In Japan, having a tattoo isn’t great. Tattoos or Irezumi have many negative connotations for Japanese people.
In swimming pools and some gyms, people who have tattoos will be asked to cover them up with band-aids or a piece of clothing. In swimming pools, the staff would offer you a rash guard or long swim trunks. In gyms you would be offered long sleeved shirts or jumpers.
Tattoos are commonly associated to yakuza or gang members here in Japan and especially in places like Kanagawa. And when foreigners have tattoos people tend to be even more cautious and aware of their presence. I personally have never been taught or told that tattoos are bad. And many of my friends don’t think of tattoos in a bad light. Maybe its because some of our high school teachers have small tattoos or because some of the tv shows we used to watch had characters with tattoos. In Japanese detective television shows, criminals have tattoos and sometimes those tattoos are then the clue into discovering a new gang or the tattoo is used to uncover clues into past cases. Tattoos just never have been shown in a good or fair way in media here.
On television, if the person has a tattoo they will be asked to cover it somehow. With make up or clothes therefore you will not really come across tattoos on television. The only time you would see tattoos are in public.
In public many people stare at tattoos. They stare for a long time. I see this often in trains or in shopping malls. And I have seen children ask their parents what they are and the few parents Ive heard said they’re are little drawings bad people have on their body. Which isn’t the most fair description/impression to give to a child.
I personally have nothing against tattoos. I wont get one because I am too indecisive and it looks painful.
What do you think about tattoos? Do you think they should be covered up?