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Female Osaka school clerk's pay docked over tattoos

163 Comments

A 23-year-old woman who works as a school clerk in Osaka has been disciplined for having tattoos.

The woman had her salary cut for one month for violating ethical rules, the Osaka board of education said, NTV reported Friday.

According to the board, the woman got three tattoos from 2012 to 2013: one on her left arm and two on her left ankle. There was an anonymous call to the school complaining about the tattoos, which prompted the board to investigate the case.

NTV reported that the woman has agreed to have her tattoos removed.

This is the first time an Osaka government employee has been punished for having tattoos since Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto announced an anti-tattoo policy in June, 2012.

Hashimoto conducted a compulsory survey in which all employees of the city government were pressured to provide information about visible and concealed tattoos. Hashimoto said the local government would block the promotion and advancement of any city employee who declined to respond to the survey asking them if they have tattoos.

The survey was criticized by lawmakers and teachers throughout the prefecture, where about 800 teachers and other school workers refused to respond, saying it infringed on their right to privacy.

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163 Comments
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There seems to be a basic infringement of human rights here, let alone privacy.

56 ( +60 / -4 )

I wonder who exactly was being hurt by this woman's tattoos. If they think it just sets some kind of "bad example", I would say student/teacher bullying, teachers hitting students, textbook censorship, and any number of other actions set far worse examples for students than a few tattoos. Much bigger problems in schools that need attention, I think. And as far as the anonymous call is concerned, if you're going to make a complaint, at least have the decency to give your name.

40 ( +39 / -0 )

Speaking of bullies. The guy has cornered the market.

24 ( +25 / -1 )

I don't see how this could possibly be legal.

40 ( +40 / -0 )

An undeniable infringement of her human rights and privacy. If the tattoos don't impair her ability to do her job then what is the problem? I agree with Yardley that the anonymous caller who made the complaint should have left her name. It showed a lack of guts. And now the clerk has agreed to have the tattoos removed. I wonder if she was threatened with further cuts in pay or even dismissal. A clear case of bullying from upper management.

27 ( +29 / -2 )

This is totally wrong!!! Yardley is so right!!! This woman is clerk, no teaching responsibility whatsoever. Hashimoto, and the complainer need a lobotomy ASAP.

24 ( +24 / -0 )

This is a flagrant violation of individual rights.

21 ( +21 / -0 )

Some times you have to wonder what is going on, you can voice revisionist views of history as a politician. You can destroy a prefecture with fall out and no penalty. Have a tattoo and it's a months salary and forced removal with attached stigma. For the love of God what's wrong with this country!

17 ( +19 / -2 )

I hope someone from Japan would explain it better , but untill then, in Japan , majority of tattoo owners are conected with Yakuza, and having tattoo as teacher , is one way of promoting negative path , so of course they asked her to remove those tattoos . If you check musicians in Japan, you would see that big mayority of them dont have tatoos, even rock musicians , its rare , I think Miyavi has , and musicians from Dragon Ash, and cant remember anyone else , probably someone else can say more of that.

-41 ( +9 / -48 )

As previously commented, it is a cultural thing here and that’s the culture, accept it or go someplace else! The teacher involved broke the rules. She knew what the rules were, or at least what the atmosphere was and what the rules were going to be when she got her first tattoo in 2012 and decided to go against the flow again in 2013. Rules of employment (of any employer) are rules; you either comply or go work someplace else. Seems this particular teacher was being contrary and pushed the envelope and is now paying the price

-28 ( +15 / -42 )

Japan needs to get out of the stone age . In about 10 years or so if not earlier most gyms will have to shut down or change their rules to allow tattoos @nenad Most people here with tattoos are not connected to Yakuza ! All one needs to do is walk down to the beach in the summer now to see almost every young person sporting one let alone all the foreigners here who couldn't be yakuza .

Japan is just showing one more example of how it doesn't respect a person rights to freedom of choice. Body Art ! Get with the program Japan !

13 ( +21 / -8 )

@Nenad Let me correct your comment for you

in Japan , majority of tattoo owners were connected with Yakuza, and having tattoo as teacher , is one way of promoting individuality, so of course they asked her to remove those tattoos.

Japan is stuck in the past and continues to promote the "we are all the same" mentality. The stupid thing which is often apparent is that tattoo wearing does not in fact mean the wearer is engaged in illegal activity, but working in public office does.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

They need to amend the Japanese constitution to include, "you have the right to bare arms," it's actually quite funny that a Japanese government agency is quoting ethics laws to punish this woman. What do they know about ethics? This woman needs to check her employment contract very carefully and if there is nothing in it about tattoos she should sue these hypocrites.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Here better article on this subject http://japandailypress.com/osaka-public-school-clerk-fined-a-months-pay-for-having-arm-ankle-tattoos-3143395/ , And In this article show that one kid was scared when he saw tattoo on her , one of the reasons why this ban is there, no matter what you say, tattoos are rare in Japan .And this ban is only for jobs that are connected with government ,so, you wanna tattoos , you find job elsewhere . Dont push western way of looking on tattoos , tattoos are not necessary things in life , people can survive without that .

-22 ( +13 / -34 )

I think one reason why tattoos are not well-liked in Japan is their historical association with the yakuza, the Japanese organized crime syndicates. That's why--like them or not!--many onsen in Japan do not allow people with tattoos.

As such, sad to say, it does not surprise me the female worker will have to remove those tattoos given Japanese mores.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

In Japan tattoos are still considered part of a counterculture even though it has gained wider social acceptance in other parts of the world. However many employers would likely be surprised to find out how many current employees have tattoos and simply cover them up at work. So negative assumptions about what tattoos say about people who have them are often misplaced and issues raised by tattoos can get more complicated when it comes to gender and religion. The key is for a business to have a written policy that employees are required to read and sign, and then to enforce the policy consistently. That way, employees are not able to claim that the policy was applied differently to them. And the policies should be cased on sound judgment that is in the best interest of the business. That means that employee and customer interest also need to be considered before a policy is drafted. However, I do firmly believe policies that prohibit tattoos should not reflect value judgment about the tattoos or the people who get them.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

@Omik:

Yes, the prevelant attitude inJapan about tattoos is negative. However, as long as she wasn't showing her tattoos while at work, then there should be no problem. I fully agree that if a company/institution doesn't want its employees having visable tattoos, they have the right to implement rules and workers should follow the rules or go elsewhere. But what goes on underneath clothing should be completely free. I bet the annonymous caller was some jealous worker, that heard about the tattoos second hand, and has complained becuase of their dislike for the woman, not her tattoos.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

NovenachamaFEB. 01, 2014 - 08:54AM JSTThe key is for a business to have a written policy that employees are required to read and sign, and then to enforce the policy consistently. That way, employees are not able to claim that the policy was applied differently to them.

Pretty sure that would be illegal...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Welcome to the new China, plus. Fascists.

1 ( +15 / -14 )

jonnydesuFEB. 01, 2014 - 08:54AM JST @Omik: Yes, the prevelant attitude inJapan about tattoos is negative. However, as long as she wasn't showing her tattoos while at work, then there should be no problem. I fully agree that if a company/institution doesn't want its employees having visable tattoos, they have the right to implement rules and workers should follow the rules or go elsewhere. But what goes on underneath clothing should be completely free.

That's the thing, huh? As long as crap like this goes on, there will CONTINUE to be a negative attitude about tattoos.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Authoritarian attitude is negative towards tattoos. It's an archaic attitude based on nothing more than a distant social norm that is well past it's used buy date. As has been stated go to the beach walk around and you see tattoos everywhere the disconnect between what "leaders" say (want) and what is actually happening in reality are poles apart. On many levels it's the biggest problem, the disconnect what, old leaders want and reality are poles apart.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

And yet Tokyo will hold the 2020 Olympics, where I`m sure plenty of tattoos will be on display. Time to get with the 21st century, Japan

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Nenad Jovanović -- Here better article on this subject http://japandailypress.com/osaka-public-school-clerk-fined-a-months-pay-for-having-arm-ankle-tattoos-3143395/ , And In this article show that one kid was scared when he saw tattoo on her , one of the reasons why this ban is there, no matter what you say, tattoos are rare in Japan

Interesting article - it doesn't say what you say it does. A child was frightened when it saw a tattoo on some male worker in Osaka, not necessarily at this school. You should read more carefully and use logic when you draw conclusions. In this case, you are mistaken.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

I was just explaining to students how odd we foreigners think this is since tattoos are also historically associated with samurai and the Ainu people. The explanation given today that all that changed because of a pack of criminals is bizarre, irrational and unfair.

But what is new? Its not only Japan with such oddball points of oppressive culture, particularly when schools and kids are involved. In no way would I approach this from a sense that my culture is superior. My point is the injustice and human rights violation, same as I posit against my own culture time and again.

Another point is that her tattoos are guaranteed to be a pretty far cry from anything a yakuza would get. A blind, dead mouse could spot the difference. Its like saying all employees must shave their heads since some yakuza wear punch perms!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Dear Japan,

It's 2014. Get with the times. There are way worse things than a few tattoos.

Love,

Everyone

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Raymond ChuangFeb. 01, 2014 - 08:49AM JST

I think one reason why tattoos are not well-liked in Japan is their historical association with the yakuza, the Japanese organized crime syndicates. That's why--like them or not!--many onsen in Japan do not allow people with tattoos. As such, sad to say, it does not surprise me the female worker will have to remove those tattoos given Japanese mores.

Hmmm, I may frequent the wrong sentos and onsens. I have seen several men with full body tattoos. Some are downright scary, with scowls and narry an aisatsu to anyone when they come in. Others are quite friendly and social. The last I saw was in Beppu at Netsunoyu in early December. He was a nice bloke, although the people who came in with him did show a lot of deference to him which led me to suspect him to be a crime figure.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

But it's the rule.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Guess she should've got them on her arse.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Tattos are a choice, like not going to university or dread locks or having bright pink hair. All of these things would make it more difficult to secure employment in certain positions. This is simple fact. Japanese culture frowns on tattoos, this is not a new thing, if you want to visit a public or private pool, gym, hot spring, public bath, some beaches or capsule hotel then there is a strict no tatto policy. This is not only common knowleadge but the written in both Japanese and English outside these venues. So having a policy of no tattoos in government or government schools is not so strange. This is not a human rights issue as it is the same as a dress code, hair standard or personal hygiene standard. And again don't take your own cultures opinions and try to apply them to another.

X

-12 ( +8 / -19 )

Roten

Interesting article - it doesn't say what you say it does. A child was frightened when it saw a tattoo on some male worker in Osaka, not necessarily at this school. You should read more carefully and use logic when you draw conclusions. In this case, you are mistaken.

That incident with male worker indicted the law that is on in Osaka now, and yes, I posted like she was the one , my mistake .

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

'It's a cultural thing' Yes there is obviously a negative attitude about tattoos which is difficult to change. However, this incident is a Hashimoto thing which isn't difficult to change. The ballot box can do it.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@Gobdhite, It's ironic that you mention the "we are all the same" mentality. In the west, the superficial motive for people to get tattooes is to show one's "uniqueness," but in reality the sheer multitude of people who get tattoes because they think they are "cool" shows the herd mentality to be in full effect. Fashion is nothing if not a cry for acceptance by one's peers.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Hashimoto has got this all the wrong way round; he needs to show people that tattoos are nothing to be scared of by promoting positive examples of them. I suggest he starts this by getting a facial tattoo himself, preferably a spiders web across his forehead.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I suggest he starts this by getting a facial tattoo himself, preferably a spiders web across his forehead.

Hmm, a tattoo saying I made stupid comments about sex slaves would be more appropriate

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Ludicrous, how in the hell can this even happen?

This women need to make a loud song and dance about it and human rights and United nations involved, this cannot even be legal or moral.

I guess only in Japan could this even happen.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Yep, tattoos are bad, but a pregnant girl getting crapped on by a dog is fine.

Go Japan!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

There was article with Gibli's Director Miyazaki lamenting on the fact too many people in the anime business are like minded. I think this a good example of the same issue when applied to policy makers. A lot of policy makers in Japan subscribe to same basic philosophies and new people are often told to conform or forced to leave creating a stale yet powerful force.

The woman did make a mistake of showing her tattoo ( the school is trying to project an image and as employee you are part of that image) . Docking a months pay is a bit extreme as is socially forcing her to get minor surgery to remove a tattoo. The board is sending a dangerous message to its students and staff by "what you do with your body, visible or not, is at discression of your employer".

9 ( +9 / -0 )

This fear of tattoos is just a symptom of the wider problem of organised crime in Japan. Reduce crime sydicate influence and activities - the stigma around tattoos would evaporate.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What's unbelievable... well, okay, it's believable given the national mentality... is that it's acceptable if a celebrity has 'fashion tattoos' (and won't be kicked out of an onsen or gym but would be welcomed with open arms), but if it's your average Joe suddenly it's a problem. I quit a gym once because my wife has tattoos and they wouldn't let her in. I complained to the manager, who put me through to the CEO of the gym, and he said, "There's nothing I can do. It's the rules". When I pointed out that he was the CEO and could change the rules, he had absolutely nothing to say except to repeat, "It's the rules".

7 ( +10 / -3 )

What I found very disturbing is that Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s compulsory survey clearly violate the right to privacy that the employees in Osaka entitle, yet there seems no one who takes this violation to the juridical system.

But I am not very not surprised, it’s the same person ,Hashimoto, not long ago, said “When soldiers are risking their lives by running through storms of bullets, and you want to give these emotionally charged soldiers a rest somewhere, it’s clear that you need a comfort women system.”

It is safe to predict, Toru Hashimoto can get away with such injustice again.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It's the rules! No exception Butterfly tattoo on ankle, must be Yakusa. Bald, must wear swim cap. As for any child being "scarred" of an image on anyone's body, there are issues with those parents not with the canvas. Judgement should be on results not appearance it might happen on day and much better off this Island will be for it.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We get it. This is Japan and Japanese culture is traditionally opposed to tattoos because of their association with the yakuza. Thanks to all of the cultural experts for telling us that - again and again.

The thing is, this woman is Japanese. Does she get no say in what is or will become part of her culture? Must culture always stay the same? Do we have to follow along blindly when it comes to doing or not doing things because they are part of the culture?

Sorry, I'm not a huge fan of tattoos but don't see the issue here aside from the fact that people are simply falling in line with the knee-jerk cultural reactionaries. She's not hurting anyone or violating anyone else's rights. Some kid is scared of her tattoos? So what? Some kid is scared of you too so does that mean you shouldn't be able to have a job because of it or does it mean someone should sit down and talk to that kid about being more accepting of people who aren't exactly the same as him and who might make different choices than the ones he makes?

To paraphrase Sommerset Maugham, let tradition be your guide, not your jailer.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

This is likely illegal.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

You can still find this kind of debate in Australia- a country where every second cafe worker or restauranteur sports a sleeve tatt or something noticeable on exposed areas. In that sense, we seem to be coming a full circle on tattoos where now not being inked at all is just as expressive, but opinion can be pretty divided in the press even though we don't associate tattoos with organised crime to anywhere near the extent that Japan does...I guess that's a bit of a tangent, but what I'm getting at is that we all know how Japan is, especially when it comes to the presentation of civil servants- and that even though the average person on the street might say 'What's the big deal?', that Japanese people as a group would probably agree that conformity on this issue is either important or understandable. As Alex Kerr pointed out; the education system in Japan is just as geared towards bringing kids up Japanese as it is towards tests and grades. I'd say it's unfortunate to the worker involved, but she should have known better in the job that she had. I was once called by my boss in Japan to tell me off for crossing the road the wrong way, so even as a foreigner I knew how picky people could be!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

@omik

As previously commented, it is a cultural thing here and that’s the culture, accept it or go someplace else! The teacher involved broke the rules.

First of all, this person is not a teacher, she is a "school clerk". Secondly, since she had to be "reported anonymously", I imagine that would mean her tattoos didn't "show". Personally I wouldn't want to adorn myself with any kind of tattoo but I'm a firm believer of human rights and the school is wrong to punish her in any way.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Btw I'm cool with tattoos, don't have myself and being a whitey in an onsen over there was already enough of a put off for some of the elder locals (never mind that I followed the rules that they didn:t/wouldn't- but that's a whole different story) :p

2 ( +3 / -1 )

You cannot associate these few tattoos with those of the yakuza. Yakuza tattoos are very different. Using the yakuza connection is only a blind excuse for totalitarian civil rights abuse. I learned guitar from the music professor at UCLA and he is covered in tatts. Wake up japan! Your so-called 'democracy' is a front for a totalitarian socialist government!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Do you people know there was a full body tattooed politician nick named Irezumi Daijin years ago? No, he was not Hokkaido Anu person. Just Kanagawa Prefxcture Yakuza oyabun rehabilitated to become politician. He was so successful that his grandson became Japanese Prime Minister. BTW Tattoo was not samurai culture.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tattoos are disgusting, especially on women. In Japan they have even more significance so I am totally in agreement with the action to discipline. Stupid girl!

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Fukuppy: "Tattoos are disgusting, especially on women."

That kind of attitude is what is disgusting. I'm guessing that despite your best efforts there are probably things about your appearance and/or person that offend others, but unless you are going out of your way to do so or causing others harm the offense is not with you, but with the people offended.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

@aussie: We old Japanese know. You go to what record? Ask old timer politicians in your area. Check Koizumi's family background. Or ask your Japanese friend to check Nippon Jinbutsu Monogatari or Nippon Jinbutsu ryakuden. Maybe you find old Rekishi to Jinbutsu magazine issues. If you don;t know how to read Japanese magazines, ask your Japanese friends.

1 ( +1 / -1 )

'Totalitarian socialist government' Abe? Hashimoto? Socialists? Hashimoto is a petty, bigoted, unpleasant control-freak, not a socialist.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@aussie: I went to look if Wikipedia has on Koizumi Junichiro. I found. Look at Early Life. But I copied.

Koizumi is a third-generation politician. His father, Jun'ya Koizumi, was director general of the Japan Defense Agency and a member of the Diet. His grandfather, Koizumi Matajirō,called "Tattoo Minister" because of his big tattoo on his body, and the leader of Koizumi Gumi in Kanagawa (a big group of "yakuza") was Minister of Posts and Telecommunications under Prime Ministers Hamaguchi and Wakatsuki and an early advocate of postal privatization. See Koizumi family. You don;t have to dig Japanese books. You can dig Wikipedia. It has English version.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tattoos are disgusting, especially on women.

I agree. But that's not even close to the point here.

Having a tatoo - especially one that can't even be seen when dressed for work - has no bearing whatsoever on a person's right to receive the full salary to which they are entitled for working the full hours. There is no way to spin this news as anything other than small-minded people trying to infringe of the freedom of law abiding, tax paying citizens. For shame.

10 ( +9 / -0 )

Watch out ladies wqho work for Osaka schools. Your hair color, hairdo, makeup may be used to cheat your paycheck.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Most people weigh the artistic and social aspect of tattoos far more than the health aspects. However there are health risks involved if your tattoo design contains large areas of black ink, as the ink itself may be toxic. Researchers have actually examined the skin with tattoos at the nano-level using an atomic force microscope and found that the ink particles leaving the surface of your skin travels elsewhere in your body where they could potentially enter organs and other tissues. The tattoo process remodels collagen which is your body's main connective tissue. Unfortunately tattoo inks are largely unregulated and known to contain cancer-causing agents. But if you are contemplating on getting a tattoo I would ask about the chemicals in the ink and avoid those with the potential to cause cancer and then weigh the risk and benefits.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

If I were young and dumb again... not much different than now.... I'd probably go out and get a tattoo just to be anti establishment.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I personally think tattoos are for convicts, biker gang members, soldiers and pirates. Real boxers/MMA fighters can have tats since they are usually some kind of combination of the aforementioned members of fringe society. Kidding.

Getting a tattoo just for fashion is wacked. I am immediately turned off if a girl has tats. Frankly, they usually have some "issues". "I need something and I want that thing with me forever!!" Issues. Period.

As you probably know already I have no desire to get a tattoo. For one reason, I would get tired of seeing the same image following me around all the time. I don't even put pictures on my walls at home. And no, putting the tat on my face or ass is not a good solution to not having to see the tat all the time. Furthermore, I'm glad I don't have any tattoos because I love going to onsen. I don't want some MMA wannabe with "tribal tats" or some pencil-thin Maroon 5 type moron with tat sleeves around me. Both have inflated egos which is anathema in Japan. How can a guy be humble and appear to be humble if he has a screaming, flaming skull tat on his arm? I don't want to see that crap when I'm trying to relax. I see enough corporate advertisements when I'm on the train. I don't need to see ego advertisements when I'm in an onsen.

In the case of the school clerk with tats... Try eating food with your left hand in Muslim countries. When in Rome... I don't want to live in a world where every culture is the same and accepts everything. What makes the world interesting for me is when I go to another country IT IS DIFFERENT. I don't want to see GAP wearing, Starbucks drinking, tatted dorks everywhere on this planet pretending to be doing something important on their Apple laptop. You can't respect diversity and at the same time expect everyone to be the same. In Japan tattoos are taboo. Don't like it, MOVE.

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

She should have hidden them better. Fact is, As a public servant she knew the rules. If she doesn't like it, change jobs.

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

Tatoo's are ugly and and in your face way to say "screw society" and what you think. I'm glad she got punished and is brought back in line with social norms.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Fact is, As a public servant she knew the rules

I could be mistaken here, but I believe those rules are actually against the law.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Tattoo culture in Japan.

Koizumi is a third-generation politician. His father, Jun'ya Koizumi, was director general of the Japan Defense Agency and a member of the Diet. His grandfather, Koizumi Matajirō,called "Tattoo Minister" because of his big tattoo on his body, and the leader of Koizumi Gumi in Kanagawa (a big group of "yakuza") was Minister of Posts and Telecommunications under Prime Ministers Hamaguchi and Wakatsuki and an early advocate of postal privatization. See Koizumi family.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan needs to abandon the mentality that Tattoos equal Yakuza. Tattoos itself aren't ugly. It depends on whether the 'canvas' is ugly or not.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Get a lawyer, this is surely illegal.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It seems to me that men having tattoos are ok but anything female do is targe for criticiism. That was why I wrote about tatoo Minister story.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well, I am at a loss for words... the word "stupidity" comes to mind.. but that single word does not do this gross bullying justice ! Tattoos do not equate with being a Yakuza! Besides, a Yakuza. Even if she were a Yakuza, which I sincerely doubt, that might even make her a better teacher/clerk... unless she is going to dawn a sword and starting fighting along side The Wolverine I really don't feel why Japan feels so threatened by body art! Yakuza are regarded as semi-legitimate organizations. For example, immediately after the Kobe earthquake, the Yamaguchi-gumi, whose headquarters are in Kobe, mobilized itself to provide disaster relief services (including the use of a helicopter), and this was widely reported by the media as a contrast to the much slower response by the Japanese government.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't like tattoos but, this is indicative of a country that still has one foot in the Dark Ages.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

You can't respect diversity and at the same time expect everyone to be the same. In Japan tattoos are taboo. Don't like it, MOVE.

Ah, the typical excuse from Japan apologists. Japan considers itself to be a modern country. If that is the case, then it needs to embrace some of the norms that go with it

2 ( +9 / -7 )

this is indicative of a country that still has one foot in the Dark Ages.

Moreso that Hashimoto has at least one foot in the Dark Ages.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

That was why I wrote about tatoo Minister story.

Interesting point. Thank you for writing it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The reason that tattoos are associated with Yakuza's is just stupid.

There are two disgusting things in this story. First, this women has her fundamental rights to use her body in any way she wants violated. She was not exposing her tattoos, nor being insolent with them. Those tattoos are purely personal and totally private to her own decision to have them. She may like to have some tattoos and she has the right to do so. Hence her basic freedom of choice is also violated. And being basically forced to remove them is a direct attempt at the integrity of her body outside of her own choice. What kind of a so called civilized country can accept that?

Second, the fact that the matter was brought to the board by an anonymous call shows that denouncing people to the authorities just because they are different is well going in Japan which more than ever continues to promote a society of identical and therefore more controllable people.

Finally this anti-tattoo policy is just hypocrisy. They are going after innocent people for having tattoos while the real Yakuza's are all well and going totally fine in Osaka. Hypocrites.....

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The 2020 Olympics are gonna be really interesting !!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Bald men are also scary, can Hashimoto please ban bald teachers from teaching? BTW this was a office clerk whose tattoos weren't visible in normal time, some rat snitched on her, I would suspect some old bat in the same office that no longer gets any male attention since a younger person moved in.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I think tattoos look bloody awful. But making a stupid noise about a girl with a covered tattoo is ridiculous, as are the silly rules in pools and gyms. The yakuza crime syndicates have huge offices in Osaka and Kobe, and nothing is done. How can a crime syndicate have offices?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamaguchi-gumi

Gangsters walk around dressed as gangsters with impunity, but a young lady with a concealed tattoo is vilified? Japan is a land of staggering hypocrisy at times, governed by a set of mindless rules decided by nutty men with no ability to think or even see contradictions.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

So if I were to use the same thought process that all people with tattoos are yakuza or bad people (this will be fun): All women with Louis Vuitton bags must be whores because many whores carry those bags. Even if its your mom, sorry but she's a whore according to Japanese thinking. All people who read manga or watch anime are hikkikomori, because most of them enjoy those forms of media. All alcoholics drink alcohol, so if you drink then you must be an alcoholic.

I could go on and on but I think I proved my point. In the many years I have lived in Japan, the idea of "you are free to do what you want, as long as its only something I also do or accept".

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I've got absolutely no issue with Japan upholding a strong stance on tattoos, and I'm glad that it doesn't succumb to this Western culturally imperialistic attitude, which is so common here on JT, that they are 'in the stone age', and abusing 'human rights' and other such nonsense.

Japan's attitudes and rules towards tattoos are legendary, very well known by all (especially the Japanese) and deeply ingrained. Just because Gen Y has got all excited about their pretty tattoos all of a sudden doesn't mean squat in Japan, and doesn't mean that socials attitudes and norms have to change just because you've got a Koi tattooed on yourself, and that your 'rights' suddenly supersede your broader social responsibilities and obligations - especially in a country that has such a well-defined stance on the matter.

If you want a profession where you can look hip and cool and show your lemming ink to everyone, make my Long Macchiato's for me. But if you want a job where tattoos are frowned upon, or there are even laws/rules about them, either don't get the tats, find another job or cover up properly.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I'm guessing that despite your best efforts there are probably things about your appearance and/or person that offend others, but unless you are going out of your way to do so or causing others harm the offense is not with you, but with the people offended.

It's possible, after all, just being a foreigner in Japan is disgusting to some. However, I have not tried to embellish myself in any way with Yakuza-like adornments and anyone who does is an idiot, unless part of a Yakuza clan. Remember, this is JAPAN we are talking about. And they do look vile on women in my opinion. You probably look the same with or without them so go for it. please do the ring in the earlobe thing - I am sure it will help you get a job.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Mr. Hashimoto should get his brain removed as it violates ethical standards and is useless.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@hidingout Having a tatoo - especially one that can't even be seen when dressed for work - has no bearing whatsoever on a person's right to receive the full salary to which they are entitled for working the full hours. There is no way to spin this news as anything other than small-minded people trying to infringe of the freedom of law abiding, tax paying citizens. For shame.

This girl works in a school. What happens when her cute little girly ankle sock slips down and a child points to it and says 'nani kore?'. The girl is a fool and having her pay docked is too lenient in my opinion. She should have been sacked on the spot. Tats are a no go in Japan.

@Kakurenbo In the case of the school clerk with tats... Try eating food with your left hand in Muslim countries. When in Rome... I don't want to live in a world where every culture is the same and accepts everything. What makes the world interesting for me is when I go to another country IT IS DIFFERENT. I don't want to see GAP wearing, Starbucks drinking, tatted dorks everywhere on this planet pretending to be doing something important on their Apple laptop. You can't respect diversity and at the same time expect everyone to be the same. In Japan tattoos are taboo. Don't like it, MOVE.

The last sentence says it all - MOVE. It's amazing so many outsiders criticize Japan and its ways while preteneding to love the place. If you can't accept Japan, then stay away. Don't try to change it to suit your western ways. Tatoos are unaccebtable in Japan the way racism is in so-called developed western countries. Or did you come to Japan naively expecting it to be the same? Good luck trying to change it!

@jojotoday She should have hidden them better. Fact is, As a public servant she knew the rules. If she doesn't like it, change jobs.

Quite so. And she's Japanese too, so she ought to know better!

@slumdog I could be mistaken here, but I believe those rules are actually against the law.

Let her sue then. Good luck finding someone to take the case or win it!

@CGB Spender Japan needs to abandon the mentality that Tattoos equal Yakuza. Tattoos itself aren't ugly. It depends on whether the 'canvas' is ugly or not.

People who believe Japan is wrong should leave and go somewhere they believe laws are fair in their view. Remember - WE are the outsiders. Japan won't - and shouldn't - change for us.

@hampton Gangsters walk around dressed as gangsters with impunity, but a young lady with a concealed tattoo is vilified? Japan is a land of staggering hypocrisy at times, governed by a set of mindless rules decided by nutty men with no ability to think or even see contradictions.

Good point, but remember Japan is Japan and does not belong to foreigners with their big, western attitudes. Also, the girl is working in education and should set an example. She should count herself lucky she still has a job!

@Ckret Ngredient So if I were to use the same thought process that all people with tattoos are yakuza or bad people (this will be fun): All women with Louis Vuitton bags must be whores because many whores carry those bags. Even if its your mom, sorry but she's a whore according to Japanese thinking. All people who read manga or watch anime are hikkikomori, because most of them enjoy those forms of media. All alcoholics drink alcohol, so if you drink then you must be an alcoholic.

Bags can be carroed or not carried - they are not part of the body and they have no negative connotations in Japanese society. Most Japanese read comics - part of their - THEIR, not YOUR - modren culture. You can enjoy a glass of wine a year without ever becoming an alcoholic, but even if you were, if you are doing your job and you don't smell of the stuff, it isn't a problem. Tats are!

@Tamarama If you want a profession where you can look hip and cool and show your lemming ink to everyone, make my Long Macchiato's for me. But if you want a job where tattoos are frowned upon, or there are even laws/rules about them, either don't get the tats, find another job or cover up properly.

Yep. Or leave Japan - better still, stat away.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

I support this 100%. Public servants should not have tattoos in Japan.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

What is funny is if this reaches a court, the education board of Osaka could have a discrimination case on there hands the courts really don't want to face. If the teacher gets fired, or faces more punishment from the education board because as a result of having a tatoo (which was removed) it's sets up a case for corporate bullying. The last thing Osaka wants to be seen is being an environment where bullying is accepted. Let's see what happens when an ALT is caught with a tatoo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Let's see what happens when an ALT is caught with a tatoo.

Meaning?

ALTs are not employed in the company I worked for unless the tattoo can be entirely covered up.

If an ALT, especially a non-JET, does anything the school or the BOE doesn't like he or she will find themselves replaced on some pretext or other (maybe even for having a tat) very swiftly. Such is the nature of ALT work.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

This is truley disgusting. This is but one of the reasons why Japan is failing in the modern international world.And, the people who are running down others with tattoos... Get a life!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ok Fukuppy, so your company won't hire unless a tattoo can be covered. Is this while working or off the clock. I fail to see how a policy can be defended outside of school grounds. Further you mentioned that an ALT can be removed on a completely separate pretext based a superior's knowledge of having a tattoo (That's the definition of discrimination in a nutshell).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

1) The whole tattoo thing, let me put my vote with those who say they indicate a slight deviousness from society. 2) On the "let's protect individuality" front, let me put my vote that tattoos, which is basically deliberately puncturing your skin and inserting the holes with ink, are a completely un-necessary and mildly harmful form of superficial individualism that ignores the more important need for individuality in thought. At least cosmetics are harmless (if we ignore the possibility of chemicals seeping through the pores) and can be removed. 3) For the "who cares if it is hidden" front ... either tattooing is OK or it is not. If we grant the idea tattooing is not OK when it is out in the open, why does it suddenly become OK if it is not discovered (hidden)? 3b) In fact, as a non-tattoo person, I don't even really understand what's the point of tattooing some spot that's not usually seen - it is like putting makeup on your kneecap... 4) As for the ridiculous idea that reporters should have their names blasted all over the place ... does anybody realize how much courage a whistleblower needs to blow the whistle at all? Has anybody thought that no whistleblowing (or equivalent) legislature ever invented can possibly handle all the devious means of discrimination available? It isn't like the school punished the teacher solely on the report, but only as a lead.

5) Having said all that, I'll agree that "student/teacher bullying and teachers hitting students" are bigger problems by an order of magnitude.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

(That's the definition of discrimination in a nutshell). Welcome to Japanese culture.

And all you posters going on about some teacher, this women works in an office, she doesn't teach.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

And all you posters going on about some teacher, this women works in an office, she doesn't teach.

But in Japan the "office" is a public area to which the students have free access and the clerks are just as visible as the teachers.

Tattoos are so common these days in the West that it seems odd to have this rule, but this is Japan. Posters have banged on about her right to privacy etc etc, but these "rights" are very much a Western notion. They were not engraved upon a metaphorical global ten commandments and even if you have them, the definition of "privacy" is open to interpretation. If it is visible then it is public. A discrete tattoo in a place kept clothed is private. Placed on a visible part of the body is public! The woman decided to have them done despite it being against the terms of her contract.

Tattoos are not broadly socially acceptable in Japan and if you work in a school you have to get over it. I do not feel that displays of childish narcissism are really a huge right anyway.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In 2014, it's truly astounding that so many people feel others shouldn't have a right to do what they want with their body, and make snap judgements about a person's personality/ethics based on what they look like. It's no different to thinking a ginger person is evil or a person wearing glasses is intelligent. It's a shame so many bigots still exist in this day and age.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And all you posters going on about some teacher, this women works in an office, she doesn't teach.

They call her "sensei" just the same, and they are treated as equal to teachers at least on the surface and the students have plenty of dealings with them. Its not like in America where they were pretty much locked in an office with a counter or a window between you and them at all times and the students pretty much only saw them to pay for lunch tickets or get their semester schedule and that was it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This is a great topic to shine a light on the fundamental differences between an egocentric, individualistic Western Culture and a group oriented Eastern culture, and the particular form of self-righteous indignation Westerners carry with them around the world when it comes to their 'rights', as they see them.

Where I am from (Australia), immigrants and foreigners are often criticised for being unable to 'fit in' to the Australian way of life, and that they must 'adopt our ways' if they are to be accepted. And yet, when the shoe is on the other foot, they kick and scream and bleat and gnash their teeth about 'discrimination', and 'the dark ages'.

The hypocrisy at play is truly a wonder to behold.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

This girl works in a school. What happens when her cute little girly ankle sock slips down and a child points to it and says 'nani kore?

@Fukuppy--What happens? The fabric of the universe is torn asunder, and we all die painfully.

No, wait. That isn't what happens at all. What happens is that she replies that its a tattoo she got because she thought it looked nice. And then life SHOULD go on. Then the girl goes home and asks about tattoos, and the parents calmly explain what they are, noting that they do not necessarily mean anything even if they don't especially like them. THEN life goes on again.

I don't care where stupidity rears its ugly head. Its intolerable. Getting so emotional about a bit of body art is EXTREMELY stupid. That said, I think people did the same over tattoos in the past in my country, believing they were only for bikers and low rung sailors. There were also some freak outs about men with long hair that strangely took place with a picture of a long haired Jesus in the background. People are nuts everywhere, but it does not make it any better.

P.S. Its confusing when you use the @ mark and name then quote someone. You should quote first, then use the @ mark and name. Or you could add "you said".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

This Japan, in which tattoos are so taboo, still has David Beckham down as a top idol. The vilification of concealed tattoos is a relatively new thing really only applicable to Osaka, introduced by the right-wing head-case tarento lawyer Mr. Hashimoto. Meanwhile the Yamaguchi Gumi crime syndicate has offices in Osaka, as well as in Kobe, completely unhindered. I hate tattoos. Personally I think they look disgusting. But Osaka and Hashimoto have their priorities wrong, probably because yakuza groups are big, powerful and have guns, and young Japanese females are an easy target. TIJ.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Where I am from (Australia), immigrants and foreigners are often criticised for being unable to 'fit in' to the Australian way of life, and that they must 'adopt our ways' if they are to be accepted.

This isn't about East vs West or Individual vs Group, this is about common sense, which there appears to be a serious lack of world-wide apparently.

There's plenty of egocentric, individualistic people in Japan anyway. Most people fit this category, and only use the group mentality when it suites them (ie, they want to escape repercussions for their failures). But don't get me wrong, it's the same in the "West" too. Individual when it suites you, group when it suites you.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The majority of people getting tattoos don't know the new unknown risks which is the short term and long term impact on the body from what could be in the ink. Scientists have actually discovered from samples of ink lead, titanium, cadium, mercury and other heavy metals some of which are classified as toxic in the United States by the Department of Labor. They have also found the presence of chromium, nickel, and cobalt in concentration above the safe allergic limit. In fact some tattoo ink are actually industrial grade colors suitable for printer ink or car paint. Now that's really scary.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Burakumin

Oh, I don't know ... some girls look pretty good with a comb-over and a beer-belly....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Children (studebts) know they are /seito, They call teachers sensei, kocho sensei for principal. Don't think Japanese children are too stupid that they don't know who are sensei. As for office workers, if they have to call, Oji-san and Oba-san. Politely, oji-sama. oba-sama but usually they don't have to address, unlike sensei.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Here we go in some cultures tatoos are a way of life so the little kid got scared because he saw a tatoo first i would ask at such an age why would he or she be exposed to such terror not from the person who has the tatoo but the education of thinking its bad? Ok I understand this is Japan and everybody has to look the same, think the same be robots but why cant someone be different sometime is it that scary. Please some one tell mexwhat happened when the first Japanese Male or Female showed up to work with their hair dyed? Was that person sent home too or docked in pay? Someone posted that a tatoo is something you dont have to have which i agree but is it any different from a birth mark or a mole which many japanese have on their face or arms? Just asking?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As already said, attacking a poor clerk with tattoos but leaving Yaks legal is just plain and simple cowardice!

I would live in Osaka, I would tattoo "I love Hashimoto" on my forearm - maybe with an obvious misspelling - and then see what happen!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Tats are low class, you may have the right to be trash but you're employer rules prevent you from displaying your ignorance while on duty.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Personally, I think that everybody who says it is a human right to have tattoos, is undermining the term 'human rights'. When thinking about human rights, I think about safety, security, privacy, equal possibilities to go to a judge for everyone (a big company should not have (right to be able to get) better lawyers - as is currently the case!), no corruption, environment protection (yes: the right for our children to have a clean earth!), free thoughts, etc. The basic things.

As if tattoos are a must. They most definitely are NOT! (Apart from the idea that I think that getting a tattoo is stupid anyway. And toxic. Which raises healthcare costs.) BTW... because of the overpopulation, it is totally impossible for everyone to really have all those things. The bigger the overpopulation, the more people without such things.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

"Don't you people understand? We like having our heads in the sand and keeping our mentality in tune with the Meiji Era."

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ok Fukuppy, so your company won't hire unless a tattoo can be covered. Is this while working or off the clock. I fail to see how a policy can be defended outside of school grounds.

Tatoos don't miraculously vanish between 8 and 5, Monday to Friday. You've got them in school whether you like that or not, and the Japanese don't like it. It is therefore a very stupid thing to do. Where does defending the policy off school grounds come into it?

Further you mentioned that an ALT can be removed on a completely separate pretext based a superior's knowledge of having a tattoo (That's the definition of discrimination in a nutshell).

Before employment, potential ALTs are told that the company will not be able to employ them if they have tattoos that are visible in the workplace. If they can be covered, then the company doesn't even need to know about them; if they can't they will be obvious at interview and the employee will not be hired. The same goes for long hair on male employees and earrings are an issue too. It makes sense. Certain standards are expected and if the ALT cannot meet them, the company is at fault.

Discrimination it may be, but that is Japan. I wouldn't hire someone with a facial tattoo, a nose-ring like a bull wears and those ridiculous stretched holes in their ears (or any one of these) in my home country. They give a bad impression. The same is true in Japan with the connotations tats bring.

And yes, an ALT can be removed on a whim with no recourse. Dispatch companies will do anything to keep the BOEs happy and keep contracts. Search out ALT stories online if you're interesred. It's quite an eye-opener!

@kringis In 2014, it's truly astounding that so many people feel others shouldn't have a right to do what they want with their body, and make snap judgements about a person's personality/ethics based on what they look like. It's no different to thinking a ginger person is evil or a person wearing glasses is intelligent. It's a shame so many bigots still exist in this day and age.

You do have the right to do what you want with your body. You do, however, have to accept that it might not be acceptable to your employer, who has the right not to employ people with tattoos. She knew the score and went ahead anyway. In this current economic climate, it was a stupid thing to do and she is lucky to have a job at the school!

Why can't foreigners get the fact that Japan is different. It's this sort of western arrogance that annoys the Japanese and makes them even more determined to do what they want on the high seas.

@Tamarama Where I am from (Australia), immigrants and foreigners are often criticised for being unable to 'fit in' to the Australian way of life, and that they must 'adopt our ways' if they are to be accepted. And yet, when the shoe is on the other foot, they kick and scream and bleat and gnash their teeth about 'discrimination', and 'the dark ages'.

The hypocrisy at play is truly a wonder to behold.

Spot on!

@Surar Bowl @Fukuppy--What happens? The fabric of the universe is torn asunder, and we all die painfully.

No, wait. That isn't what happens at all. What happens is that she replies that its a tattoo she got because she thought it looked nice. And then life SHOULD go on. Then the girl goes home and asks about tattoos, and the parents calmly explain what they are, noting that they do not necessarily mean anything even if they don't especially like them. THEN life goes on again.

In your western country if you have liberally-minded parents, then yes, this is most probably what goes on. Would those liberal parents be happy if their kid came home a few years later with a tatoo, I wonder? But that's another story. The fact you are missing is that this isn't your little hive of liberalism, and the parents would probably be very annoyed, anooyed enough to phone the school and complain because Japan is different.

I don't care where stupidity rears its ugly head. Its intolerable. Getting so emotional about a bit of body art is EXTREMELY stupid. That said, I think people did the same over tattoos in the past in my country, believing they were only for bikers and low rung sailors. There were also some freak outs about men with long hair that strangely took place with a picture of a long haired Jesus in the background. People are nuts everywhere, but it does not make it any better. T Yes, I agree, But we are talking about Japan now. I think tattoos look awful on anyone. They look dirty!

P.S. Its confusing when you use the @ mark and name then quote someone. You should quote first, then use the @ mark and name. Or you could add "you said".

I can't really help that, and yes it is confusing especially as we can't post twice in a row on this. I guess we'll just have to accept it as the norm here, like...er...the acceptability of tattoos depending on location and culture.

Just another thought - how did the school find out about the tattoos? They must have been visible somehow!

@kaimycahl Here we go in some cultures tatoos are a way of life so the little kid got scared because he saw a tatoo first i would ask at such an age why would he or she be exposed to such terror not from the person who has the tatoo but the education of thinking its bad? Ok I understand this is Japan and everybody has to look the same, think the same be robots but why cant someone be different sometime is it that scary. Please some one tell mexwhat happened when the first Japanese Male or Female showed up to work with their hair dyed? Was that person sent home too or docked in pay? Someone posted that a tatoo is something you dont have to have which i agree but is it any different from a birth mark or a mole which many japanese have on their face or arms? Just asking?

A birthmark isn't your choice; a tattoo usually is. Good point about the hair though. I think it depends on the school and level of strictness. I heard about complaints about a female teacher who dyed her hair at one school about 15 years ago. Now I do see a lot of dyed hair. Does it have the same connotations as a tattoo though? And is it easily remedied with a bit more dye? I also knew a pupil, a girl, whose hair was unusually brown, rather than the usual black. She constantly had to explain to teachers that it was her natural colour. My first question on meeting her, "Do you dye your hair?"

@Open Minded As already said, attacking a poor clerk with tattoos but leaving Yaks legal is just plain and simple cowardice!

Yaks don't work in school offices.

I would live in Osaka, I would tattoo "I love Hashimoto" on my forearm - maybe with an obvious misspelling - and then see what happen!

You'll have a job getting a position as an ALT then.

I think we should all just accept that Japan is Japan, and it has its own ways of doing things.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Ah-so: Posters have banged on about her right to privacy etc etc, but these "rights" are very much a Western notion. They were not engraved upon a metaphorical global ten commandments and even if you have them, the definition of "privacy" is open to interpretation.

They may not be international rights but Article 13 of the Japanese constitution has certainly been used as an enforcement of the right to privacy, as well as the clearly stated right to individuality.

Article 13: All of the people shall be respected as individuals. Their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme consideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs.

People banging on about how visibly acceptable tattoos are a western thing and people should move if they don't like it seem to be overlooking a major point here: the woman in question is Japanese. You may think that non-Japanese citizens don't have a right to attempt and change Japanese culture but how can you argue that Japanese don't have a right to do so?

Culture changes, traditions change and thank god for that! Slavery, denial of women and minorities the right to vote, divine right of royalty, foot binding, bullying and so on have all been defended as tradition and culture. Are tattoos on par with those traditions? No, probably not, but if the only argument you can come up with to defend something is that it's tradition then your argument is a pretty weak one - no matter how many times you post it.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Most of the comments here are from a western viewpoint, i read on and see that whole "freedom of expression""freedom of art, "individual rights type BS... I lived and studied in Japan for 2 years, and can say that Japanese society lives in an order, it's either you ARE japanese or you're NOT japanese, simple. As a foreigner, i feel like I've adapted much to the culture, I say "leave them be". You simply can't mix freedom and culture. Example, look at the middle east for comparison.

Societal view, in Asian countries tattoos have a bad connotation because it derived prison time. Criminals. Moreover, Japanese culture is a "collectivistic culture" (look it up in your sociology textbook" as opposed to the western "individualistic culture".

Psychological view; Humans are herd animals, we conform. As for the sayings that goes like "be yourself" "forget what others think" are arrogant quotes that people blindly follows. Of course, have dignity and integrity. Applying this to Japanese culture, a person with tattoos or anything irregular will be singled out, this is called the "black sheep phenomenon"

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Note to future posters and pop psychology experts: Read some of the comments already posted. We get it. This isn't the west, Japan is collectivist, tattoo equal Yakuza etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam. The woman with the tattoo IS JAPANESE!!! This is her culture and she has every right to try and change it. Change happens, even in traditional, collectivist Japan. Do you see the majority of men and women here wearing kimonos, dying their teeth black, wearing chonmage, not being allowed to travel outside of the country, being only allowed to write in hiragana (women)? No, you don't. Traditions change. It's as simple as that. Will tattoos become a more common, non-yakuza thing in Japan? I've no idea and part of me hopes not because I'm not a huge fan of tattoos. But then again, part of me hopes yes, simply because I'm not scared of change. It's going to happen whether you like it or not and fighting against it is pretty much like trying to block out a hurricane with your hand. That and the idea that tradition should be the sole argument for maintaining something is a shallow, empty argument used by fear mongers, those with nothing more intelligent to say and those wanting to maintain the status quo, usually because the status quo benefits them the most at the expense of others.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Stupid and very wrong!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

While the punishment seems harsh no one has a right to a tat. This case is just like most other cases, long hair, ear piercings, colored hair, type of dress...workplaces are not generally public parks and you don't have free expression rights at work without having to worry about the consequences of your speech. In this case speech would be the tats as opposed to actual verbal speech. Maybe we have some J-law experts who can chime in on this.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

notasap: While the punishment seems harsh no one has a right to a tat.

You certainly do have a right to have a tattoo since they are not illegal and having one infringes on no one else. Your workplace may also have the right to make you cover the tattoo or not hire you based on your having one but that would depend on employment laws and constitutional interpretations. Just because you may not be allowed to have a certain job if you have a tattoo doesn't mean you don't have the right to have one.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Skeeter27:

Stupid and very wrong!

What exactly? The girl or the rules? Please clarify for us.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Personally, I think that everybody who says it is a human right to have tattoos, is undermining the term 'human rights'.

@Nukumori--I bet your tune would be quite different if the year was 1970 (no laser tat removal at the time) and if it turned out she was Jewish and a death camp survivor with numbers tattooed on her forearm.

Chosen or not, removable or not, its just some friggen ink. If people are so sensitive to others having some ink on their skin or under their skin, there is going to be a whole bunch of other things they are going to be over-sensitive about. And that over-sensitivity will no doubt wind up in infringement of other rights as well.

Hey, is this not the same city where a postal employee was ordered to shave his moustache? Yep. It is. In fact, many did as a result of new rules in 2004, but one, Noboru Nakamura, refused.

We should all be very concerned when management starts checking over our bodies and even under our clothes for conformity or lack thereof. If people cannot deal with tattoos and moustaches, however are they going to deal with facial prosthetics, handicaps, deformities and different races?

Oh yeah. Japan already does seem to have some problems in those areas, don't they? Intolerance in some areas won't breed tolerance in other areas I promise you that.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This story needs a poll.

Looking at the dates listed above, she got at least one tattoo AFTER Hashimoto announced his no tattoo policy.

Pretty dumb if you ask me. Personal opinions on tattoos aside, absolutely no sympathy from me.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

jojotoday: Personal opinions on tattoos aside, absolutely no sympathy from me.

Well, I guess we can all be glad that no one asked for your sympathy when they decided to stand up to all kind of rules, regulations and laws that were cruel, stupid, unnecessary and or in violation of people's right.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@ambrosia I guess you must have tattoos. Hope you don't live in Japan. You might get discriminated against by this 'cruel' rule too.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

jojotoday: @ambrosia I guess you must have tattoos. Hope you don't live in Japan. You might get discriminated against by this 'cruel' rule too.

No, I neither have them nor like them. I don't have to like what people say but I respect their right to say it. I don't have to like what people worship but I respect their right to do so. That's the thing about rights, I don't necessarily have to like them to agree that people have a right to them. And yes, I live in Japan.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@ambrosia

First, can you start by defending puncturing your skin and sticking ink into it (the essence of a tattoo) as a legitimate "right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness"?

Also, do remember the condition that it "does not interfere with public welfare", which is generally interpreted to be the balance of rights between the individual and the collective. Which is why this rule does not protect against for example, you playing rock music in your own flat loudly enough to transmit to neighboring residences in the pursuit of your own "liberty and happiness".

Remember that in this particular case, the woman is a civil servant and a school worker, a model of society to the children (at least in theory). Can you truly defend encouraging kids to puncture their skin and put ink into it?

Some cultural changes, like the end of foot binding are good because we can clearly assess the advantages. But why does this practice of puncturing the skin and putting ink into it have to expand? Is there some intrinsic good to puncturing the skin and putting ink into it?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki: First, can you start by defending puncturing your skin and sticking ink into it (the essence of a tattoo) as a legitimate "right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness"?

Do you believe that people have the right to practice their religion (Article 20 of the Japanese constitution), which in many cases involves self-flaggelation, and if so, then how can you not defend the right for someone to get a tattoo if they so choose? She's doing it to herself, not forcing someone else to do it. Apparently unlike many other posters, I don't care much what other people get up to in terms of tattoos, piercings, sexual proclivities and weird religious practices in so far as they are consenting adults.

Which is why this rule does not protect against for example, you playing rock music in your own flat loudly enough to transmit to neighboring residences in the pursuit of your own "liberty and happiness".

First off, it's not a "rule". It's a right. Second, I'm not quite sure how you are comparing loud music to tattoos. One will keep you up at night. The other, well, what, you don't like the way it looks? So what? Walk down Takeshita Dori. I don't like the way 90% of the people there look but they don't bother me and even if they did, that's my problem, not theirs.

Remember that in this particular case, the woman is a civil servant and a school worker, a model of society to the children (at least in theory). Can you truly defend encouraging kids to puncture their skin and put ink into it?

Was she encouraging kids to get tattoos? Interesting, I hadn't read that bit in the story. She's a school clerk and most likely spends the better part of her working day behind a desk or counter where kids can't even see the tattoos on her ankle. As for the one on her arm, that's easily enough covered up by a shirt or make-up if it's really that much of an issue.

But why does this practice of puncturing the skin and putting ink into it have to expand? Is there some intrinsic good to puncturing the skin and putting ink into it?

It's less about encouraging the expansion of tattoos than it is the reduction of rights to individual expression. Whenever a society talks about taking away rights rather than expanding them, I think the people ought to be worried. No one has yet presented a valid argument as to why she should be fired other than that they don't like tattoos and tradition. I completely get that workplaces have particular rules about things such as piercings, tattoos, etc. but tell me how it's more logical to fire her for having a tattoo rather than simply telling her she can have them because it's her body but that they require her to keep them covered while at work.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It is a Japanese culture thing, only criminals and non conformists get tattoos. I know it is silly but people covered in tattoos make me nervous. I tend to avoid contact with them. Americans covered in tattoos come to Japan and demand to be accepted. Americans are guests in Japan as I am one in America. It is sad this woman got the tattoos but she knew it was against the rules of her employment. So she paid the price to continue to be a government employee.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

Osaka public employees are not allowed to get tattoos. She knew it and did it anyway.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

YuriOtani: It is a Japanese culture thing, only criminals and non conformists get tattoos.

Really??? I'm amazed no one's thought to bring that point up before. Well, I guess that's the end of the discussion and everybody had better get in line.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

kringis

This isn't about East vs West or Individual vs Group, this is about common sense, which there appears to be a serious lack of world-wide apparently.

Whether you realise it or not, you have just illustrated my point perfectly, by applying your Western Perspective filter to a Japanese cultural attitude, and judged it as being non-sensical.

ambrosia

Note to future posters and pop psychology experts: Read some of the comments already posted. We get it. This isn't the west, Japan is collectivist, tattoo equal Yakuza etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam. The woman with the tattoo IS JAPANESE!!! This is her culture and she has every right to try and change it.

And there it is again. The obsession with rights. My rights! My rights!

What about her responsibilities, ambrosia? Do they factor into your equation at all? Responsibilities to those around her? Her employers? Her work colleagues? The broader community? Or is it best for her just to say 'stuff you all, because I want tattoos regardless of what you all think, and that is the most important issue here'.

What interests me most in this discussion is not so much the Japanese attitude to tattoos, but the non-Japanese posters on the forum who jump up and down about: rights! rights! and try to impose their Western value system onto the situation and judge the Japanese as 'barbaric' or 'stone age' or 'backwards'. I think that says a whole lot more about us, than them.

Whilst I certainly don't see Japanese society as being perfect, I also see the pitfalls of a Western culture that is obsessed with our individuality and rights, and I certainly don't think we have any kind of moral high ground to take on this issue.

But that's us in the West, isn't it? We have an opinion on everything, and our opinion is more important than everyone else's. Just like our rights.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

in so far as they are consenting adults.

You just put your foot in it ambrosia. Right now, everyone at the school knows she has a tattoo, including the "non-adults".

Like you, I don't have any tattoos and firmly support a person's right to privacy on such an issue. Her skin is her own.

But my take on the students is they NEED exposure to things, NOT isolation. Isolation from the world during formative years is a serious problem in this country and at the root of this intolerance and others like it. And truth be told, but none of them consented to be put in this isolation chamber and brainwashed with silly ideas about things like tattoos.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Whether you realise it or not, you have just illustrated my point perfectly, by applying your Western Perspective filter to a Japanese cultural attitude, and judged it as being non-sensical.

Not really. And I don't get how you got that from what I said to be honest. Also, I'm not from a "Western" country, so I don't have a "Western Perspective filter."

What I have is a common sense filter, that has an opportunity to exist everywhere, and does exist in Japan. They just choose to ignore it out of arrogance, much like you are choosing to do so now. Which ironically, makes you the one with this "Western Perspective filter." You're using your freedom of choice/personality/thought to act Japanese (which is of course, in itself, an act).

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

tamarama: your Western Perspective filter to a Japanese cultural attitude.....

She's Japanese and the constitution I quoted is the Japanese constitution. Rights are not the sole privilege of Westerners even though it seems many would like them to be.

What about her responsibilities, ambrosia? Do they factor into your equation at all? Responsibilities to those around her? Her employers? Her work colleagues? The broader community? Or is it best for her just to say 'stuff you all, because I want tattoos regardless of what you all think, and that is the most important issue here'.

Hmmm... how to tackle this one. Let me see, as I said before, if it's really that big of an issue tell people to keep the tattoos covered up at work. I fail to see full stop how having tattoos is bothering anyone else and I especially fail to see how having tattoos that are not visible, except perhaps to upskirt-photo-snapping-coppers, is bothering anyone. So should she just say "stuff you all"? I guess my answer has to be yes. Unless someone can prove to me how a young woman having a tattoo of a dolphin, butterfly, whatever on her arm or ankle is going to bring about the downfall of Japanese civilization as we know it, then I'm sticking with her right, yes, I said it - her right - to have a tattoo and to be able keep her job.

Just out of curiosity, do all of you who seem so opposed to Japanese having rights get this worked up when they and by they, I mean Japanese, protested against the government's secrecy law or for the Law Concerning the Protection of Personal Information or for Ainu rights. Is the right to have tattoos the same? It's arguable. The point though is that the Japanese seem keen to practice their rights, yes, that word again, to free speech and individualism as well as to protect themselves from overt and unnecessary government intrusion into their lives. Why then do so many Westerners seem so keen on them not having those rights? Do you all really see Japanese as just one big lump of people with all of the same desires and aspirations?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Since when is defacing your skin a right? Think of it as a "dress code" for city employees. As for non Japanese, I view it as an insult they live in Japan and demand it be like "back home". American military are the worse as they do not respect Japanese laws and traditions. So if you have tattoos you can not go to hot springs, swimming pools and gyms. As for this teacher unless you work for the Osaka city government it is not your concern.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

There seems to be a certain amount of outrage here that this woman is being prevented from having a tattoo. She isn't. It is her right to have that tattoo, and to disfigure her body in any way she deems fit. Noone is denying her that right. In the same way, the establishment she works for has every right to refuse her employment, a position she must have known she would jeopardize if she got tattoos. It's all very simple really. She should have known better. And how did she get found out if the tattoos were covered up? Was she flaunting them like a new minature chihuahua for her handbag? All in all she seems very naive. Perhaps she might be better off working somewhere else after all.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Do you believe that people have the right to practice their religion (Article 20 of the Japanese constitution), which in many cases involves self-flaggelation, and if so, then how can you not defend the right for someone to get a tattoo if they so choose? She's doing it to herself, not forcing someone else to do it. Apparently unlike many other posters, I don't care much what other people get up to in terms of tattoos, piercings, sexual proclivities and weird religious practices in so far as they are consenting adults.

Personally, as an atheist, I don't place a particularly high importance on freedom of religion, and more on the importance of freedom of thought, especially rational thought (the two are not exactly equivalent, unfortunately, and in fact the former often winds up de facto detrimental to the latter).

I think that while most people might just tolerate self-flaggelation, I think many would wince if self-flaggelation was being pushed to kids as part of "religion".

First off, it's not a "rule". It's a right. Second, I'm not quite sure how you are comparing loud music to tattoos. One will keep you up at night. The other, well, what, you don't like the way it looks? So what? Walk down Takeshita Dori. I don't like the way 90% of the people there look but they don't bother me and even if they did, that's my problem, not theirs.

From the viewpoint of the government, the Constitution is a rule, a restriction on their powers. And my point is for the balance of individualist and collective rights, which is, you must admit, acknowledged in the Constitution.

One has to accept that our female is not some slummer working in some random job. She is a school worker. There are things that are acceptable in the former and not in the latter because the latter is a role model for the kids. The very nature of her job places restrictions on what she can do if she's to work to the fullest extent. If she can't live with that maybe she should have gotten another job.

Was she encouraging kids to get tattoos? Interesting, I hadn't read that bit in the story. She's a school clerk and most likely spends the better part of her working day behind a desk or counter where kids can't even see the tattoos on her ankle. As for the one on her arm, that's easily enough covered up by a shirt or make-up if it's really that much of an issue.

I think enough posters have already mentioned that the possibility of contact with the kids is significant.

One has to factor that though she's not a teacher or principal, she is still a school worker and a role model (at least she's supposed to be) for the students. The students are supposed to see her as a target for emulation.

Thus, the very fact she wears a tattoo and is permitted to already signals to the kids that it is a good (or least acceptable) idea to get them, just the same as if she wears a lot of makeup it sends signals.

And why should it not be acceptable? Now, let's get back to what tattoos really are. They are puncturing one's skin and putting ink into it. Why that should be something encouraged in kids is a mystery. Quite frankly, maximum pressures and guidance should be given to make them think it is an uncool idea they are better off not doing, just like smoking, using drugs ... etc, which are similarly harmful to the body.

You've mentioned foot-bindings before. Suppose instead of tattoos, she has a foot-binding that is placed where the kids may just see it. Further, she sees it as a positive thing. Should any kid see it and ask, one can imagine she would speak of it in positive terms. Thus, she increases the chances the kids might get foot-bindings, which surely you agree are harmful.

As for your idea that they should be allowed to cover it up, please review it from the viewpoint of the signals it sends. "Badness (and if a tattoo isn't bad, why do you have to cover it up?) is OK as long as you cover it up?" "Self mutilation (which is the essence of a tattoo) as long as you cover it up?" Uh ... are these really the messages we should be sending to the kids?

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

YuriOtani: Since when is defacing your skin a right? Think of it as a "dress code" for city employees.

Since when is it not a right? Do you have to obtain a license in order to get a tattoo? Go through some sort of paperwork or application process? Is it illegal to get a tattoo?

As for non Japanese, I view it as an insult they live in Japan and demand it be like "back home".

The woman in question is Japanese but as long as we're going to play that game, I view it as insulting that people seem to think Japanese are not worthy of the same rights as those most Westerners enjoy.

It's not just Westerners who disagree with this policy so these attempts by posters to subtly, and not so subtly, suggest that rights are only the concerns of Westerners or that Japanese act as a collective force, all agreeing with the same policies and regulations is what is really insulting.

Around 800 teachers and other education professionals have so far refused to respond to Hashimoto's survey, in the belief that it infringes on their right to privacy. A Kansai-based lawyers' group has also reportedly asked the city to cease the investigation, which it claims violates workers' human rights, Fuji TV reported.

American military are the worse as they do not respect Japanese laws and traditions.

And that's got to do with this story in what way exactly?

As for this teacher unless you work for the Osaka city government it is not your concern.

It's every citizen and resident's concern when the government starts telling people what they can and can't do with their bodies. Particularly as this is a government - aka tax-funded place of employment and not a private business, it is of particular concern and should be to you as well, regardless of your feelings about tattoos.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

"Defacing" one's skin is anyone's right. The idea that there is something wrong with it is stupid. Sure it had a bad image because the yakuza used to do it, but even they aren't doing it as much these days. And as more and more young people get tattoos, they will become more and more accepted in Japan, just as they are in other countries. Hashimoto's way of thinking is at the end of its time, and once the current generation of old boys are gone, so will be that line of thinking.

So if you have tattoos you can not go to hot springs, swimming pools and gyms.

I have tattoos and regularly go to the ward-run gyms - tattoos are allowed there. I also go to hot springs a few times a year and have never been turned away. There are also some pools that are tattoo friendly these days.

The times are changing.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

@ambrosia

Was she encouraging kids to get tattoos? Interesting, I hadn't read that bit in the story.

It is interesting, especially for pop-psychologists who know that children learn through imitation rather than what they are told to do. That's why parents have to be careful that what they do and say conveys the same message. For example, a child might be told bu his parents that it is wrong to tell lies. So far so good, right? But then, the child might be asked by a parent to say that he (the parent) is not at home when he is, but just doesn't want to speak to someone who is calling at the house, or whatever. The child has been told that lying is wrong but, and this is the important bit - he has been taught through his parent's actions that lying is OK. The child will most likely imitate what the parent does, rather than obey what the parent says. How many children of abusers become abusers themselves, even though they are told, verbally, that abuse is wrong? Too many! It all comes down to imitation so yes, one could argue that this school office worker is encouraging the kids to get tattoos by having them.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Fukuppy: It all comes down to imitation so yes, one could argue that this school office worker is encouraging the kids to get tattoos by having them.

So, two somewhat convoluted hypotheticals about parents influencing their children in order for you to finally declare that this school clerk is encouraging children to get tattoos by her having them. Wow! If only I could get my sweat pants to stretch as much after a Christmas meal as you just attempted to do with that post. If you've read anything that I've written on this topic you'll know by know that all that back bending wasn't necessary as I don't care whether or not those children grow up and become consenting adults who one day decide to get tattoos. I don't care if people have tattoos or not. What people choose to do with their own bodies has no real bearing on my life. My concerns at work are whether or not the people I'm working with can and do perform their jobs properly. My concerns at home are whether or not the people in my household are being as kind and loving to each other as possible. My concerns out and about are whether or not I can do what I need and want to do with as little disruption to me or those around me as possible. Whether or not the people in any of those situations has tattoos, visible or not, is not a whit of concern to me.

As for this woman, all her employer had to do was to pull her aside and tell her to keep the tattoos covered up. That would have been the simple and logical thing to do. In so far as she was doing her job properly and was a good employee I would have thought that they would have wanted to have kept her. She probably would have complied and this needn't have been an issue at all.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Look at it this way, Ambrosia. Suppose a kid does get tattooed, and when asked she says "But the school worker ..."

What people choose to do with their bodies may have no influence on your life ... but if they influence your kid's decisions, you may be a bit more inclined to care.

And remember, ultimately, you are not defending the right to speak up against the government or any other such noble thing, but the right to damage your own skin. While one may consider it the right of someone to smoke at the detriment of their own bodies, it'd be something else if the school does or tolerates anything that may encourage kids to pick up this habit.

Same here.

As for this woman, all her employer had to do was to pull her aside and tell her to keep the tattoos covered up.

What you are doing is telling any kid that finds out that It is OK to do wrong things as long as you cover it up. This is not a correct attitude to imply to kids in any way.

She may have been an OK employee. On the other hand, she's definitely defied the will of the organization, probably the general will of society itself. There are no doubt plenty of eager candidates that don't have this vice. Why keep her instead of trying out one of those candidates and giving Japan's new graduates just that much more hope of getting employed?

As for your optimistic assumption she'll even comply, remember that the new rules have apparently been laid down, then she got more tattoos. Compulsive disobedience, perhaps?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Look at it this way, Ambrosia. Suppose a kid does get tattooed, and when asked she says "But the school worker ..."

What people choose to do with their bodies may have no influence on your life ... but if they influence your kid's decisions, you may be a bit more inclined to care.

Some people may have the opinion that being a school worker is not a profession worthy of working towards. What if a child has a tattoo-less school worker they really like, maybe they will want to become a school worker in the future. The parents of that child may not be appreciative of this, because of their opinion that being a school worker is not a good job. Is it reasonable to tell that school worker to be not as nice to the children?

Some people are of the opinion that tattoos are no good. A child may see a school worker with a tattoo and decide they want one. The parents of that child may not be appreciative of this, because of their opinion that tattoos are no good. Is it reasonable to tell that school worker to not get tattoos?

My point here is that plenty of people have plenty of opinions on plenty of things. That doesn't mean that we should alter our school system to work for every opinion. How about the parents teach their kids about their opinions, and use their own influence with their children to have them grow up with the morals they like?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

kazuaki shimazaki: Look at it this way, Ambrosia. Suppose a kid does get tattooed, and when asked she says "But the school worker ..." What people choose to do with their bodies may have no influence on your life ... but if they influence your kid's decisions, you may be a bit more inclined to care.

Boy, I just really don't know how many ways to say that I don't care if people have tattoos or not in order to make myself understood. As for whether or not my kid chooses to get them as an adult, no, I don't care. That's their choice and I don't want to control what they do as adults. That's one of the major points to being an adult.

And remember, ultimately, you are not defending the right to speak up against the government or any other such noble thing....

I don't know. I think that defending the right to free expression and the right to privacy is a pretty noble thing. That's just me though.

but the right to damage your own skin. While one may consider it the right of someone to smoke at the detriment of their own bodies, it'd be something else if the school does or tolerates anything that may encourage kids to pick up this habit.

And so is sunbathing so what are you going to do, make that illegal so that kids don't get the wrong idea about doing something harmful to themselves? So is drinking, eating certain foods, not exercising, working too much, sleeping too little. Do you want to limit everything that's potentially harmful in order to not "encourage kids to pick up this habit"? As for tattoos damaging your skin you're the one saying that To people who love tattoos it is anything but damaging.

What you are doing is telling any kid that finds out that It is OK to do wrong things as long as you cover it up. This is not a correct attitude to imply to kids in any way.

First, I don't think tattoos are wrong. Second, what it tells a kid is pretty much that you can get a tattoo if you want but you may have to cover it up at work.

She may have been an OK employee.

Nice emphasis on the "ok" there. I like what you did even though there is no suggestion in the article that she couldn't perform her job properly.

As for your optimistic assumption she'll even comply, remember that the new rules have apparently been laid down, then she got more tattoos.

Yes, call me a crazy optimist but since the article says she's agreed to have them removed, a far more expensive, time consuming and painful process than just covering them up, I'll go with that.

Compulsive disobedience, perhaps?

Perhaps or perhaps they're small enough that she didn't think some uptight, cowardly horse's behid would make an anonymous call to report her for the horror of having a tattoo. Or maybe she figured that she was doing her job well, already had one and no one cared so she went ahead and got another one. See, two can play at the assumption game.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This is the story in Osaka City, Not story about other areas in Japan. Japanese culture expert comment writers all over,

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@ambrosia

So, two somewhat convoluted hypotheticals about parents influencing their children in order for you to finally declare that this school clerk is encouraging children to get tattoos by her having them. Wow! If only I could get my sweat pants to stretch as much after a Christmas meal as you just attempted to do with that post.

Why? Because it's a fact proven by psychologists and you don't like that because it undermines your erroneous opinions? I could simply state the facts or I could provide examples. I provided examples, whereas you have provided nothing but a personal rant.

Whether or not the people in any of those situations has tattoos, visible or not, is not a whit of concern to me.

So why are you posting so vehemently about it?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

@Strangerland

A big problem is that you seem to feel that the goodness or badness of tattooing is a subjective choice, when it simply is NOT. Unless you wish to explain how you can spin "puncturing skin countless times and putting ink into the holes" into something that's actually objectively positive. Even red wine supposedly extends life expectancy when used in extreme moderation. A drug at least causes bio-chemical reactions that make most feel good. Junk food may not be proportionally nutritious for its fat and sugar content, but at least it still has some nutrition in it. A tattoo doesn't even do that!

@Ambrosia

If you really say you see nothing wrong with your kid deciding to go get his/her skin punctured and filled with ink when there is no necessity, and worse, let's face it, in a society where people are less than thrilled about this practice (sensibly!), one must ask how much you like your kid.

The fact is that some paths are easier than others, and the life of something who gets his/her skin punctured and filled with ink is all else being even is harder (except maybe if they do go into the Yakuza). Even changing the place to America rather than Japan would only change the degree rather than the presence of such a disadvantage. Why you really want someone in your school pushing it to your kid (actively or passively-by-example) is inexplicable.

If your kid gives you advance warning of getting a tattoo, not throwing your entire relationship into the fire is one thing but if you don't at least try to stop him/her, for the above reasons you are not being a responsible parent.

Free expression: I'm sure we can all agree that expression should not be executed by damaging your body (for example, by turning yourself into a pyre). If we can agree to that, considering the nature of a tattoo, I can't see why you so insist on defending it.

Right to Privacy: A trickier one, but I'm sure you can agree there is a balance between privacy and the risks of privacy being exploited. Further, the story does not even necessarily mandate privacy being violated per se. She might have left them exposed deliberately or accidentally in a public area (in which case privacy does not apply), or even gloated about them (same).

And so is sunbathing so what are you going to do, make that illegal so that kids don't get the wrong idea about doing something harmful to themselves? So is drinking, eating certain foods, not exercising, working too much, sleeping too little. Do you want to limit everything that's potentially harmful in order to not "encourage kids to pick up this habit"? As for tattoos damaging your skin you're the one saying that To people who love tattoos it is anything but damaging.

You must really like tattoos to make such comparisons. Sunbathing at least generates Vitamin D, plus the visual effect is something you'll be proud to show your colleagues. Drinking (in moderation) is not particularly unhealthy and even if it is, at least has the defense that it is still the norm in contemporary polite society and thus a form of social etiquette.

Eating certain foods (by which you probably mean junk) may not be optimally nutritious, but at least it still provides some nutrients. Further, at least it usually tastes good (anything who disagrees will presumably not be eating junk). Not-exercising is non-action rather than an active action. Working excessively at least means in the short term more work gets done, sleeping too little at least hopefully means you got some work or better yet recreation out of it.

Even a cigarette at least can claim for the damage it does to your lungs it offers feel-good chemical reactions! To reach down to the lack of utility of a tattoo for the disadvantage you will have to reach down to acts like ingesting a mild poison, putting glowing hot irons to your skin and similar.

As for whether tattoos damage your skin? Please. Whether tattoos look good is subjective (I'll admit I don't see the allure). Whether puncturing your skin full of holes and putting ink into them can possibly be positive to your skin is objective. You might as well say To people who love cigarettes they do anything but damage their lungs!

Second, what it tells a kid is pretty much that you can get a tattoo if you want but you may have to cover it up at work.

What does this tell the kid? Tattoos are bad or in some sense unpresentable! Otherwise, why do you need to cover them up at all?

And now that tattoos are bad, but it is OK as long as you cover it up, what does that say about other bad or unpresentable things?

Nice emphasis on the "ok" there. I like what you did even though there is no suggestion in the article that she couldn't perform her job properly.

Let's be honest. Suppose she is a star employee, a truly unlosable asset for the school ... etc. Don't you think they'll try to find a way to keep her? Face it, Japan Inc has found ways to keep people that (it feels) are "good but only made a mistake" time and time again (usually much to the outrage of JapanToday readers). We will never know how good an employee she is, but assuming that the school graded her performance as about C (I'll grant the theoretical possibility she is better than the opinion of her bosses) before this incident would be a good initial bet.

The complainer may have broken a confidence (depending on the circumstances), but our dear women did break a rule - one can term it a principled stance.

As for your last point, it is true that some rules are never enforced and some rules eventually become effectively dead. But getting more tattoos just as they are laying down the new rules is something else. Kind of like it is one thing for a student to sleep in class, another for him to sleep on the day an external inspector is visiting...

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

A big problem is that you seem to feel that the goodness or badness of tattooing is a subjective choice, when it simply is NOT.

If that were true, then there wouldn't be a history of tattooing spanning centuries across multiple cultures, all across the world. Traditionally in cultures that practiced tatooing, tattoos were reserved for the wise men or chiefs of the tribe, and the amount/number of tattoos would often indicate status.

Unless you wish to explain how you can spin "puncturing skin countless times and putting ink into the holes" into something that's actually objectively positive.

For people who like tattoos, someone with nice tattoos is elevated in status, whether that matches your opinion or not.

Even red wine supposedly extends life expectancy when used in extreme moderation. A drug at least causes bio-chemical reactions that make most feel good. Junk food may not be proportionally nutritious for its fat and sugar content, but at least it still has some nutrition in it. A tattoo doesn't even do that!

But tattoos are appealing to the soul.

Everyone has the right to not like tattoos, same as everyone has the right to like them. Whether or not you think they are bad is subjective to your opinion.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If that were true, then there wouldn't be a history of tattooing spanning centuries across multiple cultures, all across the world. Traditionally in cultures that practiced tatooing, tattoos were reserved for the wise men or chiefs of the tribe, and the amount/number of tattoos would often indicate status.

That a certain practice may be popular has little relationship with whether it is objectively harmful or not. Think of footbindings (which would actually indicate a classy woman rather than a peasant who actually has to work and thus cannot afford to) as an example.

For people who like tattoos, someone with nice tattoos is elevated in status, whether that matches your opinion or not.

How is this supposed to deal with my point that regardless of subjective feelings, tattooing involves objective harm to the body and thus is not exactly a practice that should be encouraged? If you need a status symbol, get an epaulette or fake medal.

Whether or not you think they are bad is subjective to your opinion.

When their good is subjective and the more so when only a fraction of the modern population considers them good, and the bad is objective, I think we can reasonably conclude they are bad.

Regardless of ancient cultures, in modern 1st World cultures, tattoos are uncool. It may be true in America they are more accepted than they are in Japan. However, it would hard be considered the mark of a gentlemen. It may not be the mark of a mafia member, but it still suggests a punk. Schools should try to avoid making more punks. Or maybe they are part of a fringe culture or religion (again, tolerance is one thing but schools don't need to make more of these).

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

"There was an anonymous call to the school complaining about the tattoos, "

That call should have dealt with by saying "Do you have nothing better to do than complain about someone's tattoos?," then hanging up.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

That a certain practice may be popular has little relationship with whether it is objectively harmful or not.

That's not what you said though. What you said was:

A big problem is that you seem to feel that the goodness or badness of tattooing is a subjective choice, when it simply is NOT.

You were claiming that whether it's good or bad was not subjective. When I showed how it was, you switched to whether or not it's harmful. Which, as anyone who has a tattoo can tell you, it's not.

tattooing involves objective harm to the body and thus is not exactly a practice that should be encouraged?

Piercing one's ears, smoking, and getting fat are all harmful to the body. Humans do lots of things that are not good for their bodies. Maybe you would rather live in a nanny state, but what a boring world that would be. As for tattoos being 'objectively' bad for your body, that's a subjective opinion. Millions of people get tattoos, and almost none have any lasting issues after the tattoo has healed. So no, it's not 'objective'. Tattoos are not harmful to your body, anymore than falling off your bike and scraping your arm is. Would you discourage people from riding bikes?

When their good is subjective and the more so when only a fraction of the modern population considers them good, and the bad is objective, I think we can reasonably conclude they are bad.

I think you meant to say "when their bad is subjective, and more so when millions of the traditional and modern population considers them good, and the bad is subjective, I think we can reasonably conclude they are good".

Or maybe you didn't mean to say that, but that statement I just made is no more right or wrong than the one you made. And you know why? Because it's subjective.

in modern 1st World cultures, tattoos are uncool.

If that were true, millions of people wouldn't get them.

It may be true in America they are more accepted than they are in Japan.

It may be. What does America have to do with anything?

However, it would hard be considered the mark of a gentlemen.

And it would hardly not be considered the mark of a gentlemen.

It may not be the mark of a mafia member, but it still suggests a punk.

Only to you.

Schools should try to avoid making more punks.

I agree, but that has nothing to do with tattoos.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

The stake that sticks out gets hammered down.

This is why I left Japan. Done!

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The stake that sticks out gets hammered down.

Nice translation, most people mis-translate it as 'nail'.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Strangeland: Thanks for pointing it out. While in Tokyo I discussed this topic with my Japanese neighbor fluent in English - she lived for 8 years in NYC - and she corrected me about the "nail" translation. But at the end of the day, it does not change much… :-(

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@Kazuaki Shimazaki:

Unless you wish to explain how you can spin "puncturing skin countless times…

Then can you explain me the acupuncture tradition in Japan to be a good thing? I am lost!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

if you check musicians in Japan, you would see that big mayority of them dont have tatoos

No, many more than you think have some... but nobody cares if 2/3 showbiz peeps are related to yakuza groups. It's surely an issue for the artists, but not so much for the rest of society. It's more a problem for civil servants in a city where there has been tons and tons of public money grabbed by the gangs. That said, the "no tattoo rule" is a silly measure, only cosmetic. Any person identified as a current or former yakuza should be on a list of persons not eligible for public or legal employment. The problem is it's totally legal to be a yakuza. That's like being a fan of the Hanshin Tigers, you have that right. A yakuza godfather could become a school director at the condition he has no tattoos. The easiest way would be to write the law that Japan needs the most : a law making belonging to the yakuza a crime.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

kazuaki shimazaki: @Ambrosia If you really say you see nothing wrong with your kid deciding to go get his/her skin punctured and filled with ink when there is no necessity, and worse, let's face it, in a society where people are less than thrilled about this practice (sensibly!), one must ask how much you like your kid.

To be precise, I didn't say that I saw nothing wrong with it though truth be told, I don't. I said I didn't care in so far as they are adults. Being adults they are free to make their own choices regarding their bodies. Since you brought it up, I'd have to say it would be less of a worry to me if they chose to get a tattoo or two as opposed to eating too much junk food, drinking too much or even sunbathing too much, all of which will have long-term negative consequences that would far outweigh the possible aesthetically negative consequences of a tattoo. The bottom line is that I (sensibly!) love my children enough to trust them to make the right decisions for themselves and to deal with the consequences if they've made bad decisions. Again, it's called being an adult. Thanks so much for your concern over my child-rearing skills though. It's really sweet of you.

If your kid gives you advance warning of getting a tattoo, not throwing your entire relationship into the fire is one thing but if you don't at least try to stop him/her, for the above reasons you are not being a responsible parent.

Again, if my kid is an adult and possessing the mental capacity to allow them to make their own decisions, then that is exactly what I'll do - let them choose. I'm not sure how being a meddling nag who is untrusting of his or her child's ability to make an intelligently informed decision qualifies one as a more responsible parent.

Realistically someone who gets one or two discreet tattoos is unlikely to face many negative consequences as a result. Someone who gets many tattoos in very visible places has probably chosen a path in life that is different from the status quo and one in which they will find acceptance among their peers so either way, people tend to fall into the group of people with which they have the most in common, be they office workers or artists.

Your comparison of footbinding to tattoos is a bad one. Footbinding hobbled a woman and caused permanent damage to her feet, damage that went well beyond your perceived aesthetic damage caused by tattoos.

What does this tell the kid? Tattoos are bad or in some sense unpresentable! Otherwise, why do you need to cover them up at all?

Seriously, you're being a bit purposely obtuse and annoying here so let me try to state this more clearly. Telling the kid to cover the tattoo while at work does not tell the kid that I think the tattoos is wrong or bad. It simply tells the kid that not everyone is accepting of his or her right to get a tattoo and that, as unfortunate as it is, some narrow-minded people will make negative judgements based purely on the tattoos rather than on his or her work skills. The problem is with the person making the judgement and not with the tattoo but sometimes you have to make a simple compromise, such as wearing a long-sleeved shirt or makeup, in order to please the more prejudiced among us. Once outside of the office, feel free to flaunt your tattoos all you like.

Free expression: I'm sure we can all agree that expression should not be executed by damaging your body (for example, by turning yourself into a pyre). If we can agree to that, considering the nature of a tattoo, I can't see why you so insist on defending it.

If you're going to insist on making analogies, at least choose ones that make sense. Turning yourself into a pyre will likely kill you. Getting a tattoo will likely not kill you. And no, we cannot all agree that freedom of expression should preclude "damaging your body", as you insist on defining it. Again, whether I like the aesthetics of them or not, I leave it up to the individual as to whether or not they want to get tattoos or piercings. How in world can anyone justify anything to the contrary?

Let's be honest. Suppose she is a star employee, a truly unlosable asset for the school ... etc. Don't you think they'll try to find a way to keep her?

Well, according to the article, her pay was docked. She wasn't fired.

Regardless of ancient cultures, in modern 1st World cultures, tattoos are uncool.

Look, to the two of you, I get it. You don't like tattoos and don't think people with them should be working in the same building as kids. We'll have to agree to disagree on this whole matter and you can have the coveted last word because I've made my point clear and am pretty unlikely to change my mind on something as fundamental as allowing people the freedom to do as they choose with their bodies and not judging people based on their tattoos but on how they behave towards others. With that, good evening.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

As of June 2012-

"Tattoo bans are most often found in schools, summer camps, the military and corporate offices. But one city in Japan has taken it a step further, cracking down on tattoos found on any city employees.

Last month Toru Hashimoto, the recently elected mayor of Osaka, waged a tattoo crackdown on city employees, reports ABC News, surveying over 32,000 individuals on whether or not they have tattoos. 113 admitted to having tattoos, including ten schoolteachers.

The investigation was prompted, the Guardian writes, after a welfare worker "intimidated" children and co-workers with his own large tattoo. But the increasing strictness regarding visible ink has become a trend throughout Japan, where tattoos have been banned for both guests at certain gyms and water parks as well as for flight attendants on the country's two major airlines, JAL and ANA."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

lol, if having a tattoo is such a crime, why don't they just arrest them when they leave the tattoo parlor? Why are you allowed to have a tattoo as long as you don't work for the government? Seems they just didn't have the balls to tell one group of people to GTFO, so instead they enforce this rule on everyone.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Tamarama

I've got absolutely no issue with Japan upholding a strong stance on tattoos, and I'm glad that it doesn't succumb to this Western culturally imperialistic attitude, which is so common here on JT, that they are 'in the stone age', and abusing 'human rights' and other such nonsense.

Just because Gen Y has got all excited about their pretty tattoos all of a sudden doesn't mean squat in Japan.

This is a great topic to shine a light on the fundamental differences between an egocentric, individualistic Western Culture and a group oriented Eastern culture, and the particular form of self-righteous indignation Westerners carry with them around the world when it comes to their 'rights', as they see them.

Where I am from (Australia), immigrants and foreigners are often criticised for being unable to 'fit in' to the Australian way of life, and that they must 'adopt our ways' if they are to be accepted. And yet, when the shoe is on the other foot, they kick and scream and bleat and gnash their teeth about 'discrimination', and 'the dark ages'.

The hypocrisy at play is truly a wonder to behold.

What you write good sir is pure gold.

Have a tattoo by the way. To each their own. Am careful not to show it at the wrong places.

Regards the article, I wish people could tell the difference between policy for public officials in Osaka and all of Japan before they stereotype about stereotypes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"If you want a profession where you can look hip and cool and show your lemming ink to everyone, make my Long Macchiato's for me."

Tamarama I am curious what you do for a living. My best friend is a tattoo artist here in Japan. He makes ¥15,000 an hour. Far from serving YOU anything.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

"Hashimoto conducted a compulsory survey" - Fascism

Tattoos - Stupid

How is it Osakans tolerate Hashimoto? How is it anyone can deface their beautiful skin with ridiculous expensive ink?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

To all the people making sweeping generalizations about what other people do with their bodies, I urge you to look up Enson Inoue. Enson has many tattoos and this past summer he walked the entire country of Japan with two of his friends all the while raising money for tsunami victims. After completing the walk he personally delivered goods and donations to orphanages and displaced people in Tohoku.

You may have read that millions of dollars in aid came from all over the world and only a small percentage of that made it to the people that really needed it. Typical and completely expected from "respectable men in suits" Mr. Inoue personally saw to it that people would get goods that they desperately needed by making the deliveries himself. He made the holiday season a less grim one for many orphans.

What have you done? What gives you the right to judge others for a choice that they made by tattooing their bodies? You don't have to like it but seriously take a break from judging people you know nothing about and mind your own business.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

You don't have to like it but seriously take a break from judging people you know nothing about and mind your own business.

I agree with this. We should keep our noses out of the business of a country where we are visitors and let them punish transgressions the way they see fit, unjudged by us. Good point there!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I think there is a difference between tattoos that are visible and those that are hidden.

Banning visible tattoos is perfectly acceptable. The police in London, for instance, are not permitted to have visible tattoos. If you work for an organisation then you are their public face, and they have a right to say how they want you to appear. This is no different to a clothing policy, for instance.

Banning hidden tattoos is, on the other hand, going too far, as I don't see what possible affect these have on anyone else.

BTW, as a separate issue, I think that tattoos look ghastly on a woman. Girls - don't do it!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

ifd66: "There seems to be a basic infringement of human rights here, let alone privacy." This comment exhibits the "American" cultural influence to Japan. 1 out 5 Americans now has small and large tatto hidden or displayed in America. Those who are not Japanese don't know the significance of the bad image of the persons with tatto. A basic infringement of human rights! ?? Privacy!?? This person doesn't know what he/she is talking about. Don't just use the words you know. Human rights and privacy come with responsibility to the society first. When you talk about "human rights" and "privacy", you must also talk about respect to other's feelings.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Toru Hashimoto father was a yakuza who died when Hashimoto (then Hashishita) was about 8. After his fathers death, Hashimoto's mother changed (the reading of) the family name from "Hashishita" to "Hasimoto" because "Hashishita" is a Burakumin name. (There is a strong correlation between Burakumin and Yakuza). So we see that Hashimoto is both very personally associated to the Yakuza, and that escaping from that association has been a very strong part of his life and upbringing. In many ways succeeded in his escape by professionally by becoming a lawyer, media celebrity, and politician. On the other hand, in terms of his personality he has obviously not left his roots completely behind.

To say his anti-Yakuza stance and exaggerated dislike and attack on tatoos is merely based on "authoritarianism" is incorrect. His attack on tatoos is deeply connected with his own life story, and his relationship with his father, who probably (almost definitely) had tatoos.

Before you give me a thumbs down, I just think it is important to understand his background and where his popularity comes from, and the background behind his mentality regarding the tatoos ban.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I just think it is important to understand his background and where his popularity comes from, and the background behind his mentality regarding the tatoos ban.

So ban yakuza publicly displaying their tattoos, if he has that much of a beef with them. Why tar people who have nothing to do with the yakuza, with the same brush?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Lord forbid that this loony in Osaka should ever think that tattoos are art! Sick to death of tunnel vision thinking in this country. And those that think all tattoos represent Yakuza, are just as ignorant. There is no reason to tie tattoos to being involved with the yakuza in this day and age. I hope this woman has the sense to consider suing the city for infringement of her basic human rights.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I think as long as the tattoos aren't visible at work they should be allowed. In this particular case, this woman's tattoos were probably visible (ankles), so I agree with the dock in pay. It's like permanently and intentionally disregarding a uniform or dress-code policy at work. As far as what Hashimoto did in Osaka?... that's just plain stupidity.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

She SHOULD sue the Osaka government. Unfortunately the desire to not make trouble is deeply ingrained in Japanese

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sadly, here in France, this is quite the opposite policy... Youth are encouraged to do foolish things on their body. You can spot so much ugly, dark and foolish tattoos nowadays, when you have a walk along the beach. People seem so proud of showing to everyone else how low are their artistic standards.... poor france! At least, if people were wearing wonderful tattoos as the yakuza do, as African tribes do, as Religious Mexicans do... but no, they just ink a stupid thing they got in mind a minute ago and many of them regret it. Regarding the lady who got doked in Osaka... we should put things in context... And the context is the school! And in school, adults must be examplary as possible. Haters gonna hate :)

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The bottom line is she shouldn't have done it. End of. I think she should consider herself lucky not to have gotten the sack.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I bet if it were a student that had it no one could touch that kid.....kids rule in Osaka schools. Adults/teachers hmm not so much.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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