In Japan the tattoo culture is anything but mainstream. With the popular association of tattoos with miscreants and yakuza (gangsters), many Japanese tattoo enthusiasts either hide their ink or face criticism.
Osaka mayor Toru Hashimoto has heated up the tattoo debate with his plan to smoke out all tattooed city employees. Hashimoto recently ordered his more than 33,000 employees to take a survey indicating whether or not they had any ink. In the survey, tattooed employees are required to indicate the size and location of the tattoo, as well as when they decided to get the tattoo. Hashimoto has already suggested that tattooed city employees either get their tattoos removed or find another job. So far, about 110 Osaka workers have admitted to having tattoos. Some workers are resisting taking the survey, but Hashimoto has responded by saying he will refuse to authorize promotions for the employees who don’t take the survey. If workers continue to resist taking the survey, they may face possible pay-cuts or suspensions.