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How the Yakuza Changed Tattoo Culture in Japan

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Tebori describes the hand-carven technique of Japanese tattooing. It’s a traditional method that dates back to the 17th century, but was once completely banned after being closely associated with the yakuza, Japan’s organized crime syndicates. Tattooing overall in Japan is taboo. The government itself deems that one must be a licensed health professional to tattoo, but the government isn’t issuing licenses to tattoo, leaving the profession in a legal grey zone. In the first episode of Under the Ink, we follow Horimasa Tosui, who tattoos in secret in order to practice his work.

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