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Japan's top court sides with tattoo artist in test case

45 Comments
By Behrouz MEHRI

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45 Comments
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In my opinion it would be hard for a judge or the SC to agree with the prosecutors, as to do so would be to deny the long and rich culture and history surrounding tattooing here in Japan.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

The prosecutors do look petty for having taken such a stupid argument all the way to the top court.

25 ( +26 / -1 )

Shamefully silly for the prosecutors to actually pursue this to the Supreme Court.

All it would do is make international news that Japan was being ridiculous.

As a Japanese, I’d like to put out a report that their actions were “extremely regrettable”

21 ( +23 / -2 )

 in a case that revived debate about the country's uneasy relationship with body ink.

It's considered taboo with current period in Japan but Japan has long history with tattoo.

The upheld ruling noted tattooing is "a practice seen since ancient times as part of regional customs" in Japan.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japan has the most difficult time letting go of nonsense from the past.

It’s painfully obvious who are yak without seeing their tattoos. It’s also painfully obvious who isn’t a yak but tatted up. Use some common sense instead of relying on outdated traditions.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

This has been a long traditional culture embedded in many cultures throughout the world. In my case I choose not to tattoo as a matter of preference. If someone else wishes to express their culture via a tattoo it is their option but and I say but, keep it clean and customary not vulgar for the sake of the community and keep the surroundings respectable i.e. covered and not public display unless warranted.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Not a fan of tattoos at all, they never look good, but people should be free to do them and get them without restrictions.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

Congratulations to Taiki Masuda - it's been a long battle, but he persevered.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Can get HIV through poorly cleaned Tattooing equipment ?

Is there a separate license for operating a Tattoo parlor ?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Can get HIV through poorly cleaned Tattooing equipment ?

You could, in theory, get HIV from a pair of hairdressing scissors or manicure/pedicure equipment if they have been poorly cleaned.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

So 1,000 of years of a History of Tattoos needs the OK in 2020? Because its vaguely unlawful? For gods sakes get a life, oh that's right the prosecution want to control that.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

in a way it kind of makes sense.

if you run a bath house and you don't want yakuza there, it is much easier to say to someone sorry we don't allow people with tatoos than sorry, I think you are a yakuza member.

okay you may upset the odd random foriegner - no biggy, they make the locals uncomfortable anyway.

you may upset the .005% of the japanese who got a tatoo but aren't members of the Yakuza - you won't lose any sleep over it.

japan's quirks are annoying but not for them. The quirks are there for a reason and the quirks work pretty well. Don't go calling those quirks stupid, they are just different.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

The question was not whether the art was associated with yakuza. It was about the safety of the practice.

The writer or the editor of the article seems fixated on a different issue.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The prosecutors do look petty for having taken such a stupid argument all the way to the top court

Hey they have to keep up their 99% conviction rate somehow! It's not their money they are spending!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

It seems to me tattoo culture would be going on in underground shops. Tattoo artist is accused but not customer.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You could, in theory, get HIV from a pair of hairdressing scissors or manicure/pedicure equipment if they have been poorly cleaned.

Yeah. And you need a license to be a beautician. I am not sure what all that entails but I certainly would take a messed up tattoo more seriously than a messed up haircut. A medical license might be asking too much but should tattooists be free to run amok? That does not sound like such a great idea either.

they never look good

I think you have not seen micropigmentation that makes balding people look like they simply have a buzz cut.

Also there are lots of designs that look good though I was never a fan of word or picture tattoos.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

But its our money they garnish, such stupidity from people who went to the best universities in Japan, not panning out that intelligence and a title building give common sence. Who would have thought not Prosecuters obviously.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The question was not whether the art was associated with yakuza. It was about the safety of the practice.

Nothing about the "safety" either, it's ONLY about this guy not having a doctor's license, nothing more, nothing less.

Osaka tattooist Taiki Masuda was arrested for allegedly violating the Medical Practitioners' Act by tattooing people without a doctor's licence.

Odds are this guy pissed off the Osaka cops somehow and they wanted to get back at him, and used him as their guinea pig test case!

Masuda was fined 150,000 yen by an Osaka district court, but the ruling was overturned on appeal in 2018.

He initially lost the case, and I'll bet the cops and prosecutors never expected to lose on appeal, and maybe never expected him to file one either.

They dont take loosing lightly. If the SC ruled in the prosecutors favor, the prosecutors could openly go after ALL tattoo shops throughout the country, that dont have a "licensed" doctor performing their craft!

I will bet there are NO licensed doctors who are tattoo artists here either, (could be wrong) but I think it's a safe bet to assume their arent. The prosecutors were probably looking ahead to shutting them all down!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Hey they have to keep up their 99% conviction rate somehow! It's not their money they are spending!

That actually makes it all the more puzzling. This was obviously a risky case for the prosecutors to be pursuing with a decent chance that they would lose (relative to other cases). But in order to keep their 99% rate they usually avoid pushing cases they might lose. This feels like the pet project of some prosecutor who really hates tattoos.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I don't know how anyone can be scared of someone else who has a, say, Mickey Mouse tattoo on them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Doesn’t matter how many tattoos you have if you can’t take a punch from Mike Tyson without getting KOed then you’re a useless wimp in Army

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

The Supreme Court backed the earlier ruling that tattooing should not require a doctor's licence because it carries little risk of injury or health problems.

Not entirely true.

At one time, HCV was spread through tattoo needles.

It should not require a doctor's license, but requiring all artists and their equipment are up to date in all safety precautions would not be out of line.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"""Tattooing is not considered medical treatment nor an act linked to health care," the verdict upheld by the Supreme Court said.""

Amen.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

So, will the Osaka Prosecutors refund the trial costs back to the public funds?? I doubt it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

such stupidity from people who went to the best universities in Japan

Proving that university education is just as much about indoctrination as it is education...

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Which one of those guys is the patient?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"At one time, HCV was spread through tattoo needles." Full body ink is also supposed to be hard on the liver - not to mention the eyes...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The case is about another red-tape for rent-seeking medical establishment who wants to keep its exclusive interests. Perhaps, tattoo artists still need some professional training and qualification, but not medical certificate.

I don't care at all about presence of tattooed individuals in public places. Most are small and less fearfully visible, not yakuza-type full-fledged covering major parts of the body. It's unreasonable and simply wrong to deny them entry into public baths or swimming pools. Notice that present-day yakuza members are not necessarily tattooed. It's no longer a reliable marker to judge.

Meanwhile, fashion tattooing is not attribute. People are not born tattooed, and it's rather personal choice and preference. That's how it differs from other stereotypes and discriminations relating to race/ethnicity, gender, handicapped or sexual orientations.

Those who are seeking one in their body should be aware of possible risks: inevitable health hazard and social stigmatization. And note that Japan is not the only society having tendency to link it to certain negative connotations.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Proving that university education is just as much about indoctrination as it is education...

Not sure which university indoctrinates students against tattoos, I'd say that is more a general social thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good, victory for Japan Tattoo comunity, open mind is great !!.

Tissues for the crybbs antitattoo lsrs !!..

LOOOOOL !!!..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is epic! A Japanese judge doing the right thing to do. Not what the prosecutor says.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In my opinion it would be hard for a judge or the SC to agree with the prosecutors, as to do so would be to deny the long and rich culture and history surrounding tattooing here in Japan.

Utter nonsense. Did you even read what the case was about? It was about the need for tattoo artists to be licensed as doctors. Nothing at all to do with denying the long history of tattooing in Japan. Geezus.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In the UK tattoo parlours need to be certified and regulated, the regulations come in a form of hygiene, cleaning of the equipment, advising the person how to look after the new tat, etc etc, but non of them need to be qualified as a doctor, that is to much. Does Japan set the standard so high that it puts tat artists off from setting up?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm more offended by seeing a picture of men in "traditional" t-backs, than any tattoos. Have some dignity, men. That horrible image cant be unseen...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Nothing about the "safety" either, it's ONLY about this guy not having a doctor's license, nothing more, nothing less.

The arrest was not about the safety, I agree. But the Supreme Court decided that the art should be safe, and no medical license be required.

So it has come down to the safety of the practice at the end.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Wow there are actually people who think that tattooing is a medical act?

They should have asked doctors first.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The arrest was not about the safety, I agree. But the Supreme Court decided that the art should be safe, and no medical license be required. So it has come down to the safety of the practice at the end.

Safety is one thing, and a medical license another. The two are not connected. The SC stated NOTHING about it being "safe", dont know what article you are reading here, but it sure the heck isnt the one at the top of the page.

You also make no sense here, first you say you agree that it's not about the safety, then you say it's about safety in the end.

There is NOTHING in the article that even discusses anything about safety,

The Supreme Court backed the earlier ruling that tattooing should not require a doctor's license because it carries little risk of injury or health problems.

"Tattooing is not considered medical treatment nor an act linked to health care," the verdict upheld by the Supreme Court said.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The arrest was not about the safety, I agree. But the Supreme Court decided that the art should be safe, and no medical license be required. So it has come down to the safety of the practice at the end.

One other thing, no one was arrested here either, he was fined, and one more thing, if it WAS about safety as you think here, the court would have sided with the prosecutors.

I suggest reading the article

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am curious to know what motivated the prosecutors to go to this lengths on a case that I would have thought is unwinnable. To expect a Tattoo artist to get medical licence is unbelievable. If he did, he might as well become a doctor and get a lot more money that from tattooing people. And the cost of such endeavour is outside most peoples reach especially artists.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@DanSmith

You getting down voted so much shows most people don't want to understand the local customs, they'd rather change it to what they deem acceptable. They're trying to cherry pick their way through life

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Fighto!

I'm more offended by seeing a picture of men in "traditional" t-backs, than any tattoos. Have some dignity, men. That horrible image cant be unseen...

100% agree.

It’s quite disgusting. Wish the image was cropped better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having a needle introduce foreign toxic substances into the body is not a healthy action full stop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why on earth would anyone be offended by this photo? This is just a rear view of healthy bodies decorated with tattoo art. What is the problem - the art or the flesh? If you object to either one, you're on the wrong planet.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You getting down voted so much shows most people don't want to understand the local customs, they'd rather change it to what they deem acceptable. They're trying to cherry pick their way through life

Really? Hmmm, used to be customary for people to slit their belly open when they failed. For some strange reason that "custom" went out of style too. Or would you rather see Abe slit his guts open in front of the Diet building?

Voting up or down shouldn't matter to anyone here. If all you are looking for is people to agree with you then you've come to the wrong place! Up or down, at least people READ what was written!

Oh my point is, some "customs" should change and get "updated" with the times.

You lump everyone together, who has a tattoo, as being Yakuza, that is just plain ignorance, and the shop owners are just being lazy.

Yakuza are not what they used to be in Japan after the police cracked down on them well over a decade ago, times have changed, and the ignorant customs should as well!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Engraving tattoos has a long history in Japan, but unfortunately it was prohibited by law in 1889 by the Meiji Government, saying they represented Japan's barbarism and bakwardness to the Western eyes. In mainland Japan, tattoos were administered on the body as an art form, regardless of sexes.

In old Okinawa, they were done on the back of hands, including fingers, of young women soon to get married.

This custom, of course, disappeared with the implementation of the tattoo prevention law of 1889 that affected Okinawa concurrently as well. Tattoo artists in mainland Japan had to go underground after 1889 to continue practicing their profession by closely associating themselves with organized crime. Some, I've found recently, went abroad to propagate their skills.

In Japan, today, tattoos on the body are strongly associated with the underground world and so are hated and shunted by the public at large.

This will certainly change, for chances are increasing for Japan's general public to see foreign tourists or sportsmen expose the large part of their body tattooed like colorful under shirts. So tattoos are homecoming to Japan for sure

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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