Penelopy asked in TravelAsia PacificJapan · 5 months ago

Is it okay to have tattoos in Japan?

So tattoos are illegal in Japan but what if you're a foreigner who already has a tattoo and is going to live in Japan, are there restrictions on allowing that?

5 Answers

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  • 5 months ago

    It depends on the place. Traditionally, having a tattoo in Japan screams Japanese mafia or yakuza. Business owners don't want them coming around, but they can't make signs saying 'no yakuza' - it doesn't look good, and Japanese often communicate from behind a veil. Hence the ban. But to enforce the policy fairly, foreigners with a tattoo get caught up in it. During the 80's a similar thing was going on at some parking lots banning "foreign cars". The foreign cars back then were the titanic sized cadillacs driven by the yakuza. Again, it is indirect, though everybody understands exactly what they meant.

    These days there are some hot springs that allow people (foreigners) with a tattoo, but they are still more the exception than the rule. If you have a lot of them or are all over you, you could still be unwelcome at some stores, restaurants etc.

  • Gonzo
    Lv 5
    5 months ago

    Tattoos are trashy like the people who have them. So of course they will judge them accordingly.

  • 5 months ago

    I know someone with extensive tattoos on his back and arms who taught in Japan for 2 years. He had to wear a shirt with long sleeves to his job to cover the tattoos- the school did not want the students seeing the tattoos. I have also seen signs in hotels in Japan saying that no one with visible tattoos would be allowed to rent a room. So a lot depends on whether you can keep them covered. 

  • Bob
    Lv 5
    5 months ago

    Tattoos are not illegal in Japan but society as a whole frowns upon them and some businesses, such as hot springs and swimming pools especially, may not allow you to enter if you have tattoos.

    Overall, as a foreigner who’s coming to live in Japan, you won’t have any problems at all generally. That said, if you have a lot of very visible ink, you should expect some people to react negatively towards you and if you have facial tattoos, then people are likely to give you a wide berth.

    In a nutshell, don’t worry.

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  • 5 months ago

    i dont see why not

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