On Tuesday, a meeting was held by Japan’s House of Councilors Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense. Among the topics discussed: tattoos.
Japanese society has traditionally taken a dim view of tattoos, due to their long historical association with the yakuza, Japan’s organized crime syndicates. However, Liberal Democratic Party member Masahisa Sato, a former member of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces and one of the five directors of the committee, thinks the SDF could do with a softening of its stance against inked body art.
Currently, candidates looking to enlist in the SDF have their applications rejected if they have tattoos. Sato feels there are two problems with this policy. Japan’s low birth rate means that the country’s population is shrinking and aging, leaving a smaller and smaller pool of citizens who are within the feasible age range for active SDF service. Further cutting down that candidate pool by dismissing applicants out of hand for having tattoos is only making the situation more difficult, Sato asserts. “Rejecting applicants for having tattoos presents a problem in terms of bolstering our number of enlisted personnel.”
At the same time, Sato holds that there’s an increasing number of people in Japan who have tattoos but no connection to organized crime. “There are ‘fashion tattoos,’” he explained, differentiating them from the more elaborate, quasi-ceremonial designs favored by yakuza members with examples such as “a small tattoo of a flower or someone’s name.”
After considering these points, the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense announced that it will be formally reevaluating the no-tattoo policy for SDF applicants, with the possibility of removing it if it’s no longer deemed necessary.
Sato says that there are “many people” with fashion tattoos in Japan nowadays. Not everyone would agree with that specific descriptor, but they are more common among young people now than they were in previous generations. And while many hot springs and public baths in Japan still have blanket bans on entry for those with tattoos, a key difference is that SDF applicants undergo background checks anyway, which should be able to determine whether an applicant’s tattoo is a mark of criminal allegiance or merely personal aesthetic taste.
Source: Kyodo via Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko
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It would be either accept the tats or wait for the GPT powered Gundams.
I imagine the change will take some time coming.
Finally Japan realize that tatoo have nothing to do hindering someone to be professional soldiers, many soldiers, airman and seaman have tatoos during WW2, see who won WW2.
Easing tatoo policy is much easier then increasing salary especially in the case less recruit available.
I thought tattoos were required to become a Marine...
Tattoos in Japan have long been associated with organized crime syndicates. Basically if you have a tat then your criminal. and they don't wont criminals in the armed forces. hence the rules. They are of course outdated but Japan takes a long time to make any changes just in case something goes wrong they don't want to owe the responsibility for it so they procrastinate over something till it goes away and somebody else can deal with the issue.
How about colored hair first? But fun aside, obviously it’s showing the despair due to lesser childbirths, anyway, those more kind of unruly persons won’t follow military orders at the same level than people without any tattoos. So where’s exactly the merit, when you then have a few more members in the forces, but suddenly everyone does or denies everything like he or she likes?
Sad that the reason for the possible change is not because it is recognized as an invalid way to discriminate between applicants of value, instead it is just a "necessary" measure to get more people accepted.
Me thinks you know little about how much they get paid, and for what they do. Their average pay is higher than the average Japanese person. Just pot stirring right?
That’s an issue in 2023? It’s a 3 second decision.
Get rid of it.
Don't compare that to average Japanese person salary, since their job is not 9-5 job in comfortable office. Their current salary is high but it should be higher.Recently they missed 16,400 personal from their recruitment target.
2023 mind you and sakurasuki is right just look at who won WW2
Japan is preparing for war and so need more soldiers. Other restrictions to enlistment will also fall away.
Until pretty recently tattoos were not supposed to be visible below the sleeves of a short sleeved shirt like their "Charlies" (khaki short sleeve shirt, olive green trousers). The US Navy was the same way.
The most elaborate tattoos I have seen on sailors belonged to the crew of a Canadian Defense Force ship visiting San Diego. I was taken aback because their tattoos, some of which were kind of explicit, would have never passed muster in the US military.
Here in the US, tons of cops walk around with full sleeves. Soldiers have always had them.
Restrictions for cops regarding tattoos have fallen away over the years because they too have recruitment numbers to meet. And the result? Law enforcement in the USA now has a high percentage of cops that come from the criminal class, just like we saw soldiers recruited for the war in Iraq borderline mentally challenged.
Ego booster. Is it worth it if you cannot have free access to the onsen and water parks?
There are literally gangs within some police forces with their own gang tattoos.
If the US military had the same tattoo policy that would disqualify at least 80% of active duty men and women lol! Because in a war zone, I’m sure tattoos will play a decisive factor in who can perform their duties or not! It might do the SDF good to actively recruit former Yakuza youth. At least they would have street smarts and are accustomed to order and violence. Isn’t that why the US military actively recruits seniors at inner city high schools who have no better options than crime and gangs?
Who deemed it necessary, and why? Because only real criminals would ever stain their bodies with ink? Why not just imprison everyone with a tattoo?
So backwards, still ages behind as usual. The Time article outlines it well.
The blanket tattoo bans play into society fears in japan while also reveling in the misinformed. Like the article said, criminal organizations tattoos are extremely specific and easy to recognize. Treating a normal 20 year old as a criminal and denying them services or jobs because they got a generic “carpe diem “ or culturally insensitive tribal tattoo is completely absurd.
Also the idea that all yakuza have tattoos is something that especially caught on in the 60s when various yakuza themed movies began to get popular. Most of them don’t even do the tattoos anymore because it simply attracts too much attention. Hence why the groups and their businesses still exist. That sketchy real estate agent might wear a business suit to work everyday but it doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the boys
La vie douce
Really? That’s an issue in 2023? It’s a 3 second decision. Get rid of it.
It will require about another 3 years of discussion.
Facial tattooes are quite scary but apart from having 666 tattooed across your forehead, I cant see why anyone would be refused a place in the army.
Personally, I wouldn’t get a tattoo, but in the military tattoos are a part of the camaraderie. Looking at it in that way, they should have the freedom to choose.
Not "sad" at all. Long ingrained traditional customs in any country which has become biases can only be changed or eliminated when the objective benefits are examined and debated.
This is just a step to increase the pool of volunteers.
When that's not enough, mandatory conscription is next.
Japanese society has traditionally taken a dim view of tattoos, due to their long historical association with the yakuza
So, if a girl gets a tattoo of a butterfly on her butt she’s a yakuza member? Yakuza tatts are full body tatts. Japan really has to grow up.
Quite so! They actually have it better in many ways than the average salary man. Your comment about "comfort" is humorous. Oh and the "missed" personnel not "personal" goals from recruitment has little if anything due to pay, it's more about how the current government is looking to change the JSDF into full blown military.
Great to see the JSDF getting rid of discriminative practices.
Not to that extent, but in the context of Japan she'd be more likely to be at least mildly deviant. In a society where the tattoo is shunned, anyone that wears it is an increased risk.
Besides, we have to ask ourselves whether it's normal to want to pierce yourself with billions of tiny needles and fill the holes with ink. Personally, I treasure my bodily integrity.
Right, like how are you going to know in the first place? I think it's you who may be the deviant for wanting to check out all the females butts to check if they have tattoos!
You need to change the "besides we have to" to "I have to ask myself", This isnt a question for the collective, but one an individual has to decide for on their own.
Why put your nose into other people's business? You can treasure your body as you see fit, but you have ZERO right to tell me how to handle mine. Dont be so naive!
"I think it's you who may be the deviant for wanting to check out all the females butts to check if they have tattoos!"
If you cannot logically attack the message, then you must attack the messenger...
But when the message itself is attacking a woman/women as being deviant, or anyone for that matter, based upon a narrow minded and ignorant assumption, for having a tattoo, the message and messenger are wrong! Thus they open their opinion open to appropriate responses.
Kazuaki - hi again ( I got free time today)
"Besides, we have to ask ourselves whether it's normal to want to pierce yourself with billions of tiny needles and fill the holes with ink. Personally, I treasure my bodily integrity."
I often ask myself the same question about smokers for example. Is it normal to suck in billions of tiny particles - PM2.5 - and fill the alveoli of your lungs with tar.
Point being - what one considers deviant or causing self-harm does not necessarily match with others.
I have never employed a smoker in my business, because I have seen it as a sign of weakness and/or dependency as well as not healthy and a nuisance to others.
I have no such qualms re tattooed folks. I actually don't have any tattooed employees at the moment - that I know of - but do in fact sport 2 tattoos myself, one visible sometimes.
Private or unassuming tattoos are not on my radar as to whether a person is suitable for the task at hand.
Given the fact that tattoos are almost nonexistent within Japan’s recruiting pool, the measure is pointless, and the act of making it a matter of debate is a waste of time. The real problem is the declining birthrate, and that is what first needs to be addressed. But solving problems isn’t something politics is good at, problems are profitable, solutions are not.
Japanese love the minutiae…
Well, camel nose under the tent. Would be lovely to go to the pool or gym.
The intention here is quite obvious. Can't very well send kids fed on J-Pop and Akiba culture to the battle field. When the war comes, where will Japan find people with weapon training and combat skills?
What's the difference between mulling and eyeing?
I thought Mull was a Scottish island
The more tattoos someone has shows a direct correlation to their low IQ.
What ol' Jack Burton always says
Eyeing is looking
Mulling is thinking