Ayaka Kizu, a web designer in Tokyo, stood by her office desk one recent day, peeling Band-Aids off an apple-size portion of her right arm. A meeting with clients had ended, so she was now free to reveal what lay underneath: a tattoo of a multicolored unicorn.

Kizu, 28, is one of a growing number of young people who are bucking Japan’s long-standing taboos against tattoos, which remain identified with organized crime even as the Japanese mob has faded and body art has become widely popular in the West.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.