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Apr 2, 2008

The Body as Canvas

I am in awe by some of the tattoo work I have seen. Japan is famous for its tattoo work (Irezumi), but ironically, the tattoo has a stigma in Japan. Around 1868 the Japanese government outlawed tattoos, and irezumi came to be associated with criminality. Also, traditionally, having a tattoo signified your membership in the Japanese mafia. Tattoos were legalized in 1945.

Nowadays , just because someone has a tattoo does not mean they belong to the Japanese mafia. At any rate, some fitness clubs do not allow you membership if you have a tattoo. Most public swimming pools will not allow you entrance if you have a tattoo, no matter how small it is. Some public baths and Hot Spring resorts also turn away customers who have a tattoo. If you work at a company in Japan, you must take care to keep your tattoo hidden. I don't have a tattoo but have always been attracted to them.

"The Body as Canvas" is my latest series inspired by tattooing of the body.

11 comments:

Red Raider 14 from ETSY said...

Wow! I didn't know the Japanese culture felt this way about tattoos. There are some places in the US that are like that too. We once had a waiter that was having to wear a wrap to keep his covered. There are some schools that don't allow them on teachers or students. Luckily, I don't work at one of those.

Sarah McBride said...

that was very interesting about tattoos in Japan. I always love learning new things like that.
i love the artwork you have done.

tatsuko said...

I have my family name (which happens to be japanese) tattooed on my upper back and I was a little worried about going to the public baths in Japan, but the two I went to didn't kick me out - thankfully!

Your work and photos of your work are lovely :)

Chris Stone said...

Love the picture. And interesting information... I never realized. How do the Japanese view the American tattoo fad? It seems like everyone has one here!

Gallery Juana said...

Tatsuko, glad it worked out for you. My American co-worker will call ahead to make sure the hot spring allows tattoos, but he has several tattoos. That is so cool that your family name is tattoed on your back.

Chris, I think personal opinions vary on the tattoos, but public places tend to be stricter.

Todd Camplin said...

Reminds me of a picasso, only yours is better.

Gallery Juana said...

Todd, thank you!

Racheal said...

This is beautiful!

Neda said...

This is amazing! Can you translate???

P.S. Original said...

Very interesting and so is your art work!

Frances said...

When I first moved to this area of England I was amazed by the numbers of people who had tattoos and piercings. I saw very little of it in London, apart from certain groups. Here it is very common for middle-aged women to have quite intricate tattoos, it is a small town, but has 2 tattoo-parlours. I saw a man yesterday whose whole face was tatooed - like a mask. I found that disconcerting.
Is this a regional thing in Japan as well?
Are you also attracted to piercings?

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