For most people the shear thought of having an ink they feel might be cancerous on their bodies won’t make them ever dream of having a tattoo. For others, the new era of many celebrities having a tattoo on their bodies is enough to make them get an image or writing on their skin. But for many medical professionals speaking to individuals coming for blood donations, tattoos are a no no.
“I just wanted to show my girlfriend how much I love her” – words of an individual with a tattoo of the name of his girl friend on his back.
For Japanese, the pleasant coloring, style and mythical symbolism is what is driving many to have a tattoo. This act can be traced as early as the 1830 in the book “One hundred and eight heroes of the popular margin, “a series of woodblock prints by the artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi when it was very popular.
The impact of this book and many others by his contemporaries at the time resulted in many individuals from all the class lines adopting this new style. However, when the government felt this was old fashioned and discourteous, a law was passed in 1872 and there was a ban on tattoos until after the world war II when the ban was lifted.
A walk through history - before the Edo period (1615 – 1868), criminals were marked as punishment and to also deter others from engaging in their acts.
As to why the culture is now gaining grounds in Japan is something we may attribute to growing acceptance around the world and also works of Kuniyoshi.