Back when Okinawa was the Ryukyu Kingdom (1429-1879), tattooing the back of women's hands was a common practice, with the tattoos admired by men and women alike for their elaborate designs.

But few people, especially overseas, know the dark side of this history.

The tattoos, known as hajichi, went from a source of admiration to a magnet for social exclusion following an 1899 ban of tattoos by the Japanese government.