Japan Loves & Hates Tattoos

The Japan Times has a background piece on the Japanese-American National Museum’s “Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World,” opening this weekend: “Such prestigious treatment of irezumi [Japanese tattooing] by JANM—and other international galleries over the past few years—stands in stark contrast to how tattooing is perceived at home in Japan, where many people regard it as synonymous with gangsterism and where those with even small tattoos can be denied entry to swimming pools and public baths. Despite tattooing having fallen out of fashion among many yakuza in recent decades, this stigma against ink in Japan is stronger today than ever; in January, for example, a school clerk in Osaka was docked one month’s pay for having tattoos on her arm and ankle.”  (Pictured, a Kip Fulbeck photo of a Horikiku tattoo.)

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