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Friday, May 25, 2012

Osaka Government Survey Finds 110 City Workers With Tattoos

When you look at the headline, the response of people not living in Japan is BFD (big effin' deal).

But, unfortunately, discovering that 110 of the City of Osaka's employees have tattoos is a cause for alarm for anyone who believes in social freedoms. 

Check out this story I wrote a couple of weeks ago HERE about the mayor's plan to send out a survey requesting its 34,000 employees (not including teachers) if they had tattoos and to indicate on the front and backside of a drawing of a human body just where such markings are located. 

Well... despite no legal obligation to do so, the employees, like good little sheep, filled out the surveys. 

Apparently the Japanese do not mind hiding a lie, but will not actually lie. Some 73 members of the Osaka Environment Bureau, 15 from the Transportation Bureau and seven (7) from the Public Works Bureau, all admitted in the survey (with their names on it) that they did indeed possess ink. 

What are those bureaus? Essentially it means that a lot of people involved in sanitation or subway operations have tattoos.

Why does the government of Osaka want to know? Well, thanks to the honesty, it is going to set up some rules for the workers, specifically the tattooed ones where employees are not allowed to expose their tattoos during work hours.

The City has unofficially said it will consider relocating tattooed workers. By this, Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife assumes they mean employees who deal more often with the public will no longer be allowed to deal with the public. 

What's the big deal about having a tattoo? While I do not have one and don't see the need to permanently mark myself up artistically - what would I put on myself, my brother does have a few (but don't tell our dad!), an uncle, too, my wife and brother-in-law have one, more than a few lovers, one-night stands et al of mine have them, co-workers have them - and good for them. Love and do as you will. It's not for me, but I can certainly appreciate a good quality piece of art - especially when it means something to the person. 


But in Japan - having a tattoo meant you were in the Yakuza. A gentleman's business club, if you will. Screw the fact that it is now 2012 and tattoos are a form of self-expression and art (and always have been). Young people not even remotely connected to the Yakuza have tattoos.

The problem isn't so much that the government of Osaka is afraid of the tattoos... it's that its constituents might be. 

To remove the possibility that the average non-tattooed citizen might think the city is overrun by the Yakuza, the city of Osaka  - and its mayor especially - have overreacted.   

Sad but true. 


This Hello Kitty tattoo is frightening, isn't it? Not.
Files by Andrew Joseph

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