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The Supreme Court of Japan Rules That Tattooing is No Longer Illegal | Japanese Design Books By Horimouja


For the first time in Japan's history - the Supreme Court of Japan has ruled that it is no longer illegal to tattoo without a medical license.  Japan's timeline of tattoos, also known as 'irezumi' has been quite turbulent, with the laws surrounding the practice of tattooing changing over the years.  Because of this, and due to certain associations with the criminal underworld, tattoos are often thought of as taboo in Japan even in the modern times. Last week saw a momentous time for tattooing in Japan after a groundbreaking ruling by the Supreme Court. 

The case in question involved a 32 tattooist named Taiki Masuda, who had been fined 150,000 Yen (around £1,105) after he tattooed 3 people.  The case was initially denied by the second-highest court in Japan who ruled that tattooing without a medical license was no longer illegal, but this was appealed by the state attorney. It gained traction and eventually landed with the Supreme Court, who thankfully threw the case out, and concluded that it was not illegal.

Prosecutors argued that tattooing was effectively a medical procedure, however the court ruling responded to say that "Tattoos require artistic skills different from medicine, and that it cannot be assumed that doctors do the act exclusively."  We're ecstatic with this news, and it's definitely been a long time coming, however the social stigma around tattoos in Japan is still somewhat problematic.  Here's to hoping that this huge decision ruled by the court can help to erase the taboos around tattooing now that tattoo artists will no longer be criminalised. 

There's a long way to go with eradicating the taboos and misconceptions around tattooing, and not just in Japanese culture - but is seems that slowly but surely the social stigma surrounding tattoos is being dismantled. 

For those who love Japanese style tattoos, we have the perfect set of design books available to purchase from our store. A selection of books by legend Horimouja, from Hannya Masks, to snakes, check out these incredible Japanese design books from Horimouja.

Love from the Magnum Tattoo Supplies Team

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  • Antonia McLoughlin