Tattoo bias shows Japan’s colors

Chikushino, Fukuoka

Regarding the May 18 article “Osaka’s Hashimoto puts municipal workers’ tattoos into the limelight“: I am quite disappointed in Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto’s decision to “out” municipal workers who have tattoos and to suggest that they should find employment in other fields.

This is the same type of bias and discrimination that are indirectly responsible for the extended state of stasis and lack of growth that we have been experiencing for the past two decades.

Since when does a person’s external features dictate the quality of their work, their work ethic, their personality, or the value of what they contribute to society. If people with tattoos are to be feared and shunned, then should we judge all Japanese based on the nation’s history and attitudes toward its Asian neighbors? Are most Japanese racists, elitists and warmongering sadists?

When we look at those countries that have excelled, it is those that have openly accepted the differences and life choices of their citizens, as long as those choices cause no harm to others. Today it is those with tattoos, tomorrow it might be those with alternative lifestyles, then maybe the physically or mentally disabled. When and where will it stop? At what point will Japan step into the future and stop grouping, judging and excluding others because of outdated, and often incorrect, misconceptions? Here in Japan we frown on drunken behavior, yet turn a blind eye to the millions of salarymen who do just that on a weekly basis.

If Japan is to survive, these attitudes need to change. We need to stop electing officials who perpetuate these attitudes so that we can effectively and successfully participate in the global society that is currently leaving us behind.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

jason pierre