rugby world cup 2019

Samoa get tattoo tips as they bid to leave mark in Japan

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By ANDY BUCHANAN

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That includes advice from consultants about displaying tattoos -- which are an important part of Samoan culture but are shunned by many in Japan due to associations with the criminal underworld.

This is ridiculous. It’s clear to anyone with half a brain that huge Samoan rugby players with tattoos - in Japan during the well publicised Rugby World Cup - have nothing to do with the Japanese criminal underworld.

People from different cultures are different. Let them freely, and proudly, show off their own culture for the short time they are here.

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I don't know if 'shunned' is the right word for having tattoos as a foreigner in Japan. I've found people mostly accepting and inquisitive. Not interested for themselves for the most part, but just inquisitive as to mine. I have been denied entry to pools, gyms, and capsule hotels, so in that regards I've been shunned, but other than those places, I haven't felt shunned.

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 I have been denied entry to pools, gyms, and capsule hotels, so in that regards I've been shunned, but other than those places, I haven't felt shunned.

The only grief I've had, oddly enough, is a few disparaging comments from other gaijin. Most onsens don't have a problem and the one's that did, just asked me to put a plaster on them. Which I did.

It's pretty obvious that the Samoans and the majority of us with ink have no link to crime.

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It is inane. I have been told to put plaster over mine - if I was extensively tattooed, I am sure I would have been denied entrance. In fact, at the local public pool, I have to cover a simple tattoo and also use a bathing cap on my completely hairless head. There are countless other inane rules, which is why nobody in my family wants to use those pools anymore.

One of the negative things about a society where people follow all the rules is that they follow inane rules as well. The good with the bad.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If the folks doing the Cool Japan initiative weren't so clueless they would realize how cool and relate-able Japan's history of tattoos real is globally. Of all of the culture and fine art from Japan that has had an influence globally you might have to actually put tattooing at the top of that list right now. In terms of the American style, it you would be hard pressed to find someone more important than Sailor Jerry on the culture. Jerry straight up admitted that his style, in terms of the bright colours he used, was very much based on Japan which he picked up during his service years.

Tattoos ARE Japanese culture. I find it quite sad that it is something that the keepers of the culture find a need to hide rather than celebrate.

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Tattoos ARE Japanese culture. I find it quite sad that it is something that the keepers of the culture find a need to hide rather than celebrate.

Well, that's because it's not a positive part of Japanese culture. Traditionally, they used to tattoo a criminals crime on their forehead. Eventually, the criminals grouped together, and started tattooing themselves. Taking it back for themselves as it were. Then for hundreds of years, only criminals and the underworld had tattoos. For that matter, that is still somewhat true, though there are a lot of people these days with so-called 'fashion tattoos', but as a percentage of the population, these people are still a very small portion.

The Yakuza are also Japanese culture. Not all parts of culture are to be celebrated.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Well, that's because it's not a positive part of Japanese culture. Traditionally, they used to tattoo a criminals crime on their forehead. Eventually, the criminals grouped together, and started tattooing themselves. Taking it back for themselves as it were. Then for hundreds of years, only criminals and the underworld had tattoos. For that matter, that is still somewhat true, though there are a lot of people these days with so-called 'fashion tattoos', but as a percentage of the population, these people are still a very small portion.

Yes, you make some good points. I agree that not all parts of a culture are to be celebrated. But I disagree that it is not a positive part of Japanese culture. It is a negative part of Japanese history, sure. It is not still true. You are dreaming if you think the majority of people in this country with tattoos, even those born here, are criminals or members of the "underworld".

The ban simply continues and legitimizes the simplistic thinking that writing on your skin means you are dangerous or a criminal. That is all that it does. Celebrating how this unique approach to this art form here has contributed to the world in creative ways does not mean that you have to celebrate the bad actions of many people who took part it in when it was emerging. I mean, what cultural fruit could we ever celebrate if that was the attitude that we took generally? It simply isn't what it was and I think that is a good thing.

Expressing yourself without hurting others. I will always be a staunch supporter of that no matter where it occurs.

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I disagree that it is not a positive part of Japanese culture. It is a negative part of Japanese history, sure. It is not still true. You are dreaming if you think the majority of people in this country with tattoos, even those born here, are criminals or members of the "underworld".

I never claimed the majority are underworld. I have no idea what the breakdown is of those with yak tattoos and those with fashion tattoos is, as most people keep their tattoos covered up regardless of which. It could be heavily weighted in either direction for all I know.

But that's irrelevant. We are talking about society, and society is about perception and expectation. The image of tattoos amongst the Japanese is still quite negative, as they still carry a heavy nuance of the underworld to them.

That's current Japanese society. I'm not saying it's right, I'm just pointing out what it is.

Expressing yourself without hurting others. I will always be a staunch supporter of that no matter where it occurs.

Me too, and I both hope for and look forward to a day when my tattoos are a non-issue in Japan.

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Me too, and I both hope for and look forward to a day when my tattoos are a non-issue in Japan.

I'm happy to hear that but now I'm a bit confused as to what your actual point was. That many people in this society hold an outdated view of tattoos as being thing that only people in the criminal world have? That is why it would be considered a negative part of the culture wouldn't it? Something that is blatantly untrue in the 21st century.

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I have been to onsen and asked to cover the tiniest of tattoos and I've been to other resort onsen with multilingual signage against tattoos where full- bodied Yakuza were ignored as they bathed.

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