For many years, traditional Japanese tattoos were associated with the yakuza, Japan's notorious mafia, and many businesses in Japan (such as public baths, fitness centers and hot springs) still ban customers with tattoos. Tattooing was legalized by the occupation forces in 1945, but has retained its image of criminality. Nevertheless, fascinated foreigners went to Japan seeking the skills of tattoo artists, and traditional tattooing continued underground. At the beginning of the Meiji period the Japanese government, wanting to protect its image and make a good impression on the West, outlawed tattoos, and irezumi took on connotations of criminality.
Labels: Modern Japan Tattoos