I am not going to say I am for or against them because personally I don't really care. But what I can't stand is the blatant racism towards people that have them. Recently in Japan, a man employed by the city of Osaka showed his tattoo to a child. What the tattoo was, they never said, but what entailed...After hearing of this story, the Osaka mayor demanded to know who on his force, employed by the government anywhere, in any position in Osaka, who had body ink. Now this already infringes upon the rights of people. And to take it a step further the Osaka city mayor, Toru Hashimoto, just said they may as well quit now. It is currently implied that he is looking fire anyone with a tattoo, but of course there is a certain legal battle. How will he get his workers to survey as to whether they have tattoos or not? He is holding promotion above their heads. He states that anyone who fails to answer the survey will be withheld from all promotion possibilities.
Toru Hashimoto is probably the most active politician in Japan and does do some decent things for Osaka, and then apparently some radical things: tattoos, ending relations with the red cross which provides much of the disaster relief to many victims, such as for Fukushima last March. And additionally he is an advocate of dismantling the Tokyo government. He feels it holds too much power and that to dismantle it and start afresh would be in its best interest as it can't but last another 3-5 year (quote).
So what is next?
They have now put forth a motion where any teachers in the employment of Osaka government will have to answer if they have tattoos or not. Remember this does not affect me or my job. I am tattoo free. But the blatant criminalization for freedom of expression is so overwhelming that one cannot help but to be infuriated with the closed-mindedness of the Osaka government. The movement for teacher is luckily facing a lot of opposition from the board for good reason and is in an unpassing stalemate currently.
Tattoos have long been a source of stereotypes and even fear in Japan, as they have long been related to the yakuza, the gang population in Japan. I can't tell you much about gang related tattoos other than that apparently they exist. The situation is probably highly similar to tattoos in the American gang scenarios. Regardless, the yakuza inspire fear in much of the Japan population. And seeing tattoos only increases the knowledge of the person, the affiliation and that fear. And the best way to see tattoos? Get naked. No really. As people began to take notice of these tattoos at public bath houses and onsens, their clientele began to express their worries and take their patronage elsewhere. Action was taken, a rarity for Japan. The public naked places put a ban on anyone entering with tattoos. This means regular Joe with a MOM tattoo can't go either. Why? Because they had to make it fair. They cannot just ban the yakuza that is illegal and infringing upon rights, so they had to make it everybody to be politically correct. At least they got that bit right.
So 6 people who admitted that they had tattoos on the survey were recently fired from their positions.