KYOTO TIPS

Why “KEEP OUT TATTOO”??

2017.6.9

“KEEP OUT TATTOO!!”  or “NO TATTOO!!”

Have you ever seen or heard these phrases?
In Japan, these phrases have been inevitably used since long ago especially at Sento (Public bath) or Onsen (Hot spring)

Tattoo is popular as a fashion overseas, and some Japanese young people have a fashionable tattoo.

However, a notice of  “keep out tattoo” still exists at some public places like Onsen today. Therefore, there are not a few cases that tourists from overseas are rejected admittance to these places .

If you have a tattoo, you will probably be rejected admittance to some public places in Japan.  

 

Mainly public places that put up “KEEP OUT TATTOO”  are as below.
・Onsen (hot spring)
・Sento (public bath)
・Beach
・Pool
・Sports gym
・Tokyo Disney Resort

In the first place, why is tattoo rejected at public places in Japan?

In the past, Irezumi (Kind of tattoo in Japan) is one of the penalties. Criminals were tattooed as penelty in the Edo period (1603~1868).

In 1872, that penalty was abolished, and Irezumi had been illegal until 1948. Because of he historical background,  people in Japan  have a negative image for Irezumi and tatoo.

After 1872, although tattoo was prohibited, Yakuza (members of transnational organized crime syndicates) or Boryokudan (violent groups) have had Irezumi in order to demonstrate loyalty to their group.

That is why Irezumi or tattoo established as a symbol of Yakuzaor Boryokudan.

At a time when there were many people who didn’t have a private bath, if a person who had a Irezumi or tatoo come into a public bath, people around that person felt fear.

That is the reason why public places regulate the entrance of a person who has a tattoo.

Public places decided against accepting a tattoo even if it is small. Because it is difficult to distinguish for them whether the person who has tattoo is Yakuza or not.

Recently, more and more public places are not rejecting on the grounds that a visitor has a tattoo.
Also, creams or seals in order to hide a tattoo are sold today.

The restriction of tattoo is surely changing with the current of the times.

Although you might not be able to understand the thought about a tattoo in Japan, it is true that some Japanese still feel fear about a tattoo. 

Please don’t say “This restriction is foolish! “. We are very happy if you consider their feelings.

Let’s enjoy taking a bath or outdoor activities without distinguishing between Japanese and other countries!!