right?
And it really comes down to the onsen baths for me – in which you are naked and vulnerable and surrounded by other naked and vulnerable humans. Shouldn’t we all be nice and mind our own business, instead of being offended by other’s tattoos?
I’m glad that Japanese society is getting more tolerant with tattoos. Having conversations with Japanese people about it, I feel like discrimination is more and more a thing from the past and the new generations don’t care and/or embrace self expression through tattooing.
I’m sure that soon we won’t have to google tattoo-friendly gyms, onsens and beaches anymore.
I really would like to hear your opinion on the matter! Have you ever had a uncomfortable situation because of your tattoos? Would you cover them up in Japan?
Thank you so much for reading! ???????? Talk to you soon!