Amidst Japan’s ever ongoing campaign to hound tattooed deviants from public places, Saitama may now lead the pack – the prefecture has been excluding record numbers of people with tattoos from public pools, boasting that one pool managed a record-setting “180 in a day.”
According to the authorities managing Saitama’s prefectural pools, a severely enforced blanket ban on tattoos has, surprisingly, resulted in a decrease in the number of visitors with tattoos, and they claim a corresponding increase in the number of non-deviant family users.
One of their chief security staff, a 62-year-old former police officer, explains just how trying their ordeal was:
“Last year we excluded a record 180 people a day. From morning to night, we were so busy we had no time for lunch even. The guys with female companions were the most persistent.”
With such diligent efforts this particular facility managed to throw out an average of 50 tattooed deviants a day.
Whilst in 2010 the prefecture did generously allow customers wearing full body swimsuits which concealed their body art to make use of its public facilities, it says this resulted in yakuza infiltration and has since tightened the ban.
It is claimed that tattooed attendees provoked complaints from frightened members of the public and that cleaning staff were too afraid to approach them, making it impossible to clean some areas.
Rather than fall prey to the mistake of thinking that not all tattooed individuals are yakuza operatives bent on intimidating the public, the authorities have instead announced a zero-tolerance ban on all tattoos in their facilities, including so-called “one point” western-style fashion tattoos, hitherto not known for signalling gang affiliation and increasingly popular amongst young men and women.
Just what proportion of those banned from such facilities for having tattoos are actually the syndicate members anyone inked in Japan is presumed to be is not clear – as is the proportion of pool-going criminals, organised or otherwise, who manifestly do not advertise their status with a handy indelible mark on their body.
The question of whether tax-paying and law-abiding prefectural residents deserve equal access to facilities run with public funds also appears not yet to have been broached.
Online the policy has won the local authority much praise in any case, with bullying disliked minorities proving as popular a policy as ever:
“Can’t they ban them from beaches too?”
“I saw a pool in Kawaguchi where a tattooed bunch were just swimming and making merry as if it was totally normal!”
“How can those Osaka civil servants think it is OK to have tattoos after hearing this!?”
“That they had 180 people with tattoos coming in a day is pretty odd.”
“This is great, they are getting rid of the ones with ‘fashion tattoos’ too! Yakuza and inked morons ought to keep their skin to themselves!”
“Tattoos are for outlaws, people with them ought to be shunned and not socialise in public like this.”
“I bet they are still soft on whites with tattoos though!”
“The bath house near me will chase you out just for having a one point tattoo too.”
“Wait, so they banned people from coming with swimsuits covering their tattoos? Do they strip search them now or what?”
“So I’ll be strip searched for wearing a full body swimsuit because I don’t want to get burned?”
“The fact that none of these tattooed guys who get thrown out and lectured about it actually caused trouble in response says something too I think…”
“They should make pools just for tattooed people, with extra-high fees and police to watch them.”
“What kind of idiot would go to a Saitama open-air pool anyway? The prefecture is full of rivers.”
“Children go to those pools. Only homosexuals get tattoos, go to a sauna you freaks!”
“Yakuza with no money swaggering about a public pool like that! Tattooed people ought to be shot.”
“Nice to see some old fart getting a government pay check for no good reason actually doing something useful for a change.”