Why was it forbidden to have tattoos in Japan and what does it have to do with the Japanese Yakuza mafia?

For thousands of years, human beings have marked their bodies with images with which they seek to differentiate themselves, known as tattoos. Although they are increasingly accepted by society, there are some countries that are not. This was the case for Japana nation that prohibited its application and still does not allow it to be displayed in certain public spaces.

But, how did this current refusal of the Japanese community that involves the Yakuza mafia?

People display their tattoos at Japan’s traditional Sanja Matsuri festival. Photo: AFP

The mark of criminals

The tattoos on Japan They arose as a punishment for criminals, until they were eliminated at the end of the 17th century, because these people began to cover their marks with artistic figures.

For him XIX century the total prohibition of them was ordered, so those who sought to violate this law made irezumi engravings, which showed bright colors and images of myths and monsters. These covered the entire back and could take years to complete.

In Japan, criminals used to be tattooed on their faces. Photo: Japanpedia

One group that adopted this image was the Yakuza mafia, known for its participation in carrying out criminal activities in the field of political corruption, banking, drug trafficking, weapons or the sex industry, among others.

the prohibitions

To prevent people from managing to mark their body, the authorities only allowed these procedures to be done by licensed medical personnel; that is, the work of the skin artists was considered illegal.

However, in 2020, a resolution of the Supreme Court of Japan He agreed with a 32-year-old tattoo artist, who received a fine for serving three clients. In this way, he managed to change said provision.

Although it is easier to get a tattoo, it does not mean that it is more accepted. Some places, such as swimming pools, saunas, gyms, bars and even certain stores, do not allow entry to those who have them, unless they hide them.

This strange provision led to the creation of different implements to cover them, such as skin-colored patches, which are usually found in virtual stores with complete normality.