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Tattoos and Naha

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  • Tattoos and Naha

    I was wondering if tattoos were really frowned upon in Japan. I have three, all can be covered with a T shirt, but if I happen to go out in a tank top, will I get horrible looks? Also, I want to teach English in Naha or thereabouts. Are the tattoos a problem?
    I'm coming from the US and I'm totally in the dark about what to bring with me and what to leave behind, besides knowing I should bring deoderant. I'd also like to see more pictures of Naha. Does anyone know a website with good pics? Or pics of apartments?
    Any info at all about Naha would be greatly appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Tattoos and Naha

    It shouldn't be much of a problem, Jes. My shoulder tattoo is usually covered up, but in the middle of summer even a t-shirt is too hot so I wear a tank top (and this is just in Tokyo- Naha is even hotter). Never had any trouble- not in Tokyo, out in the country, or during a visit to Naha. I actually noticed lots of people with tats in Naha, both foreign and Japanese. Maybe because Okinawa is much more laid-back than the rest of Japan, or maybe because of the US military presence.

    Horrible looks? A few, and a few curious glances, and a few compliments. But that happens anyway, with or without a tattoo visible. Mostly you'll just be ingored- people in cities like Tokyo and Naha are so used to foreigners that you won't find staring is a problem.
    Apparently there are still onsen, sento and gyms that don't allow tattoos, but if you take care and try to cover up as best you can with a strategically draped towel, you should be allright.

    As far as work goes, I'm assuming you won't be teaching in a tank top, so there will be no problems at all.


    • #3
      Re: Tattoos and Naha

      tried to get into Tobu sports club a couple of years back - no chance with a couple of discreet tats - think I'm a gangster.

      Okinawa is, methinks, more accommodating



      • #4
        Re: Tattoos and Naha

        Yeah, some gyms are picky. It's best not to mention your tattoo at all when you join, and make sure to keep covered.

        One place asked me to wear a longer-sleeved t-shirt because with some machines and weights a few cms of my tattoo peeked out. I was also later asked to cover up my tattoo with surgical tape or bandaids- this is after an old lady complained after she saw me soaping up in the shower room (the only time it could have been visable- why was she looking in the first place??).
        But this was a gym with an older clientele in a conservative area, I haven't been bothered at other places.