Removing gang stigma from Japan's tattoo culture

posted on September 15, 2016

Tattoos have long been linked to organised crime in Japan with intricate imagery typically inked across the entire bodies of Yakuza gang members.

While tattoos are banned on beaches and in public baths in Japan, the country's leading tattooer has seen the body art gradually lose the crime label so often attached to it.

In a tiny, cluttered room in Yokohama, Horiyoshi the Third has been perfecting his brand of irezumi - Japanese full body tattoos - for five decades.

He wants the controversial art form to be viewed as an integral part of Japanese culture.

"We have to appreciate irezumi as a cultural tradition in Japan," Horiyoshi told Al Jazeera. "We have to pass it on."

From face markings of the indigenous Ainu to the detailed inkings that intrigued 19th century western visitors, Horiyoshi displays artefacts showing the history of the Japanese tattoo in his nearby museum.




source by aljazeera
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