• Fujieda, Shizuoka


I agree with all of Debito Arudou’s Dec. 1 article, “A level playing field for immigrants.” It’s sad to see Japan, which is supposed to be one of the leading countries, falling short. The article should have included a section on how to teach Japanese society to be less fearful of non-Japanese people, and something different. Just the other day my wife (who is Japanese) and I went to a new gym to register for membership. Everything was going great until the part where I had to check off personal items; one of the questions was, “Do you have any tattoos?” I do. After that, all politeness disappeared and I felt very uncomfortable.

Japan needs to enforce the nondiscriminatory laws that it has. I know there is this huge fear of yakuza, but I’m American and have no ties with them. Needless to say I would not now join the gym; thus its loss of a business opportunity. What about all the onsens that do not allow people with tattoos? A lot of people around the world have them, so how can they come and enjoy “Japanese tradition” if the people and the government — by not stopping these practices — don’t welcome them?

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