national

56% of hotels in Japan bar visitors with tattoos from bathing facilities

100 Comments

More than 50% of Japanese hotels and ryokans nationwide bar entry to their bathing facilities by guests with tattoos, according to a survey by the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA).

The JTS published the results of the survey on its website on Wednesday.

The survey, conducted in June, asked 3,768 hotels and ryokans in Japan: “Do you refuse admittance to people with tattoos?” and "Would you accept someone with tattoos if they cover them with stickers?" and "Do you know the reason for the custom of barring people with tattoos?"

Of the 581 that replied, 56% said they do bar guests with tattoos, while 31% said they do not and 13% said they allow guests with tattoos into onsens if their tattoos are covered up.

Recently, the number of foreign visitors to Japan has soared; so far this year, more than 15 million tourists have visited Japan -- an all-time high. Japan is aiming to have 20 million tourists visit annually by 2020. Tourism officials say how businesses accept other cultures is crucial for the industry.

According to the agency, in 2014, one-third of foreign tourists indicated onsens as one of their main reasons for visiting Japan, behind Japanese food and shopping. However, the agency said tour operators had received feedback from visitors expressing their disappointment and bewilderment at being turned away from onsens due to their tattoos.

In Japan, tattoos are associated with yakuza organized crime syndicates, and many public institutions bar people who have them as a way to keep gangsters out. Many Japanese onsen operators are apparently unaware of the role of tattoos in some cultures.

The survey also revealed that 47% of the respondents said some guests complained about the use of the bathing facilities by other guests with tattoos.

In 2013, the issue gained a lot of media attention after a Maori woman was barred from a public bath in Hokkaido because of her traditional face tattoos. The spa has a ban on people with body art.

After that incident, an official from the public bath said the decision had been made to avoid making other guests uncomfortable. "Even if it is traditional culture, it is difficult to expect other patrons to understand the difference between one tattoo and another. A typical person cannot judge the context behind the tattoos," the official said.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

100 Comments
Login to comment

Old codgers.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Inexcusable discrimination. Period.

-6 ( +18 / -24 )

Sad for Japan, 75% of my foreign friends have tattoos.

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

How do they get all those hotels inside of the bar visitors?

And where do I get tattoos from bathing facilities?

-9 ( +10 / -19 )

I go to onsen 2-3 times a year. I never say anything about my tattoos, and no one ever says anything to me about them. If you ask, they will say 'no'. If you just go, they don't say anything. It's kind of hard to ask someone who has spent tens of thousands of yen to stay to not use part of the facilities.

10 ( +16 / -7 )

“Even if it is traditional culture, it is difficult to expect other patrons to understand the difference between one tattoo and another.

Japan is aiming to have 20 million tourists visit annually by 2020. Tourism officials say how businesses accept other cultures is crucial for the industry.

The Japanese need to make up their mind about whether or not they want foreigners here.

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

Omotenashi.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

Iscrimination. These places should be named in tourist books as places tht espouse discrimination and that should be avoided, at the very least by those with tattoos.

-3 ( +15 / -18 )

Strangerland has nailed it. Personally, I don't have any tats, but if I did and I was told not to use the bath at a hotel I had paid for, you can count on my stay being comped.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The one thing I always think when reading this is OK, I understand that in Japan tattoos are associated with Yakuza - but foreigners are clearly not yakuza so why on earth would you make that association and ban foreigners with tattoos?

The only logical reason is that Japan is so narrow minded and insular that people are ignorant to the outside world.

I hate to say that, because I do meet people everyday who buck that trend - but there aren't enough of them, and a blanket ban on patrons who have tattoos (in the majority of surveyed onsens) is just one example of this ridiculous closed mindset.

Ban Japanese people who have tattoos if you link having a tattoo to yakuza membership.

That's my opinion about it anyway.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

No it just gives excuse the Yakuza that does have tatoos to barge into those facilities or worse extort them. A carpet regulation to bar all tats is the only protection from making a scene with them.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

I know I'll get downvoted, but again my sympathy just isn't perking up. Whether it looks good is subjective but we are talking about a mildly self-destructive practice of stabbing holes in one's body and filling it with substances. It shouldn't really be encouraged.

I know people will say with modern techniques tattooing is safe but that still doesn't make it good. Besides, people have been sticking these holes in themselves for thousands of years with all kinds of technology and hygiene / safety levels. It seems that the level of technology is not a major factor, and some people just like stabbing themselves. Is this practice really something to be encouraged?

-6 ( +17 / -24 )

Many Japanese onsen operators are apparently unaware of the role of tattoos in some cultures.

This is true. They have no idea that getting a tattoo is considered fashionable or trendy usually reflecting a lifestyle. It doesn't always mean one is a gangster. . . . but the japanese are so old fashioned in their ways of thinking- they'll NEVER understand.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

About 15 years ago the figure was over 90%. This is a promising trend and I hope this number will continue dropping in the next 5 years

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Is this practice really something to be encouraged?

Of course not. But it really should be overlooked.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

56% of hotels in Japan bar visitors with tattoos from bathing facilities

Remind me when the Olympics are supposed to be held? 2020 I think. Or the rugby world cup? 2019 isn't it. (Lot of players with tattoos there)

6 ( +10 / -4 )

I gave 5SpeedRacer5 a thumbs-up for his drollery, and the counter went from -2 to -4. 'Ow duz dat work, den?

As for tattoos - I'm with Mr Shimazaki, but I don't think folk who have indulged in skin graffiti should be banned from bathing facilities or anywhere else.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

So some guests complained about other guests with tattoos using the bathing facility, how many is some?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@kazuaki

It's your right to dislike tattoos but it's not illegal. Are you against all body modification? Ear piercing? Plastic surgery? Circumcision? Should anyone with the above also be banned? Tattoos aren't banned because people don't want to to encourage the practice, they're banned because of an antiquated association with Japanese organized crime. It's discrimination, plain and simple.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

No it just gives excuse the Yakuza that does have tatoos to barge into those facilities or worse extort them. A carpet regulation to bar all tats is the only protection from making a scene with them.

Poppycock. There are plenty of ways to keep undesirable people like the Yakuza out, and that includes saying that criminal behavior will not be tolerated. Call the flippin' cops if the Yaks barge in. Oh, wait, that would require the operators to have some backbone and the cops to get off their swivel-seat padded backsides and leave the Koban to do something.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

I heard that tattoos are shunned not entirely because of its origin in Yakuza. Japanese has this "idea" that the body should be "clean" and "unmodified", so when a person gets a tattoo, she's like giving the middle finger to "Japanese values", and you know what that means in a "homogeneous" society, being shunned.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Yet the Yakuza do as they please in pretty much every nook & cranny of Japanese society. Japan - the land of contradictions.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

If you are not a yakuza, this basically won't affect you, well, unless you have huge tattoos. Probably better to put a band-aid on them. And if you are asked, the answer is always "NO". If they can see them, say they are temporary. Never volunteer information. And welcome to Japan! That is the way you do things. You hide the truth. If you can't hide the truth, you lie. Its how Japan works.

I gave 5SpeedRacer5 a thumbs-up for his drollery, and the counter went from -2 to -4. 'Ow duz dat work, den?

While you were reading, he got multiple thumbs down. When you clicked thumbs up, it refreshed, and you got the sum total all at once.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

The ones that request people to put stickers or bandages on their tats always seemed counter-intuitive to me. If someone comes into a bath with a massive bandage on his back or forearms or wherever, you can pretty much guarantee there's a tat underneath (I don't think too many people with legitimate injuries would use public baths). Considering this, you would still be able to tell whether someone has a tat or not, even when covered up.

So if people are legitimately afraid of the Yakuza, wouldn't a covered or bandaged tat still be unacceptable?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This whole issue is more about J-sheeple not having the guts to stand up to the Yaks, rather than trying to be discriminatory against foreigners. So they hide behind the "no tatoos" sign to keep Yaks out. Unintended consequences against foreigners. It may change in the run up to the Olympics...or not...

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

I hate tattoos (and onsens) but you shouldn't ban paying customers for body art. Complaining about people blowing smoke all over you and ruining your meal, as well as possibly causing you cancer doesn't get you anywhere, so why should moaning about people with body art be a reason for banning tattoos in onsens? What a very strange place this is.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It is absolutely no different than a restaurant or club having a dress code.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

While you were reading, he got multiple thumbs down. When you clicked thumbs up, it refreshed, and you got the sum total all at once.

At least five people got no sense of humour. OK. Sad, though.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

it is isn't it...

So polite and kind and genuinely so.. but smoking different set of rules for example.

Welcoming but initially make it almost impossible to get a reasonable place, and a phone and other essentials.

I love it, its my home but sometimes its bewildering.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

There was a news item a couple of days ago about an Australian in India. The locals didn't appreciate his hindu deity tat on his shin, and a mob gathered demanding he remove it. Not cover, remove. With a knife. The cops eventually intervened and he had to write a letter of apology and cover his tat.

Yeah, tats are fashion in some western countries. Canada's new PM has one. They're as rebellious as a t-shirt from Hot Topic. But if you're grown up enough to get one, you should be grown up enough to realize that not everyone appreciates them, not everyone is interested, and some people find them offensive. Entire countries, in fact.

Demanding that centuries old cultures be forced to change to accommodate the fashion choices of western youth is both petulant and arrogant, and smacks of neo-colonialism.

Got ink? Good for you. There's a shower in your hotel room.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

the rule of thumb in japan is "it's better to apologize than to ask for permission." don't ask, just do and then bow your head and mutter a few sumimasens. it has worked for every politician and company exec for ages.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

It's probably the same old guy who complains about tattoos who then goes and ruins people's meals by blowing smoke all over them. This country has a wonderful culture in many respects, but this antiquated way of thinking does Japan no credit. It should be illegal to discriminate over body art, but it's still not illegal to discriminate over race, so we're a long way off seeing this happen.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

When in Rome, do as the Romans do and respect the beliefs and practices of the local culture. There are three solutions to a problem. Accept it, change it, leave it. It you can't accept it change it. If you can't change it leave it.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

I don't think they mind foreigners with tatoos and they know they are not foreign gangsters. But once they allow any tattooed people, they cannot refuse real yakuzas, they will lose ordinary Japanese customers resulting in failures of their businesses.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"“Even if it is traditional culture, it is difficult to expect other patrons to understand the difference between one tattoo and another. A typical person cannot judge the context behind the tattoos,” the official said.

A typical person cannot judge ......... So true so so true, i dont know if i should laugh or cry.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Perhaps it`s that some proprietors dislike both body art and foreigners, the tats alone providing an excuse to deny them admission. The no-tats policy should be respected - if not, it would put the onsen/sento in the position of having to allow in Japanese customers w/tats, possibly including gang members, who are bad for the trade. And are some people here people seriously advocating one rule for Japanese w/tats and another for foreigners? In point of fact, more than half of organized crime members are "foreigners" - but of Asian extraction.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I have family members with tattoos but I have chosen to life her I Japan. So, I don't have any myself.

Now I do not agree with the NO TATTOOS rules. I think they are stupid. I would think it clear a lady with a heart and her name or a child's name I it is clearly not a YAKUZA.

The old stereotype that, you have a tattoo so you are yakuza is nonsense.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Tourism Body of Japan may need to address this issue of 'Foreign visitors with tattoos' visiting onsens and bath facilities very soon as Japan is to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019. Lots of rugby players have tattoos. The last thing the organiser of the cup want is news headline like 'All Black players refused entry because of tattoos' or 'Wallabies cannot take a bath'.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

yoshisan88

The Tourism Body of Japan may need to address this issue of 'Foreign visitors with tattoos' visiting onsens and bath facilities very soon as Japan is to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019. Lots of rugby players have tattoos. The last thing the organiser of the cup want is news headline like 'All Black players refused entry because of tattoos' or 'Wallabies cannot take a bath!

So... Rich White People demand that Japan change their cultural aversion to their fashion statement.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

The odd thing is that tattoos are part of Japanese traditional culture. Several kinds of people used to have them in the Edo period (which is generally looked upon as some golden age), including firemen.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The Tourism Body of Japan may need to address this issue of 'Foreign visitors with tattoos' visiting onsens and bath facilities very soon as Japan is to host the Rugby World Cup in 2019. Lots of rugby players have tattoos. The last thing the organiser of the cup want is news headline like 'All Black players refused entry because of tattoos' or 'Wallabies cannot take a bath'.

Precisely

1 ( +5 / -4 )

The number of venues that responded was only about 1/6 of those asked. And about 50% said they bar patrons from the baths that have tattoos.

I am assuming that those that did not respond did not bar access to baths, and felt the question was stupid.

So, only one in 12 places might bar you.

Ask before you make a reservation. Simple.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

So... Rich White People demand that Japan change their cultural aversion to their fashion statement.>

No need to get worked up and use the R-card, mate. I am only saying that the Tourism Body need to have some discussion to avoid any unfortunate incidents. For example, they can inform each team's management about Japanese view on tattoos. If the Maori woman in 2013 was informed about the ban they might be able to work a way to avoid the whole fiaco. The most important things are communication and mutual respects.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

So... Rich White People demand that Japan change their cultural aversion to their fashion statement.

Or just white expats in general.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Establishments have rules. Having a tattoo is a choice, not something you are born with like race or gender. If you choose that, then you have to take the good and bad that comes with it.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Tattoos are disgusting and ugly, they should be at baths. I also agree that tattoos are a choice. You do it, live with it. If these hotels allowed tattoos, we'd get the yakuza coming back in as well. The rule is there for a good purpose.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Tattoos are disgusting and ugly

That is your opinions. Imo, some tattoos are pretty dam cool and might say something about ones lifestyle. So tattoos aren't allowed at the onsen, no biggy.

@Laguna, LoL

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

These rules ate basically racist. Having tattoos is now the ultimate expression of conformity among westerners (although I do know a couple of eccentrics who have yet to get inked). Japan needs to respect our narcissistic desires to get our bodies covered in ink so that we can look like our contemporaries and over-paid sportsmen.

I don't care if the sight of them repulse the bulk of costumers of the bathing facilities, this is about what I want!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

You guys saying "The Yaks would take over! The sky is falling!" about this are really just using a non-excuse as an excuse, and it's quite pathetic. If they yaks wanted in, they would go in. Plain and simple. Are you telling me that if yaks with tattoos decided to go into an onsen that, first, the hotel owners would call the cops, and, second, the police would actually do something?? What about yaks with no tattoos?

You people are saying that it's not okay for a non-yakuza to enter an onsen if they have tattoos, but for yakuza it's okay to enter if they don't. It's pretty clear it has nothing to do with the tattoos themselves and just a jack-ass-backward and antiquated way of thinking. I always find it funny when sports gyms ban members with tattoos but have posters, signatures, or endorse athletes with tattoos.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

That's 56% of hotels that won't get 30% of the business during the Olympics.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Here is an analogy: A person comes into your house wearing their shoes. You tell them that you have a shoes off policy in your house and that they are not welcome in your house while wearing shoes. But they tell you that where they are from, everybody wears shoes inside and you have to change your rules to suit what they are used to doing. If you dont agree with it then you are being racist and prejudiced against shoe wearers.

Are you guys all against the fact that buddhist temples require you to wear long pants and cover your shoulders too?

I dont see why businesses here should have to change rules, and allow tattoos because some visitors cant see that what was normal where they are from is considered taboo here. These businesses will likely lose old Japanese customers to whom any tattoo is considered bad, and who might actually be their main regular clientelle.

Sure, they might be limiting customers, but if they choose to do so, then this is NOT discrimination, it is their right.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Personally (being Japanese) I don't mind this being talked as tattoo discrimination will probably continue in my very slow changing country... The thing is after awhile of building pressure, somethings gotta give. Japan's gunna look obsolete and silly. When they realize they are being compared more to the backward places rather than a modern country THEN they will change. But the old men who run this country will NOT change and cannot see things differently. There are even younger people in their 30s who think you are evil if you have body art. They think you should lose your job and not be given rights like a human being. So I anticipate another 10-15 years of this nonsense.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Novenachama, oh no, not another "if you don't like it leave" type. Listen, if Japan wants to host events and invite people from all over the world to come and participate it cannot have an attitude such as yours. It's that simple.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Inexcusable discrimination. Period.

Bouh...Shocking reminder for white people with tattoo:

-Being colored is NOT a choice

-Being tatooed is a choice

I do not have any tattoo and I have visited thousand of onsen even in Otaru. Never, never got rejected. In 2015, discrimination in onsen is not based on color or race but on tattoo because even japanese with tattoo cannot enter in onsen. You chose to have tattoo, don't try to impose your cultural beliefs on others.

Typical colonial mentality.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

These rules ate basically racist. Having tattoos is now the ultimate expression of conformity among westerners (although I do know a couple of eccentrics who have yet to get inked). Japan needs to respect our narcissistic desires to get our bodies covered in ink so that we can look like our contemporaries and over-paid sportsmen.

I don't care if the sight of them repulse the bulk of costumers of the bathing facilities, this is about what I want!

I like the angle..well put...and funny.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan is japan, like it or leave it!

This may sound harsh or hard line, but the main reason you go to japan, enjoy japan and feel relax in japan at the end of the day . . . is because of the special homogene culture that has a humble and gentle aproach to everyday peoples interaction.

Japan still is the safest country in the world and people get mostly along each other without the hustle, agression and systematic rivalery we face in the western world. Thats because everyone tries to do their best to behave the same while interacting with each other in a gentle and humble manner in japan . . . . something we can't do in the west because if you go too much humble, people will take the shç% ou of you, they feel invited to abuse and use you.

The westren tattoo culture which likes to portrait itself as the indi, hotrod, bad boy, bad pin up thing, fails for 99% of tattooed peeps . . . tattoos are nothing more then smoking cigarettes, selfish showoff of shitty designs on shitty looking people, which fail to be bad boy or design artists. . . . they are annoying, yet can get some benefits in the western world, as the tattoo and the thought of looking tough comforsts them . . .

In japan nobody give a heck about you or your tattoo, you are annoying and actually prove that you are immature, unpredictable and uneasy in your own skin, the reason for showing off your crappy body and bad designed tattoos.

Now I know of some ultra hot chick with big boobies, who spends 7 days in the fitness, eats mega healty and is tatooed from head to toe in good old hotrod gothic style . . . . shes a design object and most people will agree that shes Alpha as f&/k . . . she made some apperance at cosplays in japan and checked for her self which onsen, pools accept tattoos and which not, in advance while in japan. . . . because she loves japan more then her ego!

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

^Interesting, apparently you missed the many incidents of onsens (and other establishments) with their 'No Foreigners' signs flapping in the breeze in the recent past, with hardly ANY opposition. I guess foreigners in Japan should accept that as well since you know, we CHOSE to come here.

I know plenty of Japanese people with tattoos who would also like to see this at least eased up a bit, so let's not pretend that white people invented tattoos and/or getting irked at mild discrimination. It's not just onsen either, it's pools, water parks and even some beaches. And frankly, it's at most an inconvenience- but one that's made 1000% more annoying when it's followed by "Welcome to Japan! Land of omotenashi! See how welcoming and accepting our culture can be!". Maybe, occasionally, they could say what they mean. Would be nice.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What absolutely kills me about this whole issue that the Yakuza DO use the onsens and baths. There tatoos cover everything except their face, butt and other parts that shall not be mentioned and I have never seen someone one complain.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

These rules ate basically racist. Having tattoos is now the ultimate expression of conformity among westerners (although I do know a couple of eccentrics who have yet to get inked). Japan needs to respect our narcissistic desires to get our bodies covered in ink so that we can look like our contemporaries and over-paid sportsmen. I don't care if the sight of them repulse the bulk of costumers of the bathing facilities, this is about what I want!

Blah, blah, blah! All I hear is this: some aspects of Japanese culture don't agree with my point of view, my culture, my ideology, and since my culture, point of view, and ideology are the correct ones, anything Japan does that I don't like or agree with is because she's racist.

I tell ya....the arrogance coupled with unbridled audacity! Western hegemony is real, not just something you read about; it is alive and well!

And no... Not all westerners express themselves in tattoos; but thanks for taking it upon yourself to speak for all of us.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

me and the missus have small matching tattoos depicting England and Japan....we used to cover them up but not anymore...but would gladly cover them...bit hard though if you have lots / big ones !!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't like tattoos but don't think hotels should ban people for having them. It would appears that hotels and ryokan are happy to take money from Yakuza members, just not let it be obvious that they do. Ban people for their behaviour, not for who they are.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Pssst, Mr. Noidall - I think Ah-so was indulging in a bit of yumore.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

@Mr. Noidall

Glossing over your strange inability to recognize sarcasm...

Why is everyone assuming that only westerners complain about this? Many of my Japanese friends have tattoos. Some big, some small - none of whom are involved in organized crime and all of whom find the restrictions on tattoos to be obnoxious. I guess this must be a western imposed mindset, because of course what Japanese person would be able to think for themselves without it being forced upon them by some white western colonial-minded bigot? Nonsense.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

savethegaijin,

Don't get me wrong I understand your thoughts.

Yet there is no perfect world. people are idiots everywhere and the more freedom you give them, the more crappy the society gets . . . the USA liberal freedom thing only works there, with all the evil that comes with it.

Many people don't understand the dynamics of societies . . . japan is the way it is because of compromises, of people accepting casual rules for a better organisation of society . . . thats the japanese style, it surly goes against western: " I got up on a bad foot this morning and I will annoy the entire world today thinking", but you get other benfits out of this.

I was upset of the "no foreigners thing" in japan too, however in retrospective I understand that this was no nazi racist attempt to purge japan from ethic minorities, but a naive call from japanese business owners who can't accept that foreigners behave radicaly different then the majority of their japanese customers.

The Yakuza thing isn't that diffiuclt tounderstand too: if any western guy would be born as a japanese he would have a tough time to live a western lifesyle in japan, as japanese you do japanese . . . . Yakuzas are the japanese that want to behave different, (nothing to do with mafia in first place, more of adopting a rebel and selfish lifestyle), but because they are japanese and raised in japan, they know that in oder to survive they need to stigmatise them selves as Yakuza . . . . again because the rest of the japanese will know how to handle them. . . . . . . . . this is not possible with a gaijin who floks in to a hotel pool and behaves erradic, selfish and then flies home soon after without giving a f56k.

Japan can welcome foreigners and has the right to impose their cultural values opon them . . . which are in fact the cool things you look for when coming to japan . . .. want to enjoy western style vacation, go visit a western country or china town if you need an asian touch.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Blah, blah, blah! All I hear is this: some aspects of Japanese culture don't agree with my point of view, my culture, my ideology, and since my culture, point of view, and ideology are the correct ones, anything Japan does that I don't like or agree with is because she's racist.

Mr Noidall - read my post carefully. I was clearly joking. I was poking fun at Westerners who feel entitled to force their culture on Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yes, I realize that you were being sarcastic, and I'm sorry. But my post still applies to the others who are quick to shout racism.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

C,Mon..it's not like it's 21st century and time to move on or anything now..

0 ( +3 / -3 )

People with tattooes made the decision to decorate themselves in body art; private Japanese businesses have the right to make the decision to bar such people. Don't like it? Look for a more accepting place to go. Until then, Boo hoo .....

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Tat's all folks!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think the association of tattoos with criminal gangs in Japan comes from the Edo Period practice of punishing criminals with tattoos to signify the nature of their crimes. Onsens for all!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

afanofjapan: "Here is an analogy: A person comes into your house wearing their shoes. You tell them that you have a shoes off policy in your house and that they are not welcome in your house while wearing shoes. But they tell you that where they are from, everybody wears shoes inside and you have to change your rules to suit what they are used to doing. If you dont agree with it then you are being racist and prejudiced against shoe wearers."

And it's a stupid analogy. Tattoos are not shoes. If you wear shoes in the house you drag in dirt and can also over time cause wear and tear. There are practical reasons for removing and/or having others remove their shoes in the house.

What's more, these hotels with hotsprings advertise for customers, with all welcome, no? If they are not willing to allow people in with tattoos should that not be written in the guidebooks next to the hotel name? Why should they not be labelled. Finally, it's a stupid comparison because this kind of moronic denial of people with tattoos happens in public places and not just baths. Just recently a beach banned tattoos.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Polls do not show explaining. If you are a Japanese, ask why in Japanese to owner, My family never used public bathroom. Koshitsu with 2 bathrooms for male and female.

When gaijins enter in public bathroom, Japanese pervert come and watch gaijin's bottom of upper body organ. The hotel use tattoo as excuse to avoid pervert?.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Plus if yakuza members roll into an onsen, you think a part time staff member is going to have the guts to tell them they cannot enter?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Plus if yakuza members roll into an onsen, you think a part time staff member is going to have the guts to tell them they cannot enter?"

Perhaps not but if the same hotel that refuses to confront an obvious member of the Yakuza over tattoos goes after the aforrmentioned Maori woman over her tattoos then that kind shoots the whole "it's because of culture" crap that's being peddled here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yakuza groups rend hotel rooms to operate their gambling business. Many hotels, renting is their main income. Tattoed people (oichikabu deakers) pronably use koshitsu with one male bathroom together. To avoid chimpira disrupt their business, tattooed people are not welcome?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The very dark side of Japan!

Sad because Japan has so much brightness to share.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@ cleo how many police officers have tattoos? Like your daugther or SIL? I laughed out loud at one of your previous comments on another thread "why would anyone have any any doubts about dating a police officer" BECAUSE the majority are all sexual perverts ......der....THATS WHY check out the number of J stones snapping upskirts, etc next time your dearly beloved son in law comes to visit, check your knickers drawer to see if any are missing

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Good for the Japanese! People that get "tattoos" definitely are missing something.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It began in Hokkaido. tattoo is tradition of Ainu people. They have been discriminated since Japanese Govt captured Hokkaido,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can't help but feel it gets weirder because of the nature of yakuza and the way they are viewed. We have been having some articles talking about them.

They used to be considered this sort of "necessary evil". So what Japan just sort of lets organized crime syndicates maintain office buildings and a presence in general? Doesn't that make yakuza and by extension tattoos an issue Japan has created and perpetuated itself? yet Japan bars people who may not even be Japanese?

Seems unfair to me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well the parson gets chucked out too for having tattoos!

Not for tattoos though but a tatto

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@savethegaijinOCT. 22, 2015 - 12:38PM JST

It's your right to dislike tattoos but it's not illegal. Are you against all body modification? Ear piercing? Plastic surgery? Circumcision?

To be honest, on principle, I'm a fan of none of these. For plastic surgery if you are really so disfigured (either injury or really unfortunate birth) people get grossed out just looking at you. For circumcision there are a few medical conditions that justify it (however, one must note that some conditions that purportedly require it self-resolve and should not be used as a pretext). These rather special exceptions aside, I am against body modification.

Be that as it may, the others don't have unfortunate associations with the more negative elements of society.

@David VarnesOCT. 22, 2015 - 12:41PM JST

Poppycock. There are plenty of ways to keep undesirable people like the Yakuza out, and that includes saying that criminal behavior will not be tolerated. Call the flippin' cops if the Yaks barge in. Oh, wait, that would require the operators to have some backbone and the cops to get off their swivel-seat padded backsides and leave the Koban to do something.

There are two problems with this approach.

1) People always say that Prevention is better than Cure. Defensive driving. Try not to walk in dark alleys. Don't talk to strangers. You are just denying the proprietor his right to prevent potential trouble (he's willing to lose some potential income for this), opting for a reactive response. Justify this.

2) A lot of behavior cannot be termed criminal or even worthy of expulsion, but nevertheless have a repulsive effect on other guests.

3) You are telling the proprietor to have some backbone. But it is him that has to eat a Yakuza's fist in case of a confrontation not you.

I must wonder how many people will continue to support these policies if they have to put cash where their mouths are. Will you be willing to mandatorily contribute to a fund that will be used to compensate proprietors for problems caused by changing their no-tattoo policy (and thus letting the Yakuza in)?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This policy has to change. My normal employee from France has his enjoyment of Japan reduced because he has a few tats. What the hell, Japan? I've seen scary yakuza members ignoring these policies, because of course they would. So let anyone take a frigging bath.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I've been to a few onsen that allow tattoos and I don't see them being overcrowded with yakuza. Never even seen one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

What about Yakuza without tatoos? And why discriminate against so called Yakuza anyway? Innocent until proven guilty. A proven criminal will be sentenced and once the sentence is served the individual should be free again. This case highlights several contradictions.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sorry , when in Japan you can keep your tats outta my face and use the shower in your hotel room! I don't want to see your body art or whatever you want to call it! Nor do I want the possibility of using the same water as your just inked body has been in!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

This is a catch 22 for onsen people. They know tatoo is just a fashion for foreigners. But what if they accept these tatoos fro abroad, and still bar Yakuzas with tatoo? Yakuza would exclaim it as a racial discrimination and onsens would end up letting them in. As Japanese myself, I don't want to stay in these facilities. No feel at ease.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

proxyOct. 22, 2015 - 01:17PM JST It is absolutely no different than a restaurant or club having a dress code.

You make a very good point. Anyway, why do people want to disfigure their body with tatoos ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This policy has to change. My normal employee from France has his enjoyment of Japan reduced because he has a few tats. What the hell, Japan? I've seen scary yakuza members ignoring these policies, because of course they would. So let anyone take a frigging bath.

Why does a foreign country have to change to suit your French friend? Do you get upset that people in India frown on eating beef when you visit? Why must every country adopt this globalized, one-size-fits-all non-culture?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Cleo... thanks for the appreciation. Sometimes the headlines are more surprising and informative than the story.

How about this?

Bathers inc. shuns inked bathers

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Just charge those that disfigure their bodies double and stick them all in some dark closed off corner where they get to stare at each other-problem solved.....!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This issue isn't that the Japanese can't tell that foreigners with tattoos aren't yakuza, it's that you can't say "Oh, you have a tattoo/s and it's ok that you come here" and then say to someone with a tattoo (yakuza) that they can't. It's an all or nothing sort of thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Old topic recycled. Yes, we have to get excited about something.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How about a list of these places so we can paste it on the internet and those coming for the rudby world cup and the olympics can avoid them?

Honestly, folks here tell me Japan doesn't have an issue with discrimination and I can only laugh at them. Plenty of Japanese folks in show biz and the music industry have them these days yet... The old "yakuza" line gets played.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Maybe the owners of the bath houses should REALLY double down on this and just get it over with. They could post a sign that says:

"No yakuza, foreigners, or dogs....with tattoos."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Accept the cultural difference, folks. Don't expect everything to be the same as in your country when you travel. Also, do your research before you travel so you won't be disappointed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Accept the cultural difference, folks. Don't expect everything to be the same as in your country when you travel. Also, do >your research before you travel so you won't be disappointed.

Good advise because when I travel,my bad, I often expect other countries to be also in the 21st century.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Only bikers, convicts, sailors, tattoo artists, specific tribe/gang members (Maori, Yaks), and rockers/punks should have tattoos. Everyone else is just a poser.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is supposedly only about visiting bath houses as a tattooed person, right?

Does anyone go to Japan strictly to bathe?

If this type of fanatical bather exists, surely they would know about the horrors of having tattoos in Japanese communal bathing environments. (discrimination against visibly tattooed people in Japan definitely exists outside of bath houses too)

With the Olympics and other major, Global level events that are coming to Japan, Japan will need to accommodate a global crowd of diverse people that will be visiting their country. Japan is actively seeking increased tourism revenue, so, in a world where tattoos are an increasingly large part of all cultures, how can Japan expect to have such a closed minded policy about tattooed people?

Visibly tattooed people will find plenty of discrimination outside of communal bathing environments and this is not acceptable, especially in a country that is seeking to hold Global events of any kind. Japan needs to be much more accepting of outsiders in all shapes, colors and adornments, and not judge people according to antiquated perceptions that don't apply to those who are not Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites