Maori Thrown Out of Onsen for Tattoo


An onsen which denied a 60-year-old Maori woman entry on account of its no-tattoo policy finds herself the latest victim of Japan’s uncompromising attitude to ink, but as ever rigid application of the rules for no clear reason seems to enjoy substantial support.

According to the Hokkaido press, a 60-year-old Maori language instructor from New Zealand was visiting a school attempting to preserve the language of the Ainu, the remains of Hokkaido’s indigenous tribes.

After her visit to the school finished, she visited a local onsen with staff in hopes of taking the waters and dining there.

However, the onsen noticed the traditional Maori tattoos she bore on her chin and lip, and promptly threw her out as a result of the establishment’s “no tattoos” policy.

The Ainu accompanying her urged the baths to consider letting her in on the grounds of cultural tolerance, but they were having none of it.

Such policies are nearly universal amongst both private and public leisure facilities in Japan, being the result of the common Japanese belief that only criminals, foreigners and other undesirables have tattoos.

In this case the onsen insisted they were but innocent hostages to the prejudices of the Japanese people, saying:

“We understand there are various reasons people have tattoos, but our patrons don’t understand this. If we made an exception for her, we’d have betrayed their trust.”

The Maori woman refused entry only said that she felt “deep sadness” over the episode.

Online there is usual glee at the opportunity to bash the tattooed deviants, and the onsen’s high standard of hospitality in excluding anyone who might disturb actual Japanese seems to enjoy much approval:

“Well, this can’t be helped.”

“Can’t be helped, it is not a matter of whether she is Maori or not.”

“Of course she was turned away, why wouldn’t she be?”

“These people are retarded… the sole point of tattoo bans is to exclude yakuza and other punks.”

“Don’t give that yakuza scum any way in!”

“Well, fashion tattoos are out too. It is not like you can tell the difference between one type and another.”

“If they made any exception it would be abused.”

“Give her a break you stupid onsen. This is how international human rights issues get started.”

“It would be racist to just let her in because she is from a particular race.”

“I can’t believe they can’t make an exception for cultural tattoos?”

“How are yakuza tattoos not cultural and how can you make the distinction?”

“Yakuza tattoos are cultural. If they let her in and not yakuza it would be a form of discrimination.”

“What’s to stop yakuza claiming to be Maori and demanding to be let in!”

“Can’t be helped. Letting her in would be a betrayal of their customers.”

“It is a private onsen, right? So they can refuse whoever they like for any reason.”

“Japanese really have no ability to adapt rules to the demands of the situation, do they? If they so much as considered the intent of these rules they would never have done this.”

“Treating everyone the same based on physical appearance is completely correct. How can you be expected to make subtle distinctions based on individual cases?”

“Blame the people who took her with them! They should have bathed he at one of their homes or something.”

“The Ainu have tattoos too. I can’t help but think they planned this malciously. The hotel did well to keep them out.”

“They were Japanese, they must have known this would happen. It was their fault, not the onsen.”

“It is unfortunate, but this is Japan! This lot is quick to enforce their own rules in their own territory!”

“Natives should stay in the mountains where they belong. We have rules in the city, obey them.”

“I really don’t see why non-gangsters with tattoos can’t be allowed to use these facilities. This is far too insulting to foreign tourists with tattoos in particular. But refusing entry to people from anti-Japanese nations seems a good idea though!”

“People with tattoos ought to stick to tattoo-OK places.”

“Just make tattoo-only onsens. Foreigners can go to foreigner-only places.”

“This was horrible to the Maori woman but the establishment cannot be blamed for enforcing its rules.”

“Does anyone find ethnic tattoos scary or disagreeable? They ought to have shown some flexibility here.”

“In Aotearoa tattoos are a symbol of social respect. In Japan they are a symbol of anti-social intent. If you go to another country you should respect their ways.”

“People with tattoos are scary. The onsen did well to keep this woman out. You can’t start making distinctions between good tattoos and bad tattoos!”

Leave a Comment


  • The Japanese regard tattoos as indicative of gangsterism and moral degeneracy. They are absolutely right in denying foreigners access to facilities based on these banned dermal decorations whether cultural, ethnic, or just fashionable. It is an indication of the high standards Japanese have with regard to behavior, morality, and personal image. Japanese has no obligation to honor or tolerate the offensive actions and habits of dirty foreigners.

    Japanese businesses, such as nuclear power plant operators enjoy a close working relationship with Yakuza and it is really awful the amount of insulting finger pointing Westerners engage in with regard to this long standing custom.

    Japanese also enjoy having sex with schoolgirls and looking at pictures of men having sexual congress with very young children. It is insulting and degrading the extent to which foreigners meddle in this happy and inclusive aspect of Japanese culture.

    It is certainly sad to see how intolerant the rest of the world is toward traditional Japanese cultural norms.

    Also, Japanese like whale sandwiches. Why don’t you outsiders leave us alone and stop being so judgmental.

  • “Japanese really have no ability to adapt rules to the demands of the situation, do they? If they so much as considered the intent of these rules they would never have done this.”

    This person is correct. The intent behind rules should be evaluated and upheld more than making rules absolute.

  • A privately owned business should be able to set guidelines for who they will or will not admit
    without laws or government interference.

    If the policy is so onerous to the majority of the
    business’s patrons they’ll soon be out of business anyways.

    Since the people with her are Japanese and should
    have known this would happen it sounds like a “setup”
    to create negative publicity.

  • “Japanese belief that only criminals, foreigners and other undesirables have tattoos.”

    Is not without merit. For example, in USia, if a female has a tattoo – she is pretty much without fail will turn out to be either a prostitute, an ordinary slut, a punk, or a homo. Normal people in “civilized” nations dont have tattoos.

  • obvious troll responses are obvious. seriously, you see these kinds of inflammatory responses made just to irk others made all of the time online. japanese posters are no different. and just like westener posters, they would not give even close to the same response face to face.

  • Japan: A good place to build an international onsen and have a rule of “no japs who have a problem with ink allowed”. Since there’s a fuckton of land they don’t give twoshits to, why not make an onsen with the opposite rule of no tatts allowed?

  • I don’t blame the visitor for trying to gain entry into the onsen. They are nice places to visit and relax. But if the group acted shocked or surprised about the outcome of their request… then (at the minimum) that was just bad planning and a lack of foresight on their end.

    I would like to know what made the hosts take the gamble of subjecting their guest to such a situation in the first place?

    If the hosts tried to appreciate the policy of the establishment in advance, I’m pretty sure a kashikiri could have easily been made available to them without any difficulty. I have done that when travelling with friends with tats at: onsen, gyms, dojo, massage parlors/spas, etc. and have been accommodated perfectly fine. I call in advance, explain the situation of travelling with foreigners, and ask for their assistance in the matter. Usually they just ask that the tats not be viewable in public areas of their grounds during our visit.

  • The woman is as the article said a Maori, and what the Japanese authorities don’t understand is that tattoos are a part of Maori culture. Maori men and women can choose not to have the tattoos, but because it a cultural preference then they do it anyway. The tattoos have deep religious meaning to them and tells the story of their heritage and how they came to being as a member of the Polynesian kingdom.

  • “Just make tattoo-only onsens. Foreigners can go to foreigner-only places.”

    Better yet, create seperate bathrooms, and drinking fountains that only black…er i mean tattooed people can use, and seperate resteraunts only star-bellied sneeches can eat at.

  • “Treating everyone the same based on physical appearance is completely correct. How can you be expected to make subtle distinctions based on individual cases?”
    So I can open an onsen only for beautiful women under 25? Man, Japan knows how to make itself well loved…

  • Its their country, they have the right to decide who can visit their onsen.

    A tattoo like is very unusual here in NZ as well.

    I lived in South East Asia for 15 years, I did my best to fit in with the locals and to be sensitive to their culture.

    Its her choice to have some weird tattoo because she is proud to be a Maori and she just has to live with the fact it will upset some people.

  • ‘We’re trying to keep out the Yakuza!’ ‘People with tattoos are scary!’

    Such a fucking cop out. The Yakuza are coming in whether you want them to or not. End of story. People with tattoos being scary? Are you fucking five?

  • I believe that it’s neither the yakuza, Deviants or undesirables they love to blame it’s all about personal taste and image. they them self dislike it if they cared they could have worked it out or told the current customers or even put up a sigh explaining what tattoos are allowed But no. How about some history the yakuza was started in the early 1600s now Irezumi or tattoos have been in Japan far longer than that and was used for spiritual purposes. starting in the Kofun period 300s AD they were used on criminals. Then in the Edo period or 16-1800s tattoos held many Purposes wasn’t until the Meiji era the government to protect face condemned tattoos as criminal so now who is to blame for tattoos being bad not the bad people but the idiotic people, but who cares those people only love to hurt them selves and those who try to help.

  • god and this country wants to get the Olympics? did they THINK about it before? like people from all over the world will come to Tokyo, with their attitude, their tattoes, their manners (or lack of?)… Seriously I don’t see how can this end up good, japaneses do whatever they please in their country it’s their right but then don’t fucking ask for the olympics and act like that it’s just plain retarded

    • No, they just wanted it for the money. They don’t care about culture or respecting others. They’re going to be wearing smiles the whole time, but when everyone’s gone they’re going to break out the streamers and party hats.

  • “Natives should stay in the mountains where they belong. We have rules in the city, obey them.”

    … do these guy seriously believe themselves to be civilized or just civilized enough to make that kind of statement ??

    and i’m not talking about japanese in general, but the obvious trash that’s typing this .

  • “We understand there are various reasons people have tattoos, but our patrons don’t understand this. If we made an exception for her, we’d have betrayed their trust.”

    How about a no stupid people policy?

  • “In Aotearoa tattoos are a symbol of social respect. In Japan they are a symbol of anti-social intent. If you go to another country you should respect their ways.”

    During WW2 in america, over a 100,000 japanese people were taken to internment camps and suspected of being traitors solely on the basis of them being japanese.

    As an america, should I expect you to respect that just because that’s the way they were doing things at the time? Fuck those stupid cultural norms and cultural relativism, bad ideas & practices should be opposed when encountered.

    • During WW2 Japanese soldiers raped and murdered 300,000 civilians in Nanjing. So everyone did bad things, but some did far worse things than others.

      At least the Japanese in internment camps were not raped, tortured or slaughtered, like you know Japanese did to civilians and POWs. Also like Germans did to civilians in Europe. Maybe US was not heaven, but it was significantly better.

  • Japan is a country that I have admired and wished to visit for a long time, but now with tattooes over my forearms it seems this dream is shattered.

    Not content to slurring us as hairy barbarians now some of us seem to have acquired gang connections as well..!

    Silly people of Japan I used to look up to your values and lifestyle, but not anymore, so I guess I can save thousands not going there to be humiliated, I can get that at home for nothing lol.

  • Personally, I don’t mind tattoos and from a Western European viewpoint this is a discriminating and outdated rule.
    BUT I have to side with the onsen folks on this. The reason? It is a rule (or even a law?) to keep tattooed people out of specific establishments. It’s not only because Yakuza have tattoos… Japanese people generally dislike tattoos. And those rules should be followed. I can speak of similar cases in Western Europe:
    1. wearing jeans and t-shirt (or similar clothing) and you won’t be let into operas, galas, high-class clubs etc.
    2. try to work in a bank or some public office job with long hair and beard… most likely they won’t hire/keep you!

    So… the Western society also has similar cases of discrimination against styles and outer appearance (and don’t forget about discrimination against religion, skin colour, gender, sexuality, age, experience, personal opinions, etc.).
    In short… this article doesn’t state anything new or interesting… and nothing that is uncommon in our world. It’s just one of many cases of gaijin not able to enter an onsen/public bath/pool/etc. (you can sometimes even find signs showing that “foreigners aren’t allowed”)

    • Well all country’s will not ban Japanese from entering them. But even if they do, a ban on tattoos in Japan will not guarantee either way that Japanese will be banned or be allowed to enter other countries.

  • yet another post showing the side of japan I hate…yea I’m a little annoyed but, meh. Its their country I have no right to say their in the wrong (unless their killing things if you catch my drift).
    Beside I’m sure its no different to people being denied access to places that don’t allow sandals.

  • Another example of how far behind Japan is with the rest of the modern world when it comes to tolerance of other races. Japan is known for treating people who don’t fit into their narrow-minded stereotype of “normal” (Yamato people)as second class citizens. I can’t wait for the current old generation to die off so things start changing.

    What’s funny to me is that this is the country hosting the 2020 Olympics, pathetic.

    • “Another example of how far behind Japan is with the rest of the modern world when it comes to tolerance of other races.”

      Japanese attitude is common among Africas, South Americans, Indians, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russians, etc. What you want to actually say is that your Western politically correct culture is superior to the cultures of these lesser (less civilised) people.

      That’s elitist, racist, BS. The bigot here is you, sadly you’re too stupid to see it.

    • Go anywhere outside of USA, OZ, CA and Western Europe. You’ll get this attitude all over the place, in fact, most places would treat you this way. Wholesale faux tolerance is not common in the developing and emerging world, and even in places like Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

      • This is not ‘faux tolerance’. This is realistic and necessary tolerance of people who are doing nothing illegal and who you do NOT have the right to force your personal likes and dislikes on.

        It is exactly like the old “NO BLACKS!” signs in America during the years before the Civil Rights movement finally won.

        • @3:34

          In this case, however, something apart from property is in the equation. It’s resources, because a hot spring is essentially a natural resource. So it’s a bit more severe than ‘we don’t serve militiamen’, which in itself could be an impingement on their freedom if you’re the only shop around – or if every premise in the vicinity is like that.

        • I should put up a “No Blacks” sign, because “I have a right to enforce my own likes and dislikes over property I control,” right?

          Mentality of a 12 years old in action.

          Son, when a business dealing with the general public opens its doors, “your property” is in fact public space. You have the right to close your business.

        • You do have a right to enforce your own likes and dislikes over property you control. That’s called freedom. And it also has to do with property rights. It’s my business, and I don’t like vegetarians, so I put a NO VEGETARIAN sign. That’s my prerogative. I’m not forcing vegetarians to come to my place and see my sign. I can refuse entry to whomever I please.

          That may suck when one is on the receiving end of that, but that’s just feelings. There are other places which will cater to others. But to impose a law from above and say who someone can and can’t admit to their own property, is fascist. Even when it’s supposedly done for good.

  • The whole ban on tattoos is stupid; they should just let everyone in who behaves properly. If some Yakuza start trouble, just call the cops.

    Their current policy is one of preemptive-discrimination designed to appease the prejudices of some Japanese people.

    • All law is legislating morality. And all forms of morality are not always entirely universal. By your logic, there should be no rules at all for anything and no-one should have a right to refuse to do business with someone.

      • Everyone should be free to live their lives in any way that they see fit, as long as they don’t infringe on someone else’s right to do the same.

        In this case, the lady has the right to her tat and the onsen has the right to deny her service. I don’t see the problem.

      • Anonymous, laws should only make criminally illegal what is physically harmful to someone without their permission or that steals from someone else or that damages property that doesn’t belong to the person in question.

        Nothing else.

        • By this logic, I should be able to go into a restaurant naked, except for the ak47 (with the safety on, of course) slung around my back and be able to order anything I want. I’m not harming anyone after all. What right do they have to stop me?

        • The problem is that people want logic, when they can’t understand said logic, because it’s another person speaking and they have different life experience. Even if you try to explain why something should not be done, and something else do, they other side don’t listen, because they can’t understand you and they know better, anyway.

          That applies to everyone.

        • That’s just defining morality one way, anon. It’s still legislating morality. You’re also asserting. But it would be interesting to see proof from first principles in a clear argument, why you think such morality imposition should be allowed. Don’t just say for utilitarian or pragmatic reasons, but provide convincing proof why those work in a coherent and logical way.

  • Man, I always get the feeling Japans internet community is mostly a bunch of self righteous “racist” assholes? what’s up with that… I’m amazed anyone would still want to go to japan after reading the crap they say.

    • No matter how hard people try to stop being racist it will never end one way or another someone will find something to hate about other people. This is really sad legal racism. Translation If you are from a tribe who shows honor and status and respect based on tattoos don’t go to Japan. Next people with huge ear piercings will be band also a tribal tradition everyone in titled to there own opinion. I was raised not to discriminate against people of all racist religion culture etc. But had to post something

    • You are quite the backward moron aren’t you. Every single human in existence, alive or even dead is RACIST. If they are not, then there would be no STANDARD for people to live by. For example, if you had 800 fat, fugly Turks move into your neighborhood, ruining it. And then you yelled at them for being that way, YOU WOULD BE A RACIST F*CK. YES YOU ARE A RACIST SELF RIGHTEOUS F*CKHEAD. Because you like every other gullible a$$hole screams RACIST to anyone with standards. You are the piece of poo that licks a toilet bowl with your unintelligent observations and ridiculous viewpoint. Countries should be required by law to BE RACIST to maintain a standard and a safety protocol for their people. You are an A+ idiot.

      • You are one very weird and disturbed individual. Sure, we all dislike something or someone. That’s human nature. But, to hate an entire group because you dislike one or two people in that group is just stupid. We only hate what we fear. To make a law requiring everyone to be racist would be to make a law making everyone a coward. It might apply to you, but the rest of us are not like you.

      • Racism is not standards ya bonehead. Racism stems from both a complexity of ignorance, superiority, pride and lack of respect for other human life.

        Racisms, the root of it descends from evil. Why is it evil? Because racism has destroyed and held back others from advancing for years. Take a clear good look at your people’s history. I assume you are a white male, so it is pretty easy to see and observe the wickedness done by your people’s racist antics.

      • You are trying to speak sense to a place full of imbeciles. It’s hopeless. While I applaud your effort, it’s like trying to reason with a people hellbent on killing themselves. No matter how much you try to have intelligent discussion on something, the lowest common denominator always wins in places like this. Any legitimate criticism? That’s racist! Can’t go around hurting anyone’s feelings now, can we? It’s this idiotic attitude that makes it impossible to have any sort of serious discussion. God forbid there be any differences between the races and cultures whatsoever, that would be outright racist now wouldn’t it?

      • Why are they assholes?

        They are right, it WOULD be racist if they just let her in because she is NOT Japanese.

        They don’t let any Japanese with Tatoos in, why should they change it for her?

        If in US it says naked people w/ their junk hanging out can’t be allowed into pools, are you racist for not letting people from an other country in if it is OK to be naked in public in their own country? NO.

        You guys are the double standard bastards that just want everything in your favor and fit YOUR ideals.

        They made a standard rule, they are not singling her out. To let her in, it would be singling her out. Get with the logic

        • Difference being: you can put on something to cover your junk for a couple hours, you can NOT remove your tattoos just like that.

          It’s pretty much like saying “nobody missing a finger can enter”. Because, you know, yakuza cut fingers. And f. the guy missing a limb after a car accident. You miss a finger? Go grow one.

        • True. Japan has its own rules. In japan it is okay to bath naked in baths. In U.S. bathing naked in baths is “obscene”.

          in U.S. guns are okay and tatoos are okay.

          In japan guns are not okay and tatoos which stimulate gang-mentallity are not okay.

          Simple. Either go with the flow or leave. the Onsen didn’t do this to insult the woman directly or to single her out. This is a rule that is enforced by MOST public and private baths. This social rule was established because of the GANG-MENTALLITY of the Yazuku or whatever.

          Still though, a gangster or yazuku can still come in and either have their tatoos covered up and still be a gangster. One can wear tatoos and not be a gangster.

          In this retrospect japan is silly, as it is judging folks by tatoo. But on the other hand i can see how jp wants no affiliation with the gang-violence relation that is so easily found in the U.S.

          But the onsen are not public schools. In the U.S. we are not allowed to wear bandanas or displays of tatoos on our faces for the same reasons the onsen kicked this lady out.

          This is cultural realtions. Japanese think anyone wearing a tatoo is dangerous. Other cultures use tatoos as symbol of national pride.

          Silly japan, with your origins in tatoos, one would think it would be appropriate. Now, if the woman came in with a tatoo imprint of japan’s flag on her face, I am sure the onsen would have let her stay! Aha!

        • @18:58
          So to any non-Asian looking person, Japanese should just not enforce any type of their own rules and laws that Japanese have to obey, just so they can try to avoid being called “xenophobic”?

          Yeah that makes a lot of sense (NOT)

          15:09 makes more logical sense, it’s a difference in values. Tatoo in public is frown upon in Japan as to Being naked in public is frown upon in US, who’s “cultural values” is more correct, doesn’t matter. Even your example is the exact same thing, difference in values.

          This is a privately owned facility, they are not being racist in singling the women out as the rules are the same for everybody, which is just no tatoos

          I don’t agree with it, but I think people should still have the right to do what they think they need to do to protect themselves. If they think letting the women in would cause future trouble w/ the Yakuza, they know their own country more then somebody like you who just yaps w/o any consideration for anybody except for you suits you.

        • congrats you earn the moron award of the day by trying to compare 2 completely different things to justify this xenophobic and intilable act of stupidity of the typical kind, its like kicking out a peace treaty signer just because hes wearing white in an area that doesnt allow people to wear it….its called foreign policy, i certanly hope japan loose their right to host the olympics now as most of the people that go to see it there will just be treated like crap.

    • @23:25 – You call the Japanese internet community “racists”, yet you yourself insult those Japanese people and say that nobody should want to visit Japan.
      Not that it matters anything, but you are the one who sounds racist here.

      And on-topic: it’s not a case of racism, it’s a rule against a specific style.
      A commoner without a big sum of cash wouldn’t be allowed to enter several high-class restaurants, because they mind outer appearance.
      Hm… would a women’s house be called discriminating against men, if men are not welcome there, even the innocent ones?

      • It’s not the tattoo thing itself that’s racist you idiot. It’s the fact that the tattoo rule is racially insensitive. It’s one thing to ban a marking that is traditionally reserved for organized criminals, but when something is a cultural marking of respect or honor, that needs to be taken into account. This old lady wasn’t any danger to anyone, so banning her was wrong.

        • “Why are you so dense in the head, can’t you see once they let her in other yakuza could come and argue and cause trouble?”

          Oh, please, like they will ever try enforcing that rule on real yakuza =)

        • Why are you so dense in the head, can’t you see once they let her in other yakuza could come and argue and cause trouble?

          It’s their shop they should decide how they would run it.

          Why should one country’s culture over right the others? You are in THEIR country. What makes YOUR culture more right then theirs’?

          If you want to wear your shoes inside the house, don’t go to other people’s houses and complain when they ask you to take off your shoes.

      • Actually, they don’t. Real yakuza pretty much get a free pass at some of the establishments. When I went to the onsens in Japan, about 2 out of 5 onsens had mean-looking guys with full-back tattoos.

        I get the feeling they’re just bullying the old woman here because they can.

  • “Well, fashion tattoos are out too. It is not like you can tell the difference between one type and another.”

    Are you fucking serious? Yakuza tattoos in particular are VERY distinctive, as are Maori tattoos. They look nothing like other forms of fashion ink.

    “What’s to stop yakuza claiming to be Maori and demanding to be let in!”

    Maybe the fact that Yakuza ink looks nothing like Maori? Jesus fuck these people are so uneducated when it comes to these art styles it’s ridiculous.

  • “Natives should stay in the mountains where they belong. We have rules in the city, obey them.”

    Kind of goes against the Japanese having legislated the theft of their ancestral homes. Why don’t the Japanese go back where they belong, and give what is left of the Ainu their land back?

    Was it not the Japanese who wanted to integrate the Ainu into the Japanese culture in the first place?

  • >Just make tattoo-only [or tattoo-friendly] onsens.

    I guess I could see that. Tattoos aren’t something you’re born with; they are something people choose to get.

    >Foreigners can go to foreigner-only places.

    No, that’s discriminatory and awful. It’d be like having “NO DARKIES” written on the entrance of a restaurant or shop.

  • “It would be racist to just let her in because she is from a particular race.”

    There is only one human race of the planet. This is why “racism” is completely ignorant. This is like claiming natives are from another species.

  • Kind of sad. As a Kiwi, the statement “In Aotearoa(Maori word for New Zealand) tattoos are a symbol of social respect” is correct. The more the Maori is respected, the more tattoo they have, mostly on their face. Body tattoo are mostly fashion reason.

    So I guess Maori should just avoid Japan since a HUGE percentage of them has Traditional tattoo.

    • All tattoos are cultural. For example prison tattoos which denote respect. Gangs all over the world tattoo their most respected members. People also often tatoo themselves to make themselves feel better, to be respected, to be loved, to feel more intelligent, etc. That’s all culture which is just as valid, as Maori traditions. Why Maoris should get a free ride over other tattoos is beyond me.

      • There’s a difference between a civilization’s culture and ‘gang culture’; the bottom line is the Japanese are racist and xenophobic to an extreme.

        They should get a ‘free ride’ because their tatoos have nothing to do with a gang affiliation and it’s well known that their civilization has been using tatoos since ancient times. Even if the ban on tatoos made any sense to not respect the cultural differences of another peoples who don’t think the same way you do is rude and assanine.

        • @13:16 Yakuza are masters of loopholes though. If you can make an exception for someone who’s clearly not one of them, they can plausibly conform to the exceptional case, or just bully the operators to make an exception for them as well. Imagine you have a golf course and you’ve banned leather jackets with patches. The Christian Riders of America or whatever want to do a charity event there, so you make an exception… Now you have to explain to the Hells Angels why CRA can break the rules, but HA are still banned… Gee… It sure would be a shame if that clubhouse burned down, wouldn’t it?

        • Be shunned or made fun of. Oh my bleeding heart aches, it really does. Or maybe people could just accept that different cultures view things differently?

          Let me put it this way. In japan, people generally don’t like so called “loli” manga, but it is accepted. You won’t get arrested for owning it, you could even say it is a part of “otaku culture”. But woe is the fool who tries to import any of that into the west, he will get arrested and treated like a pedophile here because our society doesn’t view those comics as in anyway different from the real thing.

          So for example, some japanese guy creates and distributes a “loli comic” in the west. He gets arrested of course. Is it wrong because it infringes on his culture? Or should he have known what is acceptable here in the “free and tolerant” west as opposed to his native japan? Is this not even more injust, since you won’t lose your freedom for simply having a tattoo in japan? Or should we all simply understand that they have a different culture than we do, accept that and move on?

          The fact of the matter is japan views tattoos as something unacceptable for display in a public setting. Trying to impose your values on them amounts to nothing more than cultural imperialism.

        • It’s exactly as Imyou said. You don’t just go to other countries and try to push your values on them. This is not aimed at foreigners, or even people who have a tattoo because they like them. It’s only there to keep yakuza/criminals out, who are bad for business and unfortunately associated with tattoos in japan. The rule applies to everyone, including japanese evenly. I don’t really know what else to say if you can’t understand that simple concept.

          Who are we to force our notions of what is acceptable on another country? It’s not like the west is the beacon of democracy and acceptance that our propaganda makes us out to be. Go complain about some real rights violations, like women’s education in the middle east or china’s continued oppression of minorities in Tibet, Xinjiang and elsewhere. Better yet, start with fighting against the continued march towards the police state we in the west find ourselves in.

        • You don’t realize how the yakuza work… If there’s a legitimate excuse to allow tattoos like that, then the operators would have to tell the yaks to their faces that they’re banned because they look like crooks. They might face violent retribution, extortion, etc. So instead, they ban tattoos to ban yaks because they can just say “sorry, no tattoos…” even though everyone knows why they’re really banned.

          These “racist and xenophobic” operators also exclude Japanese who have simple, clearly non-gang art tats. It really sucks for people like Maori, who do it as part of their culture, but it’s a case of the two cultures clashing – not an attempt to exclude foreigners (when they do that, you can just read the signs on the doors that say they don’t serve foreigners…)

        • You’re an idiot, plain and simple, it’s got nothing to do with Yakuza at this point, it’s an obvious old lady, with a tattoo that is obviously not Yakuza. It’s mob rule, basically you have the purists bullying up against anyone with tattoos, “conform to our beliefs and way of life or be shunned and made fun of”

    • Kind of sad? Please….

      This one is ignorant. Most Maoris that get taken to Japan (thanks to Rugby MONIES!) get a primer about it.

      Also it may be a shock to you, but Asian countries have bad impression on tattoos in the first place.

      • Also it may be a shock to you, but most asian countries impression on tattoos was they held spiritual purposes. then they were used on criminals to mark them as such, then they went to art purposes then, the government like most ass holes to protect face passed it as being related to criminal gangs don’t believe me go read a book its free at boarders or B&N

        • China has these same spiritual cultural origins for tattoos, the same adaptation by organized crimes, yet no tattoo laws developed.

          Japanese think of themselves as superior to all others for no rational reason, and thus shun anything not in line with proper Japanese conduct. Why would they try to understand inferior foreigners?

          Through most of recent Japanese history, they either sealed off their borders or are out conquering others. There’s this unhealthy high collective self esteem in Japan unlike anywhere else.

    • Why not just ban tattooing altogether. It wouldn’t help with the person who is a foreigner, obviously, but it would limit such anti-social behaviors in the nation. And it would further limit the tattoos to people who are lawbreakers.

      • No, it isn’t. When you are discriminating against a group of people SOLELY on a protected thing like gender, race, skin color and yes….. TATTOOS (right to put what you want onto your own body) you should not be allowed to do that and should be shut down.

        You are a BUSINESSS…. meaning that you should NOT have the right to decide who you will do business with and who you will not.

        Just like saying “No Blacks!” is verboten in America today.

        • You won’t be allowed into some clubs if you dress badly, and you won’t be allowed into some restaurants if you don’t dress accordingly.

          What is bad and what is accordingly? The operation should have the right to decide.

          We’re in the day and age where information gets online in an instant. In case like this, the operation have to decide is it better to keep their tradition and keep all yakuza troubles out, or take a chance of getting lynched by the net. If enough people find this offensive, then the business won’t be able to survive because people would boycott it. How ever if they feel that keeping out the yakuza is more of a priority so they would get customers, it should be their right to make that decision.

          The store should have the ultimate choice because people should be able to judge their own situations instead of having the rest of the world who doesn’t even live there tell everybody else how others should behave exactly like them.

        • your both idiots who havnt seen the real world, nobody is nearly as free as they belive, only in those idealogical contries where they belive the bull theyre fed would they call themselves “free”. rules that are found everywhere strip you of your freedom and act as schacles to stop people from abusing their so called freedom, one of these rules is to do business in a fair and tolerant manner, hence the trading standards. what we have here tho is somone abusing their right to create rules to unjustly exclude people based on a steriotype.

          sadly in this case i cant say that either party is wrong as rules are rules and they should have done some reserch before trying to visit an intolerant place, but at the same time, the rule they have will only server to further exclude people who may have been legitamate business for them.

        • “You are a BUSINESSS…. meaning that you should NOT have the right to decide who you will do business with and who you will not.”

          You are a person who runs a business. YES you should have full freedom, after all corporations are legal persons. Freedom is what’s life is about. This freedom thing is why people rebel from oppression, like in Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.

          It may all sound nice for you to say “don’t do this” but no-one has a right to tell someone else what he or she can and cannot do, and just because they run a business.

          Of course this is in Japan where common sense and freedom still prevail.

          Your arbitrary norms, just because they’re popular in the West, are ad hoc and purely arbitrary. You’re a closet fascist, who wants to control what other people do.

        • It is fascism. When you say I have to do business with you because you do X, it means you are taking freedom away. You are legislating morality. You are fascist.

          A person is free to be any gender he wants to be, but that does not give him or her or it, the right to force someone else to associate or do business with them. If you say it does, and use government to enforce it, you are the same type of fascist like Hitler or Mussolini, who simply said businesses were not allowed to do businesses with Jews, Roma or Gays.

          Accept that what you want is fascism. That’s all.

          “Should not be allowed to do that” – well screw you. You want to decide how I lead my life and who I do business with? How is that different to telling a gay he cannot have a boyfriend? Man you’re one bigot and a confused one at that.

    • the onsen isnt wrong, they blame falls on those teachers who brought her there and create this incident. living and teaching in Japan, they dont know one of onsen general no-tattoo policy? idiots…

    • “I dislike tattooed women as well, but if it’s part of her culture and they deny her in because of her cultural heritage, then that’s wrong.”

      My Dear Pedo Boy,

      Thank you for posting. You are however mistaken. In this case they are not denying her cultural heritage, but are denying her tattoo, as per their own cultural standards. She if she insists on entering, will be then denying their cultural heritage. No-one is forcing her to go to the onsen and no-one forced her to visit Japan. Secondly there are other issues at stake, such as right of association and freedom to do business with whomever you want. Forcing this business to do business with her would be reducing freedom and so would be a fascist maneuver.

      Thank you for your time. I also share your taste in tattooed women. And for me, personally, as iSteve has pointed out, tattoos smell of issues. See a woman with a tat? Run. Of course I refer to the new western cultural heritage of white trash tattoos even among those who think themselves about white trash financially. Again, thank you and have a great day.

      • No, see a woman with a tat and think nothing of it UNTIL you take the time to actually converse with this person and find out within 20 minutes if they have severe issues or not.

        A lot of the time you’ll find some pretty cool stories.

        You bigoted, judgmental asshole.

      • Woman is free to express her culture in her own country, but in Japan, Japanese culture dictates their norms, and she has to conform. In the same way Japanese in her country must also conform. That’s the way it is.

        • 14:51 Anon, nobody cares about Japanese people bringing any kind of manga into their country actually. You certainly won’t get arrested, at the very most it might get confiscated if it’s like, blatant toddler-con shit but even that would only be if you’d been waving it around like an idiot. If you don’t attract the attention of Customs then no will even know, but for most countries, even if they did, who cares? It’s arguably protected by Freedom of Speech. I’ve visited Japan, I’ve even brought back ero-manga. It’s not a big deal.
          The point I was trying to make though is for example, no one expects Japanese tourists to stop bowing and making V signs and start acting like the natives of whatever country they’re in. It’s kinda hypocritical that they expect foreigners to be okay with being discriminated against for something that is not threatening or dangerous in any way.

        • @07:01
          Well you can turn it around and say your freedom to express yourself w/ your tatoo restricts the freedom of the shop owners from avoiding future trouble w/ the yakuza.

          On another note you won’t be allowed into some clubs dressed like a retard, and you won’t be allowed into some restaurants if you are not dress accordingly either.

          Who dictates what is “accordingly”? should be the owners of the establishment. If the word spreads and people don’t like it, the shop will go down. But if the owner decides that keeping the yakuza troubles out is more important for them to sustain a business, it should be their call.

        • ^Discrimination, defined.

          You’re free to express your bigoted feelings of racial superiority, in any way that does not harm others.

          When you translate it into actions restricting someone else’s personal freedoms and liberties, you have a problem.

        • Really, Kaoshima? Say I am a japanese visiting another country. Am I free to take any manga I want with me, regardless of it’s contents? Or will I get arrested like some people already have been for bringing unacceptable drawings into canada, america, etc? Or does it only count as being “forced to conform” when non-japanese have to conform to japanese laws? Fuck the japanese visiting other countries, who the hell do they think they are anyway, is that it?

          The only one full of shit is you. You have no idea about what you are talking about, yet you run your mouth like you know what’s what. We here in the english speaking world call this trait “ignorance”.

        • While, I share in the disgust, this place was a privately owned business. This is not much different than not allowing certain peoples in your own home for whatever reason. It’s not restricting other people’s personal freedoms and liberties to deny them access to your private residences unless your private residence is so large you can call it a country.

          It’d be different if this were government owned..

      • Disagree, 2:20. They ARE denying her cultural heritage by discriminating against her solely because of her tattoo like she is some criminal.

        Tattoos are becoming more and more common worldwide and you know what….. the fact is that a Yakuza person, if an onsen tried this with them, would shoot the owner dead!

        So, these policies are NOT about denying tattoos, they are about discrimination against a group of people solely because they insist on using their human right to put what they want into and on their own bodies.

        Imagine if someone was banned like this for dreadlocks (which has been tried and which schools have been being slapped around for in the United States)…. you would have a lawsuit rightly.

        • Thinking is not the problem. You’re free to think whatever you want. You’re not free to turn it into action that harms others.

          Whatever “lens” you look through can’t justify active discrimination.

        • But your own thinking goes through the lens of your own culture whether you like it or not. For example “think for yourself” is a repeated cultural slogan common in the West, but would be against logic in Japan and much of the world where collectivist and communal societies are still the norm, and may be the norm forever.

    • No, it would be discrimination to other people if they would allow her to enter just because she is a different “race” or has a different religion. Equality being key, if you deny one patron because he/she has a tattoo you’ve got to deny ALL the tattoo wearing patrons from entering.

        • WRONG. Equality is not based on religion or a particular national identity. It is based on things more primal to that…as a human being. She is being denied entry on national standards foreign to her, not being Japanese, practically.

          She is not hurting anything but a Japanese sense of identity.

        • All my country’s Jews get treated this way. When you’re here, you’re treated equally as all the other Jews. See? Not fascism at all.

          *Replace “Jews” with “head-tattoos,” gajins, barbarians, etc.

        • WRONG. She is judged by the same rules they judge their own. She is equal to the Japanese. Or what you want is for some people to be above Japanese– all animals are equal, some are just more equal than others. That’s fascism.

      • But the law was made to keep yakuza out of the onsens, its diferent a person with a maori tatoo wich is her culturar heritage and a yakuza with a dragon or cherry blossoms or watsover, its completely diferent.

      • Actually, you can’t admit anyone, because if having the tattoo (and not some sort of resultant cultural impact) is the disqualifying condition, you’d have to make sure people who you let in don’t have any, and that doesn’t only mean looking under their mosaics. Which is unenforceable in practice.

        By a similar token, if you want to have gender separation you have to make sure the ladies’ quarters are at all times off limits to male cleaning staff and conversely.

      • No, it hasn’t. There are still tattoos that have a certain connotation and might still give you problems even in the west.
        Among them, gang tattoos or tattoos criminals get in prison.

        It’s still perfectly possible that a company will not hire you because you have a tattoo in a visible location. Of course that’s not OK from a legal perspective, but it’s not like you will directly be told the reason. The rule of thumb normally is: What’s beyond the area a t-shirt will cover is not acceptable.

        Getting tattoos strictly for the fashion aspect really is a new thing, even in the west. It only entered the mainstream in the 1990s, before that you could pretty much say that a person with a tattoo was part of a certain clientèle, for example seamen or (former) inmates.

  • I don’t really give a shit. She is just a woman with tattoos. If tattoos are forbidden. Then you are not allowed to enter.

    Since we live in a world where everyone is supposed to be equal. then don’t fucking whine when that equality shit fucks you up in the ass.

    • More or less the same as a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” sign, only perhaps a little harder to circumvent. Regardless is “no smoking” can be enforced by places then there’s absolutely no reason a “no tattoo” policy can’t as well, ESPECIALLY in a PRIVATE buisness, where they can mostly set their own rules.

      Different strokes for different folks.

        • So who decides what is a marking “reserved for organized criminals” and one that is “cultural”? You are an idiot if you don’t see how allowing the picking and choosing of which tattoo’s can enter into a place of business is the wrong answer. You either ban them all or ban none.

          Let me put it another way. In japan, “loli” manga is not liked. But it is accepted. You won’t get arrested for owning it, you could even say it is a facet of otaku culture. In the west, you will get arrested if caught trying to bring some in, as has been proven numerous times. Here, we don’t see those comics as anything different from child pornography. So say a japanese person tries to print and distribute some in the west. Is it “racially insensitive” that he gets arrested for trying to distribute something that is culturally acceptable where he comes from? He wasn’t going to harm anybody.

          If your answer is yes, it is racially insensitive, then is it not an even worse injustice that this happens in our own countries? People with tattoos aren’t arrested for it in japan, after all. If it’s no, then shouldn’t we accept that there are simply differences in cultures and learn to accept them as they are?

        • It’s not the tattoo thing itself that’s racist you idiot. It’s the fact that the tattoo rule is racially insensitive. It’s one thing to ban a marking that is traditionally reserved for organized criminals, but when something is a cultural marking of respect or honor, that needs to be taken into account. This old lady wasn’t any danger to anyone, so banning her was wrong.

        • No. You can’t choose to be black, but you can choose to not get a tattoo or you can cover it up or you can remove it. It’s not the same thing at all. And don’t make a joke of black struggle for freedom by comparing it to this.

        • Tattooed people are there own race now? If I wear a fedora, does that make me part of the fedora race? If it does, does that mean it’s racism when people look down on those who wear a fedora? Just wondering.

  • It is argued that race has no biological or genetic basis:[16][17][18][19] gross morphological features which traditionally have been defined as races (e.g. skin color) are determined by non-significant and superficial genetic alleles with no demonstrated link to any characteristics, such as intelligence, talent, athletic ability, etc. Race has been socially and legally constructed despite the lack of any scientific evidence for dividing humanity into racial baskets with any generalized genetic meaning.[20][21][22][23]

        • No, I’m talking about race.

          Race –> appearance
          “races are distinct populations within the same species”

          Breed –> characteristics
          “A breed is a specific group of domestic animals or plants having homogeneous appearance, homogeneous behavior, and other characteristics that distinguish it from other animals or plants of the same species and that were arrived at through selective breeding.”

    • The same Wikipedia article is filled with various opposing viewpoints on the definition, desirability and utility of the concept of race.

      If race is a concept filled with problems, what about the concepts of ethnicity, population, and subspecies? Biologists find the concepts of population and subspecies to be valuable in localized studies of non-human species. Without the concept of ethnicity, one loses the concept of a distinct, local culture. Yet the concept of ethnicity can create just as much social conflict and injustice as the concept of race.

      Rather than getting bogged down in what is essentially a problem of taxonomy and semantics, I think one needs to tackle social problems by focusing on the importance of treating individual people as people first, and not as an undifferentiated representative of a larger group, unless one were doing a scientific study of a defined population for some valid reason, which could be cultural as well as biological.

  • Jesus Christ, why would someone get a tattoo like that, it looks like she is vomiting black sludge. Fuck culture, I don’t care how much respect it would get me in my hometown I would never get an ugly tattoo like that because to the rest of the world I would lose all respect.

    • you don’t have much choice, usually.

      For example, if you’re born a jewish boy, you’ll probably lose your foreskin (and they won’t ask your opinion about it).

      Cultures are often like that, sadly.

    • It is just like those people that strech their ear lobes. Some groups find it pretty but I find it ugly. Maoris have face tattoo men use full face while woman ise that goatee and they like it. Anyway I think laws should be better written. I don’t think anyone would mistake that woman with a Yakuza.

  • Japs like to think they are so superior to the other Asians- Chinese, Koreans, SE Asians, whatever. The fact is that they all are barely at the level of modern civilization “culturally” (they got the daily life part down fine ofc), and that includes Japanese. It’s the old “white man’s burden” concept, which truly is ever present. If not for European/North American influence, these people would still be living life like it’s 1000 years ago.

    • WTF this is simply about a private premise with a set of entry rules. Had this been a some pro-nationalist wholly Japanese blooded person walking into the Onsen, they would’ve been treated the same way.

      • Funny thing about Japan, there’s only ONE law that protects against discrimination. That law being that no man/woman can be turned down an empty bed. That’s right, a hotel/inn cannot deny you basic service for the night. BUT, they can deny you their other services.

        So while they allowed this woman the basic use of their inn, ala room, they can deny her any other services they provide at their discretion. Japan does not see racism or discrimination for any other form of human rights offenses.

        Hiding behind ‘keeping yakuza out of the onsen’ is a joke. In truth, it’s just an excuse to keep foreigners & other undesirables out. What difference does it make if ‘yakuza’ can’t use the onsen, if they can still stay inside the same inn as ‘law abiding citizens’? It doesn’t.

        And lets be honest, no hotel manager is going to turn down ‘yakuza’, when they’re all afraid of having their establishment trashed by said ‘yakuza’.

        • “Here is a newsflash: If you find tattoos ‘scary’, YOU ARE THE ONE WITH A PROBLEM!”

          Here is a newsflash: If you find that you can force your views (my tattoos should be forced on anyone even on their own property), YOU ARE THE ONE WITH A PROBLEM!

          You did not understand the first poster at all. They said ‘if you find tatoos scary’. They didn’t say they are forcing any views on you, just that tatoos in itself are not scary.

        • “Here is a newsflash: If you find tattoos ‘scary’, YOU ARE THE ONE WITH A PROBLEM!”

          Here is a newsflash: If you find that you can force your views (my tattoos should be forced on anyone even on their own property), YOU ARE THE ONE WITH A PROBLEM!

        • “Exactly, 23:41. They are NOT going to turn down the real Yakuza, this is an attempt at discrimination against anyone who dares to exercise their right to put what they want onto their own body.”

          But you can do what you want with your own body. Just don’t come into my business. My rights in wanting my place to be free of people like you are just as valid as your rights to put tats on your body. I am not stopping you from tattooing your body. But when the tattoo owner says “I want to paint my body with tattoos and everyone else has to bear it– fuck everyone else” that’s something extra. That’s forcing ME to change my ways. But then why should your right to tattoo your body be more important than my right to control who I want to see on my own property?

          Outside of ad hoc rationalizations, there are no reasons why one is more important than the other. A tattoo owner can get a tattoo if he wants it, and he can find a different onsen if he wants. But once you force me to accept whom I don’t want to accept, you take all my freedom away and give it to the other guy. On what grounds? Well there are no grounds, it’s all just ad hoc bullshyte.

        • Exactly, 23:41. They are NOT going to turn down the real Yakuza, this is an attempt at discrimination against anyone who dares to exercise their right to put what they want onto their own body.

          Here is a newsflash: If you find tattoos ‘scary’, YOU ARE THE ONE WITH A PROBLEM!

  • I suppose the onsen’s statement kinda makes sense. If they make an exception for her, other uninformed, uncultured Jap regulars are gonna take that as an offense.

    I blame the politicians first and foremost for even making tattoos an issue in the first place.

  • People with tattoos need to do their research before they go to an onsen. Tattoos are banned because the reason the customer has a tattoo does not matter– they all make other patrons uncomfortable. They’d rather have one customer complain that they are not allowed in the bath than have the rest of the customers complain that they had to bathe with someone with tattoos. Japanese are obsessed with cleanliness and keeping the bathwater clean and see a tattoo as dirty.