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Old 11-05-2008, 07:13 PM
 
Location: Gettysburg, PA and NJ
9 posts, read 39,621 times
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In the US, especially with today's tattoo craze, I find it relatively common to see Japanese/Chinese Kanji tattooing on non-Asian individuals.

Out of curiosity, is this kind of tattooing prevelant at all in Japan, or is it a Western fad? Do native Japanese who observe this art find it silly and/or offensive?
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Old 11-06-2008, 02:04 AM
 
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I'm not Japanese put I think it's silly. Why would you get a tattoo you can't even read? For all you know it could say "My mum is a ****".
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:47 AM
 
5,823 posts, read 10,150,738 times
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Japanese or not, tatoos are ugly, low class.
But on hookers it's a definite turn on (lol)!
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:41 PM
 
Location: Up in the air
19,121 posts, read 26,671,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pigeonhole View Post
Japanese or not, tatoos are ugly, low class.
But on hookers it's a definite turn on (lol)!

Lovely.

Anyway... I have a full sleeve and backpiece in progress, not in Japanese style, but my friend has two half sleeves that are both 'japanese' style. He went to college over in Japan and fell in love with the culture. He speaks fluently in many dialects and collects Japanese books and art. For him, it reminds him of what he loves and that the Japanese culture is a HUGE part of his life even though he's a 24 year old white guy


I think it really depends on the reasonings behind it. He has some kanji but translated it himself, the people who get kanji tattooed and have NO idea of what it says are bound to be in for a funny surprise later in life
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Gettysburg, PA and NJ
9 posts, read 39,621 times
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Thanks for the reply Jet,

Your friend sounds like a very interesting and devoted person.

I too am very interested in tattooing, probably getting my first within the next year.

Like your friend, I'm also deeply interested in Japanese culture, and study the language at my college.

I'm considering studying abroad there within the next few years, and want to take into consideration what the Japanese perspective is on the kanji/japanese culture related tattooing, should I decide to follow a path similar to that of your friend along the way.


Does anyone else, perhaps someone whos lived there, have a say on the subject?
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Old 11-06-2008, 07:56 PM
 
Location: southern california
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tattoos are not cute in japan they are often gang membership indicators and you can be refused service in many public settings bek of it.
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Old 08-09-2009, 02:34 PM
 
16 posts, read 61,292 times
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Pigeonhole: Expressing art on your skin is low class, but prostitution is ok? Way to have your priorities in order.
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Old 08-09-2009, 03:59 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
13,856 posts, read 22,955,873 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huckleberry3911948 View Post
tattoos are not cute in japan they are often gang membership indicators and you can be refused service in many public settings bek of it.
Yes, this jibes with what my sister in Japan says. Tattoos there are often linked to gang-membership, etc. (Possibly they make an exception if you're like Ainu or Polynesian, but I don't even know about that)

I have at times considered getting a small/simple Chinese character tattoo because I took a year of Chinese and know what several characters mean. The character for "Heaven" is relatively simple and kind of pretty. As is the character for "book" (Shu), which might fit my traditionally bookish personality. Although I doubt I could handle the pain. (Then again I've had 200 bone fractures due to my condition so you'd think I could, but skin-stuff freaks me more)

Mostly though I think people who do this are a bit silly as they often have to rely on what people tell them a character means. I know of too many people who like to "kid around with the outsider" for me to trust that. If I were to do it I'd only do it with characters I know or remember.
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Old 08-09-2009, 05:30 PM
 
Location: Bayside, NY
823 posts, read 3,374,105 times
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I think the Japanese tattoos are true works of art. In Japan only the Yakuza (Mafia) get full body tattooing.

I have two tattoos. I find nothing wrong with tasteful tattoos, they are just another method of self-expression.
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Old 08-10-2009, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Bike to Surf!
3,080 posts, read 9,939,455 times
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Tatooing in Eastern cultures is considered low-class, as is tanning. Tatoos are usually the mark of a gangster, prostitute, aboriginie, or kid apeing "western" culture.

That said, I don't see anything wrong with tatooing Mandarin characters on yourself if you have a strong connection to the culture and really want to do it. It won't make you fit in anywhere, but you shouldn't get any tatoo based on what other people think.

One thing to note, if you're a westerner going to study or live in Asia--especially if you leave the "western or expat areas"--you're pretty much given a pass on anything you want, because you're a rarity. You can have a blue mohawk, tatooed face, and nipple rings chained through your nose and people will just shrug it off as some weird foreign thing. You can also be clean-cut, wear a suit, and keep a low profile and somebody will still point and shout "laowei!!" like you're a one-eyed purple people-eater, or want to take their picture with you.

Be sure you know what you're doing with the tatoos, though. My spouse and I spotted a big muscular shirtless guy strutting down the Santa Monica Promenade with a giant black mandarin tatoo on his chest. It said: "Waitress"
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