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Japan is the home country of tattoos, but it is also the only one where they are seen very badly: that’s why.

Some think it’s a legend, then they go to Japan and clash with raw reality: it is true, the tattoo is frowned upon andĀ that’s why.

In Japan, anyone with tattoos is considered a Yakuza affiliate

How many times have you heard this phrase? And how many times did not you believe it?

Well, actually it’s all true. Although the Land of the Rising Sun is the home of the rotary tattoo machine and has even given birth to a particular style of design – Irezumi – within its borders people with tattoos are ill-considered. The reasons are rooted hundreds of years ago. The tattoos, in fact, was used to identify the people who had been guilty of crimes: these were branded on the forehead with the word “dog” to be recognizable in the crowd.

Around 1300 AD, a Chinese novel called The BrigandsĀ (Suikoden) began to spread throughout the East. The story tells of a group of 108 invincible and ruthless brigands who declared war on anyone who oppressed the weakest. Since the protagonists of the book were tattooed, these drawings began to spread even among the Japanese population, and no longer only among the delinquents.

But it was then that the Yakuza – at the time a group of gamblers – began to tattoo the whole body. The tattoos were made mainly by members of criminal and illegal associations so that in 1900 the government decided to prohibit these designs on the body. The law was then withdrawn, but even today tattoos are seen very negatively by the population.

Despite the borders of Japan are much more open than in the past, even today people who have tattoos are considered members of the Yakuza or somehow linked to organized crime. Obviously this is only true for the Japanese: you do not think the same thing as a Westerner, they are perfectly aware that in other states things work differently.

Yet, to avoid any kind of problem, in most public baths (once used by Yakuza as a basis for discussing their business) it is forbidden to enter any person with tattoos.

Did you think this was just an urban legend? But no.

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