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Foreigner with Irezumi

Jerry501

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Hello,

I know that much has been written on the theme of tattoos, but I wonder how people in Japanese look at foreigners with Irezumi.
Is that worse than a simple tattoo or the same?
This tattoo method has always fascinated me and I really love it and I would like to have this tattoo done in a traditional way.
However, I'm planning a business trip to Japanese and I would know how I will.

Thanks

PS: (I plan to have only Gobu)
 

Mike Cash

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"Irezumi" doesn't mean "tattoo"?
 

Jerry501

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Sorry, my mistake. You are right, the correct terminology is important ( seriously, not sarkastically)

I meant tebori tattooing technique, with traditional Japanese motifs of tattoo.
Something like this:
14488223_202530760167909_487650195945816064_n.jpg
 

Mike Cash

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Doesn't "tebori" just mean done manually instead of electrically?
 

Jerry501

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Tebori (手彫り, literally to carve by hand): describes the technique of tattooing by hand.

But that not answer for my question.
Is worse if foreigner have traditional Japanese tattoo with traditional Japanese motifs, or it does not matter what type of tattoo you got?
 

Jerry501

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Irezumi (入れ墨, 入墨, 文身 (also pronounced bunshin), 剳青, 黥 or 刺青): tattoo (noun or verb)
 

Glenski

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Get a tattoo of a teddy bear or butterfly on your butt cheek or shoulder, or a sunrise above your butt crack, and I'll bet most Japanese won't freak out when they see you in the bath. Show up with something like what you pictured, and you should be prepared to be asked to leave. Just my opinion on what might happen.

Thanks for caring, especially if you already have such tattoos. It's your right to mark up your body all you want, but heads up here. Perhaps the best thing you can do to avoid being ostracized is ask for a private bath when you travel.
 

nice gaijin

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re-reading the original post, it seems like @Jerry501 is saying that he's interested in getting a tattoo like this, using the tebori technique, and that 1a) he's coming to Japan and is maybe looking to get a traditional tattoo while he's here, or 1b) he's planning to get one done before he comes to Japan. Either way, 2) he is asking whether that kind of tattoo will be looked down on more than other kinds.

If this is accurate, then 1a) there's even a wikihow article on getting tebori, and a general Tokyocheapo article on tattooing in Japan. Tebori will take a lot longer than conventional methods, and there probably won't be as many artists using that technique, and my guess is you are looking at a long waiting period if you don't have connections.

As for 1b) and 2), nobody will know or care if your tattoo is tebori, as it's just the method for getting the ink in your skin. But if you're choosing a traditional motif that makes you look like yakuza, the original reason behind the taboo, prepare to be judged unfairly if your tattoos are visible.
 

WonkoTheSane

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... But if you're choosing a traditional motif that makes you look like yakuza, the original reason behind the taboo, prepare to be judged unfairly if your tattoos are visible.

I'd say it's a pretty fair judgment. If someone does their best to look like a gangster, they probably shouldn't be surprised if their efforts pay off.
 

nice gaijin

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I'd say it's a pretty fair judgment. If someone does their best to look like a gangster, they probably shouldn't be surprised if their efforts pay off.
I meant "unfairly" as from the perspective of the person with the tattoos, who may in fact be a nice guy and have nothing to do with organized crime.
 

Jerry501

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First, thank you for your answers, one way or the other they will be useful, next thanks to
nice gaijin your analysis of my question was great. Reason, why I like this motif, is the connection with Japanese history (meanings of individual pictures) and the art form is typical for Japanese art (art form is very similar to Ukiyo-e which I love) but I understand that I might look like gangster wearing them (for example in hot springs) even it is not my intention. And yes I don't have them yet and I don't want to make them all by the Tebori method just part of it (because of cost and time to make it). For the end, you probably gave me my answer but I will repeat my question, Will I have more trouble if I will have tattoo ĺike that one I posted previously compare to normal westerns tattoo like Glenski wrote?
 

Majestic

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It depends on what you consider "trouble". As a tourist, you aren't likely to face any inconvenience, except perhaps at the onsen as others mentioned. In a business setting, if the tattoo (or irezumi, if you like) isn't visible, then of course there will be no issue with what cannot be seen.
In a business setting where your irezumi is fully visible, you may cause your company some embarrassment and place them at some disadvantage as the connection between irezumi and the underclass cannot be ignored in Japan. The impression you give may have some incalculable effect on your clients. They may not wish to be associated with your company, they may feel some sense of unease with your company, they may be concerned about the corporate culture of your company. Conversely, they may be very hip and free-loving and accepting of all body-modifications, but in my experience in Japan the likelihood of this is not high.
 

Mike Cash

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If you have to ask....you already know it's a bad idea.

Buy some ukiyo-e prints and hang them in your office.
 

nice gaijin

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Like @Majestic said, the tattoo can only do you damage if it is seen, and the best you could hope for is that they don't care. If you're going to be doing a lot of business in Japan and are concerned about how your tattoo may affect your business contacts' impression of you, either make sure they never see your ink, or don't get the tattoo.

At an onsen, the no tattoo policy seems to be pretty universally applied and is more about "if there's a rule, follow the rule," and you'd need to cover up or get a private bath regardless of style. If I had to guess, a traditional-looking tattoo that evokes the style of criminals will--on the whole--more readily make Japanese people uncomfortable, and may cause you some issue (like if your business contacts saw that you had a full sleeve that was reserved in their culture for yakuza goombas).
 

WonkoTheSane

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For the end, you probably gave me my answer but I will repeat my question, Will I have more trouble if I will have tattoo ĺike that one I posted previously compare to normal westerns tattoo like Glenski wrote?
How is this a question? If a Japanese business person showed up at a business meeting in the west dressed like Lil' Wayne what do you think the response would be? How exactly is Japan a magical land where this doesn't apply?

You can't reasonably adopt the trappings of a gangster and not be treated like one by at least some percentage of the population.

I'm flabbergasted that this isn't just immediately your very first thought about this. I'm not passing judgment on your choice, tattoos don't matter to me one way or the other, I'm just wondering how you got far enough in life to go to business meetings without the basic concept of not presenting yourself as a gangster.
 

Mike Cash

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After I noticed his avatar I began to wonder why we're even bothering discussing this.
 

Jerry501

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Ok, Mike Cash that's John Wick, one of the best Keanu Reeves movie, so come on, that's awesome movie.

And I got you guys, look like gansta and people will treat you like gansta no matter what country. And mostly it depend on company politic (I am talking about tattooes wich you can see only when you take off your clothes I understand that I would have problems with visible tattoo anywhere).
You gave me my answer thank you.
 

Jerry501

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Maybe you right, maybe not.
In the end if I choose to get that, I will have to accept the consequences.
There are some foreigners with tattoo like that and even live in Japan and have good work, will it make my work in Japan make harder probably, but situation about tattoos in Japan is changing very slowly (at least for foreigners).
But thank you all, you gave me many information and many things to think about.
 

Mike Cash

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Show your mother a photo of what you're planning and see what she thinks.
 

Jerry501

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I actually know what will happen, because my sister has a tattoo, she will say "I think it's a bad idea and you should not do it but it's your body so do what you want but I do not agree with that ''. But if your parents don't have any tattoo, this will be probably answer what every parent will give. It is kind of self-reflection, there are many foreigners who have this kind of tattoo and they are normal people, I was asking because in future i will spend some time in Japan and I want to now how will Japanese react on it. Now I now that if I will have these kind of tattoo so I will close some doors in Japan because of it, probably more than if I would have western type of tattoo. Understand that you try to find out why somebody what this or any type of tattoo.
 
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