A crane tattoo is a type of tattoo where the crane is depicted on the body of the tattoo.
It has long been a popular way to mark one’s identity.
But the practice has been increasingly stigmatised by authorities in Japan.
“I’ve never seen it in public,” says Hiroshi Yoshimura, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tokyo.
“It’s a way of saying ‘I don’t like the idea of being a foreigner’.” This week, Yoshimura was asked by the Japanese parliament what he thought of the symbol.
“In a society where we are all foreigners, there’s no reason for people to put their heads on a crane,” he said.
“If it’s something that’s associated with foreigners, it should be considered something for foreigners.”
What do the tattoos say about Japanese culture?
The tattoo has been widely discussed in Japan, but the meaning is less clear.
“Japanese culture is a place where we try to be respectful and respectful of other people,” Yoshimura says.
“But we also like to do things that are different from what the rest of the world does.”
The symbol is also sometimes associated with an anti-Japanese sentiment.
“They’re always saying, ‘If you think that we’re just like them, then you’re wrong’,” says Yoshimura.
If we can have different attitudes towards foreigners, then maybe we’ll have a chance to be more tolerant of each other.” “
What’s the point of it?
If we can have different attitudes towards foreigners, then maybe we’ll have a chance to be more tolerant of each other.”
Is there anything to the controversy?
A large number of Japanese men and women are tattooed on their bodies every day.
Yoshimura suspects that some of the tattoos are part of a cultural tradition to be carried on by men in Japan and overseas.
However, others have criticised the tattoos for being sexist.
“There are some men who have tattoos on their body,” says Yoshimoto.
“These guys are doing this to express their femininity, to show their own strength and masculinity.
I don’t know why.
But I don and I’m sure it’s just a joke.”
Is it illegal?
The Japanese government says it has a clear law on the matter.
However it is unclear whether the tattoo on Yoshimura’s arm is part of the law or not.
It is illegal to sell or give tattoos, and tattoo removal can cost thousands of dollars.
Yoshimoto has filed a complaint against the police in Osaka, but he’s not sure what the outcome will be.
“We don’t want to have any kind of legal proceedings,” he says.
“[But] I’m still concerned about what could happen to me.”
In March, the government of Japan signed an anti, hate and xenophobia act that prohibits “hate speech and discriminatory acts”.
Yoshimura fears this could mean the tattoo industry in Japan could be closed down.
“The law is pretty clear, but it’s not clear what it means,” he explains.
“Even though it’s been in force for two decades, I can’t say what will happen in the future.
I can only hope that we will have more freedom to express ourselves.”
The National Association of Tattoo Producers in Japan has been working to make the tattooing industry safer.
It works to ensure that tattooing is regulated by a licensing body, and to encourage and support tattoo artists.
“This is a very difficult and sensitive subject for many people,” says the association’s executive director, Takashi Ohtsuki.
“At this time, the tattoo artist is the one who has the responsibility to protect the artist and the community.”