lifestyle

Nagano onsen welcomes foreigners with tattoos, as long as they patch ’em up

69 Comments
By Evie Lund, RocketNews24

Many foreign visitors to Japan are curious about taking a dip in one of Japan’s many hot springs or sento public baths, but are deterred by two factors: the embarrassment of being naked in public, and the worry that even having a small tattoo – very much taboo in Japan – might result in being ejected from the premises. While the first issue is something that can be overcome with a little bravery, the second issue is undoubtedly a problem.

However, a resort inn in Nagano has now publicly stated that they will allow foreigners with small tattoos to enter, providing they cover up the offending ink with a patch.

In general, people with tattoos are forbidden from entering hot springs or public baths in Japan. The most commonly-held opinion is that this is a roundabout justification for keeping yakuza (who are known for their love of all-over body tattoos) out of establishments where they might cause mischief, or simply freak out other bathers by their mere presence.

But what about foreigners, who are much more likely to have a bit of innocent inkwork lurking around their ankles or shoulders, compared to your average Japanese person?

I’ve known foreigners here in Japan with tattoos who have happily waded their way through many an onsen without anybody making a peep of complaint. However, I’ve also heard stories from people who were turned away, or asked to leave, sometimes during the act of bathing itself. Some of these people were blonde or redheaded North American women (probably not the easiest candidate for confusing with a yakuza). So the old “tattoo = yakuza” justification doesn’t really stand up here.

Hoshino Resort in Nagano Prefecture went on the record on April 15 to say that they would welcome foreign (or, indeed, Japanese) visitors with “small” tattoos, as long as those tattoos were properly covered up with waterproof patches or stickers. The stickers, which measure 8cm x 10cm, will be provided by the resort, and as long as as single sticker manages to fully cover your tattoo, you’ll be granted access to the facilities.

Perhaps this new move by Hoshino resort is hinting at an increasing trend of acceptance throughout Japan’s hot springs and sento resorts. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics fast approaching, the country is expecting increased amounts of foreign visitors, and tourist establishments could lose out on a lot of revenue by openly banning people purely because they have tattoos.

A spokesperson for Hoshino Resort explained the motivations behind the new ruling: “There is little justification for us to deny access to people with small tattoos. With the increase in foreign customers, we believe that it is time for a new set of rules.”

Source: Yahoo! Japan News

Read more stories from RocketNews24 -- Japanese bathhouses lose relevance in modern culture but gain popularity as a tourist attraction -- Irezumi: Getting tattooed in Japan -- Onsen trivia! Finding the hottest, highest, and healthiest hot springs in Japan

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69 Comments
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There's hope yet.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I think this is a pretty generous compromise.

The Japanese public position on tattoos is widely known and long established and I absolutely support the right of institutions to ban or remove people who have them from their premises. There should be no exemptions - if you are in Japan you accept the rules and play by them. I don't have much respect for those who try to feign ignorance or simply put themselves first by getting into the Onsen regardless.

So here's a solution that works for everyone. Patch up, people.

-16 ( +15 / -31 )

I don't have any tattoos but I always point out to Japanese people that anthropologists all agree that the original Jomon inhabitants of Japan had full face tattoos. This died out (except not completely with Ainu women) in the Kofun period after waves of mass immigration of Chinese and Koreans, who thought it was barbaric and only tattooed criminals.

So maybe the only way to defeat this prejudice against tattoos is by harnessing an even bigger prejudice against Chinese and Korean culture. If you are ever refused service for having a tattoo you can say: 'Ah, I understand, your ancestors must be from mainland Asia, I'm sorry to offend your cultural sensitivities...'.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

I've been to too many (overnight) onsen to count, and I have lots of tattoos. I've never had anything said to me.

The same is not true of sento though. I've been asked to leave, and I've known others who have been asked to leave.

But with an onsen, you have paid to stay the night, and the onsen is inclusive of the price, so it's pretty hard for them to ask you to leave.

No way I could cover my tattoos with a 'patch'.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

As an American with a tattoo on both upper arms and one on my forearm....I've been to Japan 3 times in different years and have been to many different hot springs with my Japanese in-laws. I've never been told to leave or cover up and never had any weird looks...and I was running around stark naked.

all I can say is, be as respectful as you can and don't try to look intimidating

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Strangerland

I've been to too many (overnight) onsen to count, and I have lots of tattoos. I've never had anything said to me.

Why do you need someone to 'say something' before you observe what you know is a custom in Japan regarding tattoos and Onsens?

-13 ( +9 / -22 )

Why do you need someone to 'say something' before you observe what you know is a custom in Japan regarding tattoos and Onsens?

I don't. I'm entirely fine without anyone saying anything. I love onsen.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

There should be no exemptions - if you are in Japan you accept the rules and play by them.

You really need to understand Japan better, there is no black and white law regarding tattoos in sentos or onsen and all the rules are made by the establishment.

Kind of hard to "accept" or "play" by the rules when there are none.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

I think in the end, the issue of the historical association of tattooed people with the yakuza organized crime groups is so engrained in Japanese culture that it may take a pretty substantial sea change in Japanese culture itself to get over this. Even the coming of the Summer Olympics to Tokyo in 2020 won't exactly change this perception, either.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I don't. I'm entirely fine without anyone saying anything. I love onsen.

It's all about you, isn't it. You really have no regard for the people around you. Right?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I think in the end, the issue of the historical association of tattooed people with the yakuza organized crime groups is so engrained in Japanese culture that it may take a pretty substantial sea change in Japanese culture itself to get over this.

It is changing, and rather quickly too. When the laws regarding the ykuza changed about 15 years or so ago more and more people, particularly the younger generation, have not learned about, nor know much about the Yakuza and the history of their tattooing. Down here in Okinawa, as an example, tattoo parlors have popped up in a number of places and they are doing a thriving business and not just with military types either.

I see more and more people with body-art walking around than ever before, and it's not just men, but women, youngsters and middle-aged folks too.

While we dont have the onsen or sento culture down here, that may make a difference, too, it doesnt change the fact that people are adjusting and accepting tattoos.

Who knows maybe mainland will catch up someday!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

However, a resort inn in Nagano has now publicly stated that they will allow foreigners with small tattoos to enter, providing they cover up the offending ink with a patch

Gold's Gym had this policy in place years ago when I was living in Japan. What's the news here?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Who knows maybe mainland will catch up someday!

Okinawa may be a leader in this, but the mainland, or rather main islands, are also moving forward in this. I see more young people with tattoos these days than when I first came here 20 years ago. The image of tattoos = yakuza is slowly being relegated to history, as it should be.

Gold's Gym had this policy in place years ago when I was living in Japan. What's the news here?

When I went to Gold's Gym, I had to report all my tattoos upon registration, but they didn't require me to cover them up. They were very clear that they were looking to keep out Yakuza.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Yubaru

You really need to understand Japan better, there is no black and white law regarding tattoos in sentos or onsen and all the rules are made by the establishment.

Kind of hard to "accept" or "play" by the rules when there are none.

You'll note in my first post I used the term 'public position'. Another way of saying that is 'broad cultural expectation', which is pretty clear in Japan regarding tattoos and Onsens/Sentos. The rules, which most certainly do exist, are set by the individual establishments and I'm yet to see one that says 'tattoos welcome'.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

@Tamarama

The rules, which most certainly do exist, are set by the individual establishments and I'm yet to see one that says 'tattoos welcome'.

Can you identify any social benefit to society that justifies the rule for excluding people with tattoos? Or are you simply suggesting that everyone should respect every rule that exists because it's the rule?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

@Tamarama:

Sorry, but it really is a stupid practice based on a bandaid solution.

Basically, you can't ban a group of specific people (Yakuza/criminals), because it's near impossible to know if any particular person is such and even if you asked they could obviously lie. So, rather than piss off a group of gangsters by directly saying "No Yakuza/Gang Members", they go for the next, easiest-to-identify thing...Tattoos.

Sure, there is history to the stigma involving banning tattoos in the 17th century... (can't let these new foreigners think we're savages!)..and the marking of criminals with the "inu" kanji...but that was all 100s of years ago.

So, if they're going to ban Tattoos because they "look weird", then why not body piercings? Or funny colored hair?

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The Japanese public position on tattoos is widely known and long established and I absolutely support the right of institutions to ban or remove people who have them from their premises. There should be no exemptions - if you are in Japan you accept the rules and play by them.

Tamarama -- I'd respecfully suggest you don't vounteer for the welcoming comittee at Narita for visitors for the 2020 Games. But, just as a question, exactly what "rule" prohibits folks with tatoos from enjoying onsens?

5 ( +10 / -5 )

"I’ve also heard stories from people who were turned away, or asked to leave, sometimes during the act of bathing itself. Some of these people were blonde or redheaded North American women (probably not the easiest candidate for confusing with a yakuza). So the old “tattoo = yakuza” justification doesn’t really stand up here."

Hey, those women could be girlfriends or wives of yakuza! Get 'em out of there! lol

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This proves this not a matter of hygiene but of appeance, hide it and it's not there is too familiar in Japan. I stay away from onsen for hygienic reasons. Kiddie pee and poo.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

At onsens they push alcohol on you like crazy and then expect you to get up early to check out. Rude, loud and crazy places and not relaxing. Tattoos should be the least of their worries.

Check in times should be much earlier, and check out time much later. Huge speakers in the rooms and hallways should be against decibel laws. How difficult is it to change a futon sheet and vacuum a room with no furniture?

People who have tattoos are generally quiet and respectful. Leave them alone.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The most commonly-held opinion is that this is a roundabout justification for keeping yakuza

I don't know who started the myth that Japanese people don't want to frequent yakuzas. They all do business with them, patronize their shops, accept them as neighbors, accept to be in the streets, the train; everywhere with them... except in the bath. Weirdly the onsen, sento; spas, sports club have 'no tattoo' rule or 'no apparent tattoo' or 'no sunscreen' but they never have 'no missing finger bit' rule. So apparently, they only refuse the tattoos in water. I guess they fear that the ink of the tattoo goes away and dirties the water.

as long as those tattoos were properly covered up with waterproof patches or stickers.

Everybody knows there is a tattoo under. They hope that prevents the ink from touching their pure water.

They were very clear that they were looking to keep out Yakuza.

For that, they just need to pay the 'tax'. Then, I don't know Gold Gym which might be different, but none of the fitness chains around my place would have interested the yakuza. They are not much into Pilates and threadmill tv warching.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

M3M3M3

Can you identify any social benefit to society that justifies the rule for excluding people with tattoos?

Interesting question. I suppose if I think offhandedly about why the establishment rules/social construct exists in the first place it's probably an effort to marginalise or isolate a nefarious and anti-social/bullying group (Yakuza) within a community/society. I've heard it said that humanity's success as a group is partially attributed to it being a coalition of the weak. So I guess it's origins perhaps have something to do with that, and it's 'benefits' lie therein. And I guess they choose to continue the sentiment in contemporary life.

Or are you simply suggesting that everyone should respect every rule that exists because it's the rule?

It's funny. I see a lot of expats on JT and in Japan gnashing their teeth about how the Japanese treat them differently, or the Japanese don't fully accept foreigners no matter how long you are here, blah, blah, blah, and yet can't observe or respect a simple cultural idea and call it stupid, backwards, whatever. Well, ya can't have it both ways, so yeah, regardless of whether I think this is a good rule or not, I think you just suck it up and do as the Romans do. Obviously not a popular sentiment though.

Jerseyboy,

But, just as a question, exactly what "rule" prohibits folks with tatoos from enjoying onsens?>

My understanding is that proprietors have the right to refuse people entry to their establishments, some have signs saying no Tatts allowed.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

I actually live in Japan, Northern Japan, with most likely the strictest and most upheld traditions of the culture and have no problems with my tattoos. I do however, always make a point to disclose my tattoos, since it's rather large (my entire back) to any place I visit or attend, and I am always welcomed. Perhaps @tamarama you just have not been to a place that shows you that this tradition and culture you speak of, will probably eventually fade away.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ill never understand people who need attention so bad they disfigure themselves with that silliness.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

@Tamarama -

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. I think there could be a legitimate public safety concern if it were true that people with tattoos were all criminals but I think the main point here is that that's obviously not the case anymore.

However, there is a huge public interest in not allowing businesses to harm people by marginalising small groups in society without any legitimate underlying reason. It's not good enough to say 'it's my business, so it's my rules'. Those marginalised groups might turn to antisocial behaviour or leave society altogether, which ends up hurting everyone. IMO, Once you open your doors to the public, society should have the right to stop you from unjustifiably discriminating.

In reality, I think these businesses are just doing this for money. Their existing customers simply prefer to bathe with people who look just like them and they might take their business elsewhere if they become uncomfortable. I understand this to some extent but the problem is how far do we allow it to go? Should a business who's customers are mainly neo-nazis be allowed to refuse Jewish and black customers for economic reasons? Can a clothing store turn away unfashionable ugly people? Can a restaurant refuse to serve obese people because other customers will order less after being reminded of their weight?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Should a business who's customers are mainly neo-nazis be allowed to refuse Jewish and black customers for economic reasons? Can a clothing store turn away unfashionable ugly people? Can a restaurant refuse to serve obese people because other customers will order less after being reminded of their weight?

A ridiculous argument. Tattoos are nothing more than fashion accessories, and bad ones at that.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Another example of how Japan is behind the times (not this onsen, the others). Probably because they haven't had to accommodate foreigners and thus grow to understand that a little diversity never hurts anyone.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

A ridiculous argument. Tattoos are nothing more than fashion accessories, and bad ones at that.

So you agree that discriminating against race, religious beliefs, physical appearance and weight is clearly unacceptable.... but for a business to sink to the petty level of discriminating against someone's bad taste in 'fashion accessories' should be allowed? It doesn't really make sense does it?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

M3M3M3 - Makes perfect sense to me. Don't like it? Don't get a tattoo. Its just a bad life decision.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

"Probably because they haven't had to accommodate foreigners and thus grow to understand that a little diversity never hurts anyone."

What makes you think in Japan a business HAS to accommodate anyone? Why is it the business that HAS to understand anything?

YOU came into THEIR country - nobody invited you here - so it is your responsibility to respect their laws, culture and tradition. Otherwise I suggest you go to Narita and get a one way ticket from where you come from.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

At onsens they push alcohol on you like crazy and then expect you to get up early to check out. Rude, loud and crazy places and not relaxing

The secret is to avoid the big hotel onsens. I usually try to go to places that have less than 20 rooms. The service is more personal, and they aren't herding you like cattle.

Be prepared to pay a lot more though. But in my opinion it's worth the price difference.

I suppose if I think offhandedly about why the establishment rules/social construct exists in the first place it's probably an effort to marginalise or isolate a nefarious and anti-social/bullying group (Yakuza) within a community/society.

In that case my tattoos are no problem, as I'm clearly not a yakuza. Maybe they have the rule and use it As an excuse to be able to ask yakuza to leave, while not enforcing it for foreigners. That would be a very Japanese solution, and would explain why I've never been asked to leave.

Ill never understand people who need attention so bad they disfigure themselves with that silliness.

It's obvious you don't understand it, since you don't even understand the motivations of people who get tattoos. But that's ok, we don't get them for you, nor expect you to understand.

Don't get a tattoo. Its just a bad life decision.

So don't get one. No one is asking you to.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@clamenza

Makes perfect sense to me. Don't like it? Don't get a tattoo. Its just a bad life decision.

I understand where you're coming from but in the end, it's basically circular logic without justification; 'We discriminate against people with tattoos, therefore it's a bad life decision to get a tattoo... because we will discriminate against you for making a bad life decision'

Of course, I think you will have to agree that in other cultures around the world, particularly in the South Pacific, it's a bad life decision not to get a tattoo.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Tattoos are not me, unless there is a cultural reason for having them, I find them to be tacky and trashy.

They should not however be a reason to not be allowed to go into an onsen.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The image of being tatted up in Japan is the perceived association of being involved with the yakuza.But this doesn't apply to foreigners so why the need to patch up?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ok I can understand why people get upset with people with tattoo,s and I thinks that covering up with a patch is the price to pay for their Body Art . That why we have galleries to view art. Onsens are for bathing. May I also suggest that people with dreadlocks be ask to rap their hair in a towel or turbin

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I have a tiny sakura blossom tattoo above my ankle and when I want to visit an onsen, I usually patch it up with a Hello Kitty band-aid - never had a problem with that. If a country has certain rules and traditions, you have to obey them. It's called respect and that goes a long way.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Of course, I think you will have to agree that in other cultures around the world, particularly in the South Pacific, it's a bad life decision not to get a tattoo.

M3M3M3 - It was just a matter of time before this even more ridiculous point was going to come up. Im going to go out on a limb and say you are not a Maori. Im going to guess that you belong to the 99.9% of people I'm directing my scorn to; North American/Euros who get tattoos every other week to show how special and deep they are.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

@clamenza

It was just a matter of time before this even more ridiculous point was going to come up.

Yes, it's a reductio ad absurdum argument but it works. It's simply irrational to extend the rule to Maori (or westerners) if the intention is to exclude Japanese yakuza gangsters. In other words, the tattoos are used as proxy for something else... yet even when we know that the person with the tattoo is clearly not a ganster, the rule is still mindlessly applied.

Im going to go out on a limb and say you are not a Maori. Im going to guess that you belong to the 99.9% of people I'm directing my scorn to; North American/Euros who get tattoos every other week to show how special and deep they are.

Well, I personally have no tattoos and I've never seen the appeal or felt the need to get one. I just think it's ridiculous to discriminate against people for something as petty as this. I'm actually more anti-stupidity rather than pro-tattoo.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

M3M3M3 - So how do you think Yakuza or otherwise are going to react when they see tattooed foreigners admitted to onsens while they are shown the door? Do you really think the average Japanese front desk staff member is going to take the responsibility to say who can get in and who can't? Not in this lifetime.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I'm not tatoo'd. I like tatoo's but not for me. They are forever (kind-of) and yesterday's cool tatoo is not tomorrow's cool tatoo in my point of view.

Japan is an old established culture, to disregard it defeats much of the reason visitin of living in Japan. The onsens are used by JAPANESE people and open to tourists and legal residents. Respect the elder generation. They deserve it. If the tatoo view changes then full freedom. Until the show respect and just because nothing is said doesn't mean it all okay. Remember, your in Japan!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Tattoos are so disgusting.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

yesterday's cool tatoo is not tomorrow's cool tatoo in my point of view.

Yeah, I always tell people that after they decide what they want for a tattoo, they should wait at least a year to get it, and re-consider whether that's the tattoo they want when that year is up.

just because nothing is said doesn't mean it all okay

If there were onsens that marketed them as ok with tattoos, I would definitely focus on going to those onsen. There aren't though (though this article is showing that some are at least trying). So between the choice of not going to an onsen ever, or going to them and potentially offending someone because of my choice to decorate myself, I'll choose the latter. Maybe it's not ok with some people, but I'm ok with them not being ok with it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I have never had any problem getting into a Japanese onsen or any problem with the tattoo ban. But then again, I do not have any of those ridiculous permanent ink stains on my body that mark me out as 21st century conformist, while foolishly imagining that they make me look like an individual who is expressing oneself. If I wanted to do that, I would simply buy an iphone!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Yo people, this rule is anyway (most of the time) used with common sense, that is, they will enforce it for obvious yakuza visitors, but not for someone obviously not a yakuza. You must understand that someone with a tattoo might potentially damage their business, and cause complaints from the other bathers. It's enough to have one granny or gramps complaining and spreading the rumors that the onsen is visited by dubious people...not everyone has to agree with your freedom of having body art, and onsens are private entities, their home, their rules.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"Never" cover your body art! The ultimate sin-

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

People with tattoos are NOT being welcomed if they have to cover the tattoo to get in.

Tattoo discrimination is still discrimination, and it's a human rights violation.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Tattoo discrimination is still discrimination, and it's a human rights violation.

As much as I dislike tattoo discrimination, I have a hard time seeing how it's a human rights violation.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Strangerland

The United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights article 27 states:

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

It's pretty much impossible to claim that onsen are not part of Japan's cultural life, yet any Japanese person with tattoos is denied participation in said cultural.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fair enough. Interesting to know.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Or, restated without the spin: "Nagano onsen, as with all other onsen, does not allow bathers with tattoos"

Nothing has changed.

The issue with onsen (and gyms as well) is about whether the ink is visible, not whether it exists. Japanese friends of mine with tats already have to cover them up to gain entry. This is nothing new. That the same idiotic restrictions on even small tattoos apply to foreigners is not news.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As a person w/o sympathy to tattoos, I'll call this a equivalent to the US Army's old "don't ask, don't tell" policy re homosexuals - a reasonable mix of pragmatism and idealism.

First, objectively speaking, tattoos are bad. Despite technological advances, it is about punching holes in one's skin and filling said holes with ink. In essence, it is a self-injuring vice like smoking or drinking. Societies where it is prevalent may tolerate it in the name of equality or whatever, and maybe it is not so bad it deserves to be crushed out, but no one should cheer about it getting more prevalent, or feel too great a need to make such people more welcome where previously they weren't. And don't give me that "diversity" or "self-expression" excuse. Surely, self-expression can be done in a non self-harming way. And don't give me history. Maybe in the past, tattoos were all the rage in Japan. Now they aren't. I call that an improvement.

Tattoos are not a bad life decision because they are discriminated against. They are objectively a self-harming activity, and thus objectively a suboptimal life decision. If society already discourages it by putting a slightly cold stance to them, I'm for continuing the practice. Sometimes only social stigma prevents people from doing things harmful to themselves.

Second, at present in Japan, though unfortunately tattoos are spreading beyond the criminal element, they are still concentrated in the more deviationist camp. In short, as a group, tattoo holders are more likely to be troublemakers than the "clean" population. The desire of many onsen holders to pre-emptively prevent such potential troublemakers from entering is at least understandable. If they want to cut out some potential profit to keep the troublemakers out, that's to a great extent a business decision.

As for the Neo-Nazi part, someone has clearly brought Godwin's law into this. However, if I accept that scenario, then I actually agree with the shop banning Jews. In that scenario, if we "wedge" the Jew in, he'd be in but that's the end of it. Either the Neo-Nazis will never go to that place again (which will be a unfairly gross business hit for the owner involved), or the Jew will be quietly made to feel so unwelcome he probably won't be coming in tomorrow.

For the fulfillment of any international obligations or the need for some equality, there's always the solution of making government facilities. That's one of the jobs of the government in a capitalist society - doing jobs Private Enterprise can't or won't do well.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Nagano onsen welcomes foreigners with tattoos, as long as they patch ’em up

this title needs to be corrected because it applies to the japanese people with tarroos, too :) not only foreigners.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I was simply stating some facts, I don't understand the negativism here :) .Personally I couldn't care less about someone's tattoo, but if given the choice, I would prefer not seeing them. I wouldn't throw someone out of my house if the person has one. Also I can still remember the idiotic onsen supervisor throwing our that obviously highly ranked Maori lady (guest of Japan) for having her face tattooed (like she should).

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@"a person without sympathy"

Tattoos ARE self-expression and body art. The fact that they cause some temporary pain in no way makes them "objectively" bad. Not liking them or wanting one doesn't either. That such a severely biased person claims to speak objectively is quite amusing.

Love that separate, but equal solution, as well. Tut tut, those pesky international obligations/need for equality.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Stranger I did not deny Tattoos are self expression. However, there is a simple, objective reason tattoos cause "some temporary pain", and that's because your body is protesting against being damaged as countless tiny holes are punched into your skin! A full recovery is then blocked because ink is inserted into said holes.

How a person can think a process involving punching holes in skin is not objectively bad is a mystery to me.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes, the skin is cut and ink is put in. We all know what the process entails. The physical harm endured is very slight, but the satisfaction gained from self-expression is great.

Why someone would think this "objectively" bad is a mystery to me as well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How a person can think a process involving punching holes in skin is not objectively bad is a mystery to me.

Piercings? Vaccinations? Are these 'objectively' bad as well?

The pain from a tattoo is nothing. タトゥーの痛みは夏の蒸発。

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The physical harm endured is very slight, but the satisfaction gained from self-expression is great.

In other words, it is there. Personally, I think if one must succumb to the "need" to mark up skin, why don't you settle for stickers or markers. You can even get them off quickly if you change your mind or the dress code doesn't like it in one place.

I was actually waiting for someone to come up with Piercings and Injections. I'm actually not really a fan of piercing as well. I understand earrings are too pervasive to block, but I think ears are just fine as they are without those earring things. The rest go downhill from there. If one day earrings become something associated with the deviant, I won't be campaigning to bring it back.

As for vaccination, the idea is that hole being punctured is bad, but something scientifically determined to be good for your body got injected. If what is being injected is non-medical, I think most people will find such injections objectionable, and won't consider "satisfaction from self-expression" to be a valid excuse.

There's also the objective difference in sheer surface area. Your tattoos are bigger than the average ear-pierce or injection hole, are they? Injections also don't leave ink in the holes. And even with a piercing should you suddenly feel you should stop leaving foreign objects in a punctured hole in your body, you can just take the darn earring out. An option not available with tattoo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think if one must succumb to the "need" to mark up skin, why don't you settle for stickers or markers.

Who says it's a need? I've never needed any of my tattoos. I wanted them all though. And as for settling for stickers or markers - feel free. That's your choice. Our choice isn't yours, so whether you think it's right or not is irrelevant.

As for the rest of your objections, they should like good reasons why you should not get a tattoo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@clamenza

So how do you think Yakuza or otherwise are going to react when they see tattooed foreigners admitted to onsens while they are shown the door?

I agree that they probably won't be happy (especially Japanese people with tattoos that are not Yakuza). The staff probably want to avoid that uncomfortable situation but it just doesn't justify nonsensical blanket discrimination. Why not discriminate against a different yakuza indicator such as people wearing Adidas tracksuits or driving a Toyota Century? Of course, they are all unreliable indicators. IMHO they should probably just stick to excluding individual people who actually cause trouble rather than trying to predict people's behaviour based on appearance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Funny thing is I have my whole shoulder and arm done full color and I Just got back from an onsen tour of the Izu peninsula. Not a single problem with my tattoo. Chatted to locals countless times in numerous onsens all over Japan. I guess it helps that I speak Japanese and also could just depend on how you conduct yourself and interact with people. Perhaps if I had a face or a neck tattoo the circumstances may have been different.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Basically I think that rather than being a pushy foreigner and demanding access to an onsen you just accept that those are the rules and abide by them. Unless you are a permanent resident and/or work and pay taxes, most foreigners are guests in Japan... it's not your place to tell them what they should and shouldn't do.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think that rather than being a pushy foreigner and demanding access to an onsen you just accept that those are the rules and abide by them.

I've never demanded access. I just put in my reservation same as everyone else, then go to the hotel and go in the onsen, same as everybody else. No need to be pushy, and as Terry Tibs said, people are more than happy to chat. It probably helps that I'm always with my son as well, I don't look like some ヤンキー punk, I'm a dad who happens to be tattooed, with his kid. People are usually pretty interested that we are speaking English as well.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If one doesn't feel Free and stressed with everything rounded as customs , but ok to hav strip bars and porno anime comics , jumping in onset naked , not minding full show , but not hav tattoo as offensive Why bother coming here , sauna and onens are all round the world , which I one can enjoy and also drink , jump , laugh and hav all the fun whereas in Japan you sit with people you hav to be Nice and polite as for them It's Honne tatemae

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Thunderbird

The problem goes beyond being a foreigner and expecting access to onsen. The problem is that people, both foreigner and Japanese, are discriminated against for having tattoos, which are not illegal and cause no harm to others.

It doesn't matter if you are a visiting foreigner, or a foreigner with permanent residency. Onsen are closed to Japanese citizens with tattoos, as well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if you uncover your private parts this is normal but if you uncover your tattoo then it is abnormal, please explain this strange rules.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tattoos ARE self-expression and body art.

Nope. They are a plea for attention, and unwittingly, an admission that you are white trailer-trash etc..

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I'm a retired combat veteran. My tattoos document the conflicts and associations that were a part of my life. I got them before coming to Japan. I have been asked to leave an onsen once while actually in the bath...by a young lady who came into the bath area, to me, pointed at my tattoos and made the sign of the X (Hmm, I'm a weight lifter with the body of a weight lifter...). I was denied access to Gold's Gym in Minato-Marai because I truthfully answered the question about tattoos. I pointed out that mine were covered up and would remain covered in the gym. That did not matter. They now knew I have tattoos. I rejoined, metaphorically, that had I lied, they would have never known thus given me access. Response: Didn't matter. They now knew. I asked to speak with the manager. He wasn't in but I was assured he would be asked. I received a phone call the next day...no go. Ironically, the gym had posters of professional body builders, with tattoos, posted throughout the gym. I asked if they would deny entry to one of them. No answer. Go figure.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I enjoy all art and have great passion for creativity. When I visit a Onsen and I see a person with a great piece of body art, I take a minute to enjoy. Then the person with the body art see me admiring his body art but get all upset because he thinks I am gay and assume that I hitting on him. Then there is tension, a few word are expressed like WTF are you looking at!!! So to avoid this happening I suggest to cover up your body art because the Onsen is a communal place or bathing and relaxing not a art gallery

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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