Thanks to the Facebook page Save Tattooing in Japan I have been in contact with Manuel Chillagano. He was so kind to share and translate this interview, with the people behind Save Tattooing in Japan. He himself is a documentary photographer and the moderator of the English version of Save Tattooing in Japan. Would you like to know more about the history of the traditional Japanese tattoo? Click right here.
AVO Blog: Could you please introduce yourself and your profession to our readers?
Save Tattooing in Japan: Our team consists of the following members:
-Kiyoshi Shimizu (Web designer from Osaka)
-Sachiyo Yamada (Videographer from Kyoto)
-Nao Kageyama (from Osaka )
-Manuel Chillagano (Photographer and translator from Germany)
-Taiki Masuda and the tattoo artists around him are the core members of our team.
AVO Blog: I hear a lot of disturbing news surrounding the art of tattooing in Japan. Could you please explain why the government is putting another “taboo” on tattooing?
Save Tattooing in Japan: Japanese tattoo artists affected by the recent police crackdown did not have a doctor’s license; the ministry of health, labour and welfare had issued an offical notice, that only people who have a doctor’s license are legally allowed to perform any kind of skin penetration practice. However, this official notice originally was meant to only affect the performing of permanent cosmetic treatments when low-quality beauty salons became a problem in 2001. Unfortunately, even tattooing became a target of this law, despite sharing no similarities with above mentioned permanent cosmetic treatments.
AVO Blog: Is this “taboo” effective in all of Japan, or just in specific prefectures?
Save Tattooing in Japan: The last police crackdown affected 9 people in Osaka and Nagoya, but the law is effective in every prefecture. In the near future more arrests are bound to happen, which means at this rate there is a worrisome possibility that the practice performing tattoos is going to disappear from Japan altogether.
AVO Blog: What would be the consequences for a tattoo artist practicing their profession?
Save Tattooing in Japan: Performing tattooing without having a doctor’s license results in dire consequences for the practicing tattoo artist. They get arrested and, in most cases, have to pay a painfully high fee. Some tattoo artists start to work as a regular designer or even search for a job in apparel stores.
AVO Blog: What can a tattoo artist do to get legal permission, so they can practice their profession?
Save Tattooing in Japan: In order to perform tattooing legally as a tattoo artist, a specialized license system for tattooing has to be introduced.
AVO Blog: Would you say the actions of the government are pushing the tattoo scene underground? That sounds like history repeating to me.
Save Tattooing in Japan: We won’t let something like that ever happen again. This time we got help from all over the world. There won’t be such thing as letting the tattoo scene pushed underground.
AVO Blog: Do you know of tattoo artists that are leaving or have left Japan so they can at least work?
Save Tattooing in Japan: We actually indeed heard of some artists who left Japan after the recent incidents and police crackdown.
AVO Blog: You have started a petition online concerning the government imposed taboo. What do you hope to achieve when you reach enough signatures?
Save Tattooing in Japan: Our ultimate goal is to gather 100.000 signatures for introducing a license system and have the current legal interpretation, which is out of touch with reality and the times, reviewed to help creating an environment where tattoos can be enjoyed like in other countries. We furthermore hope to secure tattooing as an individual form of art until the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 so that foreign tattooed individuals can visit Japan without being discriminated and confronted with excessive prejudices.
AVO Blog: Concluding, is there anything you would like to say to our readers?
Save Tattooing in Japan: We are really looking forward to gather all of your support to be able to protect the freedom of self-expression and the Japanese tattoo culture by introducing a specialized license system for tattoo culture.
Thank you for having us!
I would like to thank everybody who made it possible to conduct this interview. Would you like to know more about the developments regarding tattooing in Japan? Please follow the page’s of Save Tattooing in Japan.
Save Tattooing in Japan (English) or Save Tattooing in Japan (Japanese).