Japanese Tattoos: From Yakuza to Artisans, Aesthetes

Traditional Japanese bodysuit tattoos are startling to behold, enveloping the shoulders to the buttocks with designs that draw from nature, religion and folklore.

It’s rare to see them in the flesh, however, because of their associations with yakuza, organized-crime syndicates whose activities span drug trafficking to the sex industry. In Japan, tattoos are banned in gyms, golf courses, hot springs and spas. Last year, Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto launched a crackdown on tattooed government employees, asking them to confess to any inked body parts in a public survey.


The Body Art Dilemma — How Brides Are Dealing With Tattoos on the Wedding Party

The idea that tattoos are such an issue at weddings seems a bit crazy to me. I would think that choosing members of your bridal party should be more about your friendship than how they will look in your pictures. I couldn’t even imagine how awkward that conversation would be. “I would love for you to be my maid of honor, but I care more about my wedding photos than I do about you so you are going to have to spend hours with a makeup artist covering your tattoos.”

After years of having my tattoos and looking at them every day of my life, I couldn’t imagine seeing myself in current pictures without them. They are a very easy way to tell approximately when the photo was taken. Having them covered would really confuse anyone who knew me and make them think the pictures were taken years ago. Anyone who knows the person with the covered tattoos would immediately know something was missing. The act of explaining the absence of their tattoo in a photo would be far more awkward than having it in the photo to begin with. I just don’t see how you can explain it without sounding extremely shallow.