The growing tribe proudly defeated the tattoo taboo, hopes for Olympian boost – Japan

Japan Tattoo
Now, tattooed head to foot, even on her shaven scalp, Shodai Horiren is one of Japan’s most renowned traditional tattoo artists. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Kyung Hoon
Shodai Horiren got her lark tattoo for the first time during a trip to Australia nearly 30 years ago. Now she can get tattoos even on her shaved scalp and is one of Japan’s most famous traditional tattoo artists.

“Your house gets old, your parents die, you break up with a lover, kids grow and go,” said Horiren, 52, in his studio in northern Tokyo.

“But a tattoo is with you until you’re cremated and in your grave. That’s the appeal.”

Horiren belongs to a proud, growing tribe of Japanese ink lovers who ignore deep-rooted taboos, link tattoos with crime, turn their skin into a vivid color palette, and use elaborate full-body designs, usually with Features traditional legends.

Tattoos people are banned from hot springs, hot spring resorts, some beaches, and many stadiums and swimming pools. They hope that foreign athletes with tattoos at last year’s Rugby World Cup and next year’s Tokyo Olympics-delayed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic- Will help to sweep away doubts.

Speaking of the New Zealand National Rugby Team and its pre-match ceremony, Horrillon said: “If you watch the All Blacks do the haka with all their tattoos, it makes your heart beat faster.”

“Basketball players are really stylish, too. But here, even boxers cover up with foundation.”

Tattoos have been associated with criminals for 400 years, and they have recently been related to members of the Yakuza Gang. The latter’s full-body ink work has short hands, feet and necks and can be hidden under regular clothes.
Japan Ink: Growing tribe proudly defies tattoo taboo, hopes for Olympian boost | Reuters

Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/REUTERS


The popularity of Western rock music, but with the increasing tattooing of musicians, this prejudice has been eliminated.

Last year the court decide that tattoos are for decoration. It is not for medical procedures. This helps clarify the legal status of tattoos and may indicate a change in attitude-perhaps prompting the tattoo industry to self-regulate and make its image more mainstream.

Calling them tattoos instead of “irezumi” (literally “insert ink”) is becoming more and more common, which may also help provide them with stylish, trendy finishes.

“Some people get tattoos for deep reasons, but I do it because they’re cute, the same way I might buy a nice blouse,” said Mari Okasaka, a 48-year-old part-time employee who made her first time at 28. Tattoo. Her 24-year-old son Tenji is trying to make his entire body covered in ink and color.

Devotees of tattoos are also in public, meeting at large gatherings to share their designs.

Hiroyuki Nemoto, the party organizer and scrapyard worker, said: “We may have tattoos but we are happy and bright people.”

Japan Ink: Growing tribe proudly defies tattoo taboo, hopes for Olympian boost | Reuters

Photo: Kim Kyung-Hoon/REUTERS

Surfer and TV manufacturer Takashi Mikajiri still stopped on some beaches and has ordered to cover up.

Rie Yoshihara, who dressed tourists in a kimono in a shop. She said that her shocked father still did not see her tattoo on her back. While Okasaka wore long sleeves to take trash, so the neighbors would not speak.

“In America, if you have a tattoo, people don’t really care. There’s not really any reaction,” Mikajiri said.

“That’s the ideal. It’d be really good to just be taken for granted.”

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Japan Ink: Growing tribe proudly defies tattoo taboo, hopes for Olympian boost

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