Tattoo artist Taiki Masuda was fined in 2015 for tattooing three women without medical training. Masuda went to court on the grounds that it was an art form and not a medical act. It was also part of traditional Japanese culture. He could not convince the district court of Osaka with this reasoning. In 2017, it imposed a fine of 150,000 yen. Tattooing involves health risks and can cause skin problems. As a tattoo artist should therefore have a medical education, the verdict.
Taiki Masuda appealed – and got right now. Osaka Supreme Court acquitted him last week, Mainichi Shimbun reported. Tattoos are mainly about aesthetics and design. This distinguishes it from a medical act and thus does not fall under the medical law. At the same time, however, the court emphasized that clear rules and procedures as well as voluntary self-control are necessary in this industry because of possible health risks.
For the tattoo industry in Japan, this is a liberation. For several years she fought a wave of repression. Especially in Osaka, a stronghold of the Yakuza, the fashionable tattoo culture is publicly opposed by politicians (Asia mirror reported). Metropolitan authorities also opposed the tattoo artists themselves by resorting to a 2001 Decree issued by the Department of Health stating that tattooing is a medical act requiring appropriate training. The problem, however, is that the state does not issue a corresponding license. This forced the profession into a legal gray area. The recent ruling by the Osaka Supreme Court has now clarified matters.
World famous and outlawed anyway
Nevertheless, it is still outlawed in the island nation itself by a large part of society. This has to do with the burdened history of this art form. In the Edo period (1603-1868) tattoos were used to identify criminals. With the beginning of the Meiji period (1868 to 1912) looked indeed from this form of punishment, at the same time a tattoo prohibition was issued from 1872. Despite this limitation, a vibrant tattoo culture developed underground. It was not until 1948, three years after the Second World War, that the tattoo ban was lifted.
However, it remained an art form in the gray area, since never really official regulations were issued for the industry. In addition, the whole-body tattoos became the symbol of the Japanese mafia, the yakuza. Accordingly wearing a body painting has remained frowned upon. To this day, many bathhouses have a general ban on tattooing (Asia mirror reported). But since the fashion world has discovered the tattoos for themselves, many young Japanese have jumped on this trend. In recent years, numerous tattoo studios have been opened, which have nothing to do with the yakuza. And the onsen world is increasingly open to people with tattoos.