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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Osaka Wants To Know If Employees Have Tattoos

Is this an invasion of privacy or a paranoid city trying to protect itself from the yakuza crime syndicate?

Osaka, the second-largest city in Japan, has begun asking its city employees if they have tattoos and, if they do to state where the ink is located on the body.

The Osaka Municipal Government has as of May 1, 2012 begun the process of questioning its 38,000 city employees.

The situation arose in February after a city employee supposedly showed, or accidentally revealed some of his tattoos to children at a so-called welfare site.
That was in February? It's May now! At least it wasn't a knee-jerk reaction. That's still sarcasm!

Apparently, unlike other cultures where tattoos are considered either an art form, a part of the social culture (like the Maori) or a cry for psychological  help, in Japan a tattoo is often the brand of the yakuza. Or at least that's what it once was.

The actual Osaka Tattoo survey.
Nowadays, even Japanese people who aren't in the yakuza are getting tattoos (probably to appear as tough as a yakuza member - though sometimes it is actually just about the art of self-expression).

But, that is not stopping the hard-ass Osaka City mayor Hashimoto Toru (surname first) who on May 1, 2012 sent out a memo to the city employees instructing that "it is inappropriate to work in outfits that will expose your tattoos".

Included with the memo was a survey instructing employees who have tattoos to indicate on the provided form where the tats are located, how big they are (the tattoos) and to provide their names - and to hand it in by May 10, 2012.

Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife is unsure if the mayor also wants to know one's blood type or favorite Pokemon. Evil bastards! Not the Pokemon, of course. I have always been an old-school Hitmonlee fan.

Holy crap! Give the government your name so that they can keep its eye on you? How Orwellian.

The instructions provided by the City of Osaka include two line drawn human figures showing the front and the back so that offending sub-human yakuza wanna-be can show where the tattoos are situated: toes, fingers, ankles (ladies with the ever sexy and stupid Butterfree, I mean butterfly), arms (with fancy English words that are misspelled), neck (good god, are you really in the yakuza?) or back (how is this artwork really for?).

I would still sleep with her.
I personally do not have a tattoo anywhere on my body, as I'm a hairy bastich. I suppose I could have a bear tattooed on  and my hair could make it look like it's hairy, but really, aside from being fuzzy wuzzy, I have no real interest in bears - certainly not enough to ink my body.

I do find tattoos interesting, however. Two buddies of mine have enough ink on them to have been in a motorcycle club (and in fact are former members). The women I know with tattoos tell me they have no idea why they have them - that they were young, foolish, high or a combination of those excuses.

It's okay, I don't think tattoos are ugly, but I do they think they are stupid if you are inking yourself without a good reason. My wife has a smiley face on her shoulder. She never sees it. I do, every once in a while (you know what I mean). But she said she did it because her younger brother got one... so she got the exact same one. That's just stupid. It should have meaning.

I don't hate tattoos. I have slept with many women who have tattoos, and hope to do so again. All of the women are regular women and are not involved in criminal activity. Most of them, anyways. And my friends? Most of my friends do not have tattoos, but then again, how the hell would I know? They do cover them up when they are at work.    

Back to paranoid Osaka. 

Fill out a form? Where do I start?
“There won’t be any legal problem (with the survey),” said an official with the city’s personnel affairs section, adding that the results will be considered during personnel allocation.

No legal problem? What sort of country is this? What's next?

"Hi Mayuki... we're just doing a survey on women's panties... fill this out and have it on my desk by tomorrow morning."

"Hello, fellow work employee for nameless company. To ensure proper moral conduct is observed, we will be monitoring your movements. Please attach the transmitter to your ankle. We will know if you do not. Failure to follow company rules will be met with a stiff shouting meeting followed by public ridicule with your fellow nameless drones and then possible shinning and later exile from the company, exile from your company apartment, and banishment from the city and country. Failure to hand in your Japanese registration card will be met with death. Thank you for your voluntary cooperation. The office party will be held on Friday. Please submit 4000 yen and a sample of your blood - not for DNA purposes... the company president is just a bit of a blood-sucking vampire.:

Okay... that was a bit over the top. Maybe. But still, there are a few questions people need to start asking: Questions to ask:
  • Can one lose their job in Osaka because they have a tattoo?
  • Can someone NOT be hired for a job because they have a tattoo?
  • How do they check to see if an employee is lying about having a tattoo?
  • Once the government knows you have a tattoo, will they want to get photos of your body to ensure you do not further sully yourself? 
There are many other questions, to be sure - but this is what popped into my head these past 15 seconds. 

This whole tattoo survey is all very stupid, and a complete waste of time and money that the government could be wasting on so many other pertinent social topics, like who is using Facebook on company property, but after hours? Do you drink? Could you be an alcoholic? Tell us where you drink, what you drink, how much you drink and who you are drinking with. How do you afford to drink? We are obviously paying you too much money.

Look... I understand that the average citizen's view of tattoos borders on yakuza-paranoia. But rather than send out a questionnaire for the employees to fill out and to invade their privacy, why not just ask the employees to ensure that their tattoos are properly covered up during work hours?

Don't start a bloody Spanish Inquisition!

By the way... the top-most photo? There is nothing scary about those tattoos. What is scary is their choice of classical underwear!

Files by Andrew Joseph


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