Government Workers in Osaka Forced to Admit If They Have Tattoos

You probably don't have a problem with visible tattoos on people working — whether it be a dolphin on the ankle of the check-out lady at the grocery store or some retro-sailor ink on a cute bartender. But in Osaka, Japan's third-largest city, tattoos are not welcome in the workplace… especially if you're a city employee.

Last month, Mayor Toru Hashimoto demanded that all city workers answer a mandatory survey, disclosing any tattoos on their body. As Akiko Fujita reports for ABC News, they were also required to detail how long they had had them.

A welfare officer "inspired" the mayor's crackdown earlier this year after he repeatedly showed up to work in a T-shirt, baring a large tattoo on his shoulder, Eiji Miki of Osaka's personnel department said.
"It made a lot of his co-workers uncomfortable, especially because he worked closely with young children," Miki said.

And:

Ten of 17,000 teachers confessed, according to results released today. The city was quick to point out that one of the tattoos belonged to an elementary school teacher.

Won't someone think of the children! While it's true that tattoos have traditionally been associated with yakuza in Japan, Fujita reports that younger Japanese are accepting of tattoos. And it seems pretty clear that having a tiny star tattooed on your hip — never seen in the classroom — is not going to harm kids. In fact, doesn't it seem like, if they know about this survey, kids will learn to be wary and anxious about tattoos, thus exacerbating the situation? Also, being forced to tell the mayor about your tramp stamp sounds like hell on Earth.

Japanese City Cracks Down on Tattoos [ABC News]

Image by Andrew Taylor /Shutterstock.