University graduates in Japan’s second city face getting their tattoos removed if they want to get a job in Osaka as the city’s authorities have introduced a ban on body art.
The ban has been imposed only on government employees. The city’s mayor, Toru Hashimoto, has even decreed that each candidate must be checked for tattoos, The Daily Mail reports. The measure comes as part of an attempt to prevent members of organized criminal gangs getting jobs with government bodies.
Getting a job in Japan is difficult enough to begin with and, now, with the global economic crisis and last year’s earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster, it is even harder for Japanese youth to find work.
The tattoo issue is yet another obstacle. Japan’s cosmetic surgeons have already reported a rising number of requests for permanent body art removal, The Times newspaper says.
Moreover, the procedure of removing tattoos is quite pricey. Depending on the size of the inked drawing, having it removed may cost a small fortune, with the procedure costing between $1300 and $2500.
“The number of inquiries for removal procedures has gone up from five or six a day to ten or even 30 a day,” a local surgeon told the newspaper.
In Japan tattoos have always been linked with Japanese gangsters known as the Yakuza, and are not common among ordinary people. According to The Economist, people with tattoos on their bodies are not allowed in public bathhouses and swimming pools. In addition, Japanese women find tattoos on men’s bodies unattractive.
The ban on tattoos has already sparked outrage among employees of government bodies. People say they felt humiliated when they were forced to have their bodies inspected for tattoos.
Tokyo is thought to be next in line for the ban to be introduced, as the capital’s mayor, Shintaro Ishihara, is a huge supporter of Osaka’s Toru Hashimoto.