A month back, I wrote about how the city of Beppu in Oita Prefecture was attempting to battle a cultural bias against tattoos. Tattooing is generally associated with criminals in Japan (namely yakuza, Japan's organized crime syndicates), and many hot springs (onsen) forbid anyone with tattoos from entering. That presents a real problem for foreign tourists coming from countries where that attitude doesn't exist. To combat the impact on tourism, Oita Prefecture, known as the hot springs capital of Japan, is creating maps for tourists to guide them to the 100+ hot springs in the area where being inked is a-ok.
Why do such attitudes towards tattoos exist? How does the average Japanese person feel when they seem someone with tattoos? I sat down once again with English language and American lifestyle YouTuber Misaki about her attitudes around tattoos, how her attitudes have (and haven't!) changed since coming to the US, and whether hot springs owners who don't allow tattooed patrons are being honest about their reasons.
Misaki is a native of Kagoshima in Japan. She currently lives near Seattle, WA, where she works as a dental hygienist. Misaki maintains her own YouTube channel where she teaches English to Japanese speakers, and shares tips and tricks for getting by in America.
I'm the publisher of Unseen Japan. I hold an N1 Certification in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, and am married to a wonderful woman from Tokyo.
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