Japanese Teachers Asked To Remove Tattoos Visible To Students

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   (2012-06-27 00:00:00)

Washington: Teachers in Osaka, Japan's third-largest city, have been asked to remove any tattoos, so that they don't embarrass themselves in front of their students.

Tattoos , especially large, intricate designs, have traditionally been associated with yakuza, or gang membership, in Japan.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, a rising political star, has launched a full-scale crackdown on tattoos last month demanding that public employees, including teachers, to disclose their ink stains in a mandatory survey.

According to survey result, of more than 32,000 city workers, 113 admitted to having tattoos. Ten of 17,000 teachers confessed.

The city has been quick to point out that one of the tattoos belonged to an elementary school teacher.

Body art are largely banned from swimming pools, gyms, popular onsens (hot springs) and some major companies.

Even places that are more accepting ask people to cover up their inking to avoid any speculation.

But younger Japanese have become increasingly accepting of tattoos, using the body art to make a fashion statement.

The Osaka survey asked the employees to disclose any tattoos on their body, both visible and concealed. They were also required to detail how long they had had them.

A welfare officer "inspired" the mayor's crackdown earlier this year after he repeatedly showed up at work in a T-shirt, baring a large tattoo on his shoulder, Eiji Miki of Osaka's personnel department said.

"It made a lot of his co-workers uncomfortable, especially because he worked closely with young children," ABC News quoted Miki as saying.

With the poll results in, Osaka is now considering what to do with all the tattooed workers.

Miki said that those people in positions that require daily interaction with members of the public would be relegated to a "behind-the-scenes" role.

The city has no plans to expel the teachers, and has instead asked them to remove any designs that are visible to students.

"[The teachers] plan to remove the tattoos, so they don't embarrass themselves further in front of their students. I hope they can refocus on teaching," Hashimoto, a conservative populist, said.

Hashimoto has raised eyebrows in the past with his policies. Earlier this year, he had introduced regulations that required teachers to sing the national anthem during school ceremonies.