Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Japan ink ?

Perhaps Japan's greatest tourist attractions are the many hot springs, especially open-air baths in the mountains, beautiful countryside, or overlooking the ocean.

Sadly, for many visitors the public baths & hot springs are forbidden. Not because the Japanese officially dislike foreigners, but because hot spring spas, public bathing facilities and even beaches are often off-limits to anyone tattooed.

This means U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy cannot try these delights (with a butterfly tattoo on her right arm). Japan can't use their onsen for international summit meetings, as Canada's new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his Haida raven tattoo will be excluded (along with British PM David Cameron's wife Samantha and her dolphin)

Many Olympic sports stars will disappointingly be shut-out from using hot springs if Japan is allowed to host the 2020 Olympics. (Hosting remains in doubt due to public opposition, lax construction, and atomic radiation hazards).

Some say tattoos are criminal symbols, but often criminals have no tattoo, while many non-criminals are inked. More to blame is Japan's forced homogeneity, prohibiting variation. Why else would supposedly populist Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto victimize all tattooed municipal employees? (link) Hashimoto sought to push such people from public sector work - perhaps over a tiny sea turtle. By condemning slight differences, Japanese authorities create both irrational fears and a non-innovative society raised solely to labor and die.