Thursday, May 3, 2012

"Osaka city gov't surveys employees over tattoos"

Image and story from The Mainichi, 5/2/12.

The city government here has begun surveying all its employees over whether they have tattoos and, if so, which parts of their bodies have been inked, city officials said.

Starting this month, the Osaka Municipal Government is conducting the survey covering some 38,000 employees. The move was prompted by an incident in February, in which a city employee showed their tattoo to children at a welfare facility. Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto ordered the survey be conducted following the incident.

If city officials have tattoos on their arms and legs, the written survey requires them to indicate exactly where and how big the tattoos are, in addition to giving their names.

On May 1, Mayor Hashimoto distributed written instructions to all city employees, stating that "it is inappropriate to work in outfits that will expose your tattoos" and asking them to return their survey responses by May 10.

The survey slip has two simple human figures -- front and back -- on which the inked among Osaka municipal staff must mark where their tattoos are if anywhere from their shoulders down to their fingers, from the neck up, and from their knees down to their toes.

"There won't be any legal problem (with the survey)," said an official with the city's personnel affairs section, adding that the results will be considered during personnel allocation.


This is a pretty watered down version of the story. VAOJ has been critical of Hashimoto and his new policies for a while. Below is a link to a site called Sankaku Complex with a more detailed version of the story and several links to to other posts that show the history of this issue. Please be aware that the site has ads and other content that is adult-oriented in nature.

Link to "Osaka Will 'Deal With' 200 Tattooed Employees" at Sankaku Complex:

One of my students last semester did a very interesting project on modern tattoos in Japan. Her research indicates that attitudes towards tattoos are changing. Check out her blog post (and linked photos and video).

Link to "Tattoo is..." at Eva no ukiyo:

Here is another link to a site called Spike Japan that has details on Hashimoto's personal past (interesting but not so relevant for our purposes) and political ideas and actions (which are relevant and disturbing). 

Link to "Minispike: The Hashist" at Spike Japan:

VAOJ does not endorse or accept responsibility for the content of any linked sites. The links are being offered as data for anthropological research and analysis. You can add to the date with comments to this post.


visual gonthros said...

Here's another version of the story from the Asahi Shimbun:

Dan Moeller said...

This is crazy. And, it's an invasion of privacy. What's funny is this event--when a company decide it needs to take action on a problem and crosses boundaries--this happens in every country.