Westernization and Cultural Resistance of Tattooing Practices in Contemporary Japan

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This article examines the popular culture of tattooing in Japan and sheds light on attempts by traditional tattooists to retain a vital presence in the modern-to-postmodern transitional periods. Explaining the values, beliefs and practices associated with tattooing during the pre-modern period, it discusses how these are shaped and modified by modern cultural practices, and how they are being impacted by globalization. While drawing on historical and cross-cultural research on tattooing in Japan, this article incorporates three tattooists' experiences as examples of contemporary practices. By resisting the impact of globalization, traditional tattooists preserve their own practices and pass them on to the next generation.

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... Similar work in other cultural contexts shows the continuing influence of traditional values and the consequences of the inroads made by modernity. For instance, Yamada (2009) explores the prevalence of Japanese tradition and how traditional practices are threatened by the global economy. Diop and Merunka (2013) explore the complex interactions between local contexts and consumerism through the African consumer's attachment to traditional dress styles. ...
... Often, when traditional values strive to remain true to their historical heritage in a changing cultural context (Yamada 2009) with strong elements of consumerism, a state of tension arises. Ger and Belk (1996a) explain this tension as a conflict between the East and West: a clash between "foreign elegance" and "local roughness," leading to frustration. ...
... van Wessel (2004) describes how the consumerist tendencies of the Indian middle class are often viewed as a "moral crisis," resulting in a decline of Gandhian morals. Such cultural tensions have been noted in the fairly extensive body of literature relating to different contexts such as Japan (Yamada 2009), Turkey (Ustuner and Holt 2010), Chile (Stillerman 2004), Vietnam (Nguyen and Belk 2012), and India (Eckhardt and Mahi 2004;van Wessel 2004;Venkatesh and Swamy 1994). Sri Lanka, as a developing country moving toward globalization, is experiencing similar tensions due to the strong hold of traditions on consumer desires in a growing culture of consumerism. ...
Consumers in societies that are still strongly influenced by traditional cultural values experience tension when traditional cultural values conflict with consumerist values. This paper aims at providing a theoretical explanation for these tensions using the theory of Self-discrepancy. The study, conducted in Sri Lanka, used an interpretive qualitative approach, where data were collected through interviews with a middle-class consumer segment from a relatively strong traditional cultural background, but who are also significantly exposed to the consumer culture. The findings demonstrate that cultural tension can be explained as resulting from different forms of Self-discrepancy and that there are differences between the nature and intensity of tension experienced by consumers with different sociodemographic characteristics. In particular, the tension appears to be greater among consumers who had moved to urban areas from rural Sri Lanka, whose affiliation with cultural values is strong, and among parents with dependent children because the children are very strongly influenced by the consumer culture. The theory of Self-expansion in conjunction with the theory of Self-discrepancy is used in the attempt to explain the dynamics between parent and child.
... .Japan, for instance, has a traditional style of tattoos known as Muawari (resembles an un-buttoned vest), and another design like "full body suits" which covers the whole body. These designs depict different meanings; they are hand-made designs which take a lot of time and cause so much pain [28]. Some tribes in Nigeria such as Hausa, Fulani and the Kanuri use temporary tattoo, done with Lalli or Henna paint to adorn a bride [29]. ...
... This result agrees with the findings of Heywood, Patrick and Shelley in their study on demographic and behavioural correlates of tattooing, established that the higher the level of education, the less likely to be tattooed among males and females. It however contradicts the findings of an earlier study carried out by Yamada on westernization and cultural resistance of tattooing [28]. He asserted that in the past tattoos were adorned by labourers and geishas (common women), but in contemporary times intellectuals such as office workers, company executives and people of high ranking professions are tattooing their skin. ...
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The cross-sectional study investigated the social and cultural predictors of tattooing among athletes of Federal Universities in Nigeria. Data was collected from a sample of 594 athletes using a validated structured questionnaire with a reliability index of 0.77. . Data collected were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 21. Multiple regression and logistic regression were used to establish the joint and independent predictors of tattooing among the athletes. The findings of the study revealed that peer influence (P=0.003), family influence (P=0.000), personal achievement (P=0.006) and academic background (P=0.000) were significant social predictors of tattooing among the athletes. Traditional (P=0.000) and religious beliefs (P=0.000) were also found to be significant cultural predictors of tattooing among the athletes. It was concluded based on the findings that the practice of tattooing among Nigerian University athletes followed similar social influence pattern as in other parts of the world. Social marketing was recommended as a veritable tool for health education and communication to enhance informed decisions regarding tattooing among the athletes.
... .Japan, for instance, has a traditional style of tattoos known as Muawari (resembles an un-buttoned vest), and another design like "full body suits" which covers the whole body. These designs depict different meanings; they are hand-made designs which take a lot of time and cause so much pain [28]. Some tribes in Nigeria such as Hausa, Fulani and the Kanuri use temporary tattoo, done with Lalli or Henna paint to adorn a bride [29]. ...
... This result agrees with the findings of Heywood, Patrick and Shelley in their study on demographic and behavioural correlates of tattooing, established that the higher the level of education, the less likely to be tattooed among males and females. It however contradicts the findings of an earlier study carried out by Yamada on westernization and cultural resistance of tattooing [28]. He asserted that in the past tattoos were adorned by labourers and geishas (common women), but in contemporary times intellectuals such as office workers, company executives and people of high ranking professions are tattooing their skin. ...
... Differentiating between identities takes various forms of inclusion and exclusion (Hall, 2000, Yamada, 2009) that highlight similarities and differences between different identities. The construction of self (inclusion) vs. the other (exclusion) took three forms in this study: first is the identification of certain patterns of consumption as related to a particular identity. ...
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Although identity construction has been discussed extensively in relation to consumption, such studies have also been criticised for reducing consumption objects into mere signifiers or symbols of various identities, ignoring the complex meaning construction processes of objects in use. This paper addresses this criticism, through a study of mobile telephone consumption practices in Sri Lanka, by examining how different usage patterns of the mobile telephone could play a role in consumer identity construction processes. The study focuses on three consumer groups: senior business managers, young consumers representing a high socioeconomic stratum, and young consumers representing a lower socioeconomic stratum. The findings indicate that consumers use differences in consumption patterns as a means of distinguishing their identities from those of others; further, varying the consumption patterns is used by consumers to manage multiple identities of the same individual.
... In contrast, more recent studies in India (Eckhardt & Mahi, 2012;Mathur, 2010;Van Wessel, 2004) have identified that, similar to the mod-tradi consumer, elements of tension emerge when Western consumption patterns come into contact with contradicting local cultural values. Still other studies have noted that at times traditional practices get re-interpreted by being incorporated into the global market system (Askegaard & Eckhardt, 2012;Yamada, 2009). For example, Askegaard and Eckhardt (2012) describe how in urban middle class India, yoga, which had been rejected in the recent past as a "grandmothers' practice," has now become an important element of the in-vogue lifestyle after it became popular in the West. ...
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The mod-tradi consumer introduced by Prof. Uditha Liyanage in 'The Sri Lankan Postmodern Consumer' provides interesting insights into how the contemporary Sri Lankan consumer deals with the allures of global consumerism. However, due to the historical socio-political differences between settings, some facets of the mod-tradi consumer are difficult to be explained through Western postmodern theory. Notably, Sri Lankan consumers experience an element of tension in fusing the 'mod' and 'tradi' aspects of consumption, which is markedly absent in the Western postmodern consumer. Further, Sri Lankans relate to tradition with a sense of reverence whereas Western postmodern consumers appreciate tradition only in a aesthetic sense. This book examines such idiosyncrasies of the mod-tradi consumer by discussing contemporary Sri Lankan society in the context of postmodernity.
... Like the Maori tattooing, or ta moko, traditional japanese tattoos are going global (Yamada, 2009). But within Japan a global hip hop culture has lead to a different form of tattooing which, contrarily leaves the formerly deviant and underground tattooing as the standard bearer for 'tradition'. ...
Technical Report
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Welcome to the latest collection from CRIMSOC. The development of CRIMSOC as a significant publisher of international criminological research continues with our fourth Report. As Editors of CRIMSOC/JSC and Co-Editors of this collection, we are particularly pleased with the contributions presented here. These chapters represent interesting and necessary explorations into the key issues of ‘Gender, Victimology and Restorative Justice’. With articles based on high end research and innovative writing, this collection provides insights into the challenges facing women from anti-feminist activists in the “Women Against Feminism’ grouping, in Chapter One, while the odious trafficking of women for prostitution is then examined in the book’s second study. The issue of rape as a subject for debate on internet forums is the subject of our third chapter, echoing the concerns outlined in the opening discussions. In the book’s remaining chapters, the issue of training for young people in prison is outlined in two articles, while the potential solutions which may be provided by Restorative Justice are explored in three separate studies of restorative policy and practice from across the globe. Without doubt, these are subjects of major importance in contemporary society. As such, we feel that this book should be of considerable use to academics and practitioners in all areas of legal and criminological inquiry.
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Due to the increasing tattoo practicing in Eastern countries and general concern on tattoo ink composition and safety, the green tattoo inks Green Concentrate by Eternal, for European and “for Asia Market Only” were analyzed, under the premise that only the former falls under a composition regulation. A separation of the additives from the pigment was carried out by successive extraction in solvents of different polarities, i.e., water, acetone and dichloromethane. The solid residues were analyzed by IR and Raman spectroscopies, the liquid fractions by GC/mass spectrometry. The relative pigment load and element traces were also estimated. We found that the European and the Asian inks are based on the same pigment, PG7, restricted in Europe, though at different loads. They have a similar content of harmful impurities, such as Ni, As, Cd and Sb and both contain siloxanes, including harmful D4. Furthermore, they have different physical-chemical properties, the European ink being more hydrophilic, the Asian more hydrophobic. Additionally, the Asian ink contains harmful additives for the solubilization of hydrophobic matrices and by-products of the phthalocyanine synthesis. Teratogenic phthalates are present as well as chlorinated teratogenic and carcinogenic compounds usually associated to the laser treatment for removal purposes, to a larger extent in the European ink. The composition of the inks does not seem to reflect regulatory restrictions, where issued.
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In different parts of the world, tattoos historically have been expression of the socio-cultural identity of individuals or communities: Tattoos are firmly integrated into social practices as elements of initiation or marriage, in other parts of the world, however, tattoos carry negative associations being linked to immorality, and crime. To research the practice of and places associated with tattooing a research-based study project was designed to address the practice of tattooing from the point of view of its cultural heritage values, both intangible and tangible. In the winter semester 2018/2019 this study project was offered jointly by the Chair of Architectural Conservation and the Department of Heritage Management at the Brandenburg University of Technology (BTU) Cottbus-Senftenberg. Twelve international students from the study programmes World Heritage Studies and Architecture participated in this study project, which included a field trip to London and Oxford and several interviews and interactions with researchers and academics from the fields of tattoo history, anthropology, medical sciences and museography. A collection of students’ essays on this topic is presented in this reader with a particular focus on the tangible and intangible aspects of tattooing, and the spatial history of tattooing based on two distinct areas in London as a case study. The papers are divided into three distinctive themes that are linked to the practice of tattooing. Section one is dedicated to tattoos as a form of heritage, the one to tattooing as a form of art, and the last one to mapping as a methodological tool to visualise, assess and present relationships between heritage, tattooing practice and its connection to the social fabric in London at the turn of the penultimate century.
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Mula sa iisang lahi ang Pilipinas at Malaysia sang-ayon sa pag-aaral na may kinalaman sa paksaing Austronesyo. May mahabang kasaysayan ng ugnayan ang dalawang bansang ito, di lámang sa ekonomikong aspekto, kundi lalo’t higit sa kultural na batayan, at isa na rito ang paggamit ng mga simbolo sa pagbabatik/pagtatatu na nakaugat pa sa relihiyon ng pag-aanito sa mundong Austronesyo. Bagamat naging parehong kolonya ang dalawang bansa ng mga Kanluranin na nagpalawak di lámang ng kapangyarihan kundi maging ng merkado, hindi tuluyang naalis/nakalimutan ang kalinangang nakaugat sa mga bansang ito. Sa kasalukuyan, nagpapatúloy pa rin ang iláng tradisyonal na pang-araw-araw na búhay ng ilang bahagi ng mga bansang ito gaya ng pagbabatik. Nariyan pa rin ang pagpupukpok o tapping process sa pagbabatik na sa kasalukuyan ay dinarayo pa sa kabundukan ng Cordillera ng mga tagasiyudad upang makapagpatatu kay Whang Od. Gayundin, mayroon pa ring kahalintulad na ganitong paraan ng pagbabatik sa Malaysia, sa kaso halimbawa ng mga Iban, Kayan at Dayak. Hindi kataka-taka sa kasalukuyan na kahit nariyan pa rin ang tradisyonal na paraan ng pagbabatik, naghahalinhinan ang tradisyonal at modernong pagbabatik sa mga bansang ito na ang pinakanag-uugnay ay ang mga simbolismong nakaugat sa kanilang malalim na kasaysayan. Mga Susing Salita: Batik, pagtatatu, Austronesyo, anito, Pilipinas, Malaysia
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Tourism spaces are social constructs, and due to their liminal qualities are places in which individuals have enhanced psycho-social space to explore new ways of living and working. One such space is Niseko, a small agricultural community in northern Japan that has, since the early 2000s, transformed into a ski destination through the development of international tourism. Many Australians have settled in the Niseko area and established tourism-based businesses and holiday homes, transforming local streetscapes. Despite evident socioeconomic and environmental change, Niseko has received little academic attention, particularly in regard to advancing understanding of how Niseko is functioning both as a tourism destination and as a unique social and cultural space in Japan. This research aimed to explore the experiences of tourism business owners to offer insight into how Niseko as a social space may be influencing the lifestyles and identities of tourism business owners who live in Niseko, Japan. This research is framed by a social constructivist perspective and takes an interpretive approach which valorises subjective and contextual research participant perspectives. The research was premised by the idea of stories being windows to understanding subjective human experience, and Giddens’ (1991) conceptualisation of self as a self-constructed narrative. Accordingly, the research design drew upon a narrative method of inquiry, specifically designed to illuminate the voices of participants to enhance understanding of experiences of living in a tourism space. Responding to the recognised scarcity of emotionally reflexive tourism research, two creative strategies were employed which resulted in the composition of seventeen micro-stories and seventeen interpretive poems, in response to the participant narratives. The creative interpretations of the data sought to unpack and illuminate the key experiences of the participants and thus served the dual purpose of illustrative data and a method of analysis. In addition to the creative strategies as forms of analysis, a thematic narrative analysis of the narrative and creative data was also undertaken. The research findings revealed Niseko, Japan as functioning as a liminal tourism space which was being shaped by cosmopolitan tourism business owners who relocate there to pursue their ‘second life’ after experiences of living abroad. Five key conclusions were drawn from the findings of this research. These included (1), experiences of living abroad changes both the people and the places they inhabit, (2), liminal tourism spaces are locations in which - 13 - individuals may explore different ways of living and working, (3), lifestyle choices can be understood as part of the narrative of self, (4), narrative methodological approaches have the capacity to generate new connections and knowledge, and, (5) creative research strategies can create, interpret and communicate research data in innovative ways which offer insight into the subjective and multilayered experiences of individuals who construct and shape their lives in tourism spaces. This thesis builds on the emerging research area which explores the link between tourism and lifestyle migration and offers new insight into how participation in tourism businesses can facilitate lifestyle migration. It reveals how experiences of living overseas can influence individuals to establish alternative lifestyles in tourism spaces, underpinned by the desire to live in a way that is more congruent with their sense of self. This research contributes to understanding how highly mobile, cosmopolitan individuals in tourism spaces relate to place and are influenced by it.
This chapter explore the notion of plastic and transformable bodies. Using a wide range of examples, such as fitness, plastic surgery, and the makeover culture, we will explore the contemporary body project. A key question is also how education, class, and contemporary learning processes are contributing to forming young people’s relationships with their bodies. There is largely an absence of well-developed conceptual frameworks within youth studies that focus on the lived body. In recent textbooks on youth studies, we rarely find any sections on how to theorize the body nor any sections on embodiment and the lived body. This chapter will contribute to bringing bodies and carnal knowledge into youth studies.
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The concepts of restorative justice and hate crime are relatively new for contemporary policy and criminal justice practice. An impressive literature on the application of restorative justice initiatives in response to hate crimes is currently being developed. This paper takes a step back with the aim of creating a more indepth understanding of the concepts’ relationship. The paper is based on the findings of a three-year project that used a combination of qualitative methodologies including desk research and fieldwork. International case studies using restorative justice for hate crime were identified while a small-scale qualitative study was carried out with UK policy makers, practitioners and hate crime victims and offenders.
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Drawing upon Frank's (1995) discussion of the personal and social aspects of embodied storytelling, this paper considers the tattoo as a form of visual communication created within a multiplicity of contexts. Based on in‐depth interviews with eight tattooed men and women, the focus of this article is the stories that these individuals tell about their tattoos. I argue that the tattooed body is a distinctively communicative body. It has a great deal to say, not only about the identity of the wearer, but also about the culture in which she lives. I conclude with some reflections on examining the tattoo as a conceptual latchkey—a tool that may enable researchers to begin to unlock the complicated relationship between the body, self‐identity and society.
Viewing the body as both an evocative social text and a vehicle of social resistance, this article explores recent developments within the Neo Primitive (NP) movement. As a segmented branch of the larger body modification cultural scene, Neo Primitives have created individuals have created a renaissance of deeply flamboyant and often radical body marking practices. Members stress the spiritual, emotional, and practical rewards of body modification for those entrenched within (and ultimately oppressed by) hegemonic boundaries of physical expression in the modern metropolis, especially as those boundaries relate to codes of beauty, gender, sexuality, spirituality, and personal creativity. Building on qualitative data gathered in two Canadian cities, and viewing members of this subculture as active agents of counter-expression and dissent, this article explores the ideologies, practices, and lived experiences of NPs attempting to recreate, reclaim, and revolutionize the flesh.
Once considered low class or dangerous symbols, tattoos began to be defined as hip, trendy, and glamorous in the 1990s. Using the increasing popularity of tattoos among nineties youth as an example of moral passage, this article examines some of the interpretive processes at work in the de-stigmatization of deviance. Whereas researchers have positioned political action or population shifts as the main forces influencing moral passage, this article posits a new route toward social change. It builds on participant observation data with a population of middle-class tattooees and examines how individuals attempted to legitimate their tattoos during interactions with others. First-time tattooees in the 1990s are seen as agents caught between multiple symbolic orders - symbolic orders that generated conflicting images of tattoos. Relying on a set of legitimation techniques, middle-class tattooees worked to overcome the negative meanings associated with tattoos by getting body art that conformed to core mainstream norms and values. By examining the creation and use of these legitimation maneuvers, this article reveals the way in which definitions of deviance are negotiated in everyday contexts. In addition, the process of legitimation identified in this article points to one way in which everyday interactions can contribute to larger cultural shifts.
This article argues that tattooing and body piercing in modern societies cannot be naively innocent acts; such activities cannot recapture primitiveness, because they take place within a social context, where social membership is not expressed through hot loyalties and thick commitments. Body marks in primitive society were obligatory signatures of social membership in solidaristic groups, wherein life-cycle changes were necessarily marked by tattooing and scarification. Modern societies are metaphorically like airport departure lounges where passengers are encouraged to be cool and distant, orderly and regulated. The article is thus critical of recent attempts to discover and unearth Dionysian moments of creative tribalism in modern youth groups or working-class communities. Body marks are commercial objects in a leisure marketplace and have become optional aspects of a body aesthetic, which playfully and ironically indicate social membership. They cannot serve as charismatic entrance points to the primitive.
This article discusses key dynamics in the globalization of popular music, more specifically the interplay between technology, social and commercial structure, and meaningful sound forms. It analyses Orquesta de la Luz, an all-Japanese salsa band, as an example of the transgression of ethnic, geographical, linguistic and national boundaries of Latin American music. The band demonstrated the intertwined nature of the global and the local, in addition to the historical formation of modern Japanese culture. Their worldwide fame derived from their musicianship, their synchronicity with the world music boom, and finally the diffusion of digital technology in popular music production and consumption. This article argues that economic and technological conditions are as much constitutive of the band's unique practices as are aesthetic ones. It then goes on to question the dichotomies, 'universalism vs. particularism' and 'creativity vs. copy'. This discussion builds towards an examination of the relationship between purist aesthetics (hyperrealism) and the Japanese concept/method of learning; it also explores the notion of cultural authenticity that located the activities of the band. Paradoxically, Orquesta de la Luz demonstrated that Japanization does not necessarily imply synthesis with vernacular elements for purist musicians. Theoretically, this 'becoming Other' reveals a parallel capacity for self-exoticization and self-orientalization with respect to Japanese identities. Orquesta de la Luz's musical search for the roots of otherness is closely tied with the feeling among many Japanese youth for the loss of Japan's 'genuine' cultural identity. Another focus of this study, then, is to shed light on the relevance of exoticism in the band's foreign reception and to assess their Latino image in the Japanese context.
Known for their striking full-body tattoos and severed fingertips, Japan's gangsters comprise a criminal class eighty thousand strong--more than four times the size of the American mafia. Despite their criminal nature, the yakuza are accepted by fellow Japanese to a degree guaranteed to shock most Westerners. Yakuza is the first book to reveal the extraordinary reach of Japan's Mafia. Originally published in 1986, it was so controversial in Japan that it could not be published there for five years. But in the west it has long served as the standard reference on Japanese organized crime and has inspired novels, screenplays, and criminal investigations. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition tells the full story or Japan's remarkable crime syndicates, from their feudal start as bands of medieval outlaws to their emergence as billion-dollar investors in real estate, big business, art, and more. © 2003, 2012 by the Center for Investigative Reporting and David E. Kaplan.
The following article examines the processes tattoo collectors undergo to become collectors.I examine howtattoo collectors learn that they want to become collectors, are recruited into the social world of tattoo collectors by other collectors and artists, and learn howto interpret their collecting as appropriate for themselves. This ethnographic study is framed in Matza's (1969) theory of the etiology of deviance and Schutz's (1962, 1967) phenomenology.
The social lifestyle ''Straightedge'' is a response to the hedonistic bodily indulgences (e.g., substance abuse, promiscuity) of many North Americans. Practitioners emphasize self-restraint and bodily purity as a ''deviant'' alternative to these practices. Like other socially labelled outsiders, Straightedgers include tattooing in their lexicon of body modification activities. Resultantly, Straightedge tattoos have become signifiers of the group's underlying philosophies of social resistance toward uninhibited bodily decadence. Data collected from interviews with 31 Straightedgers in Canada indicate that tattooing is not constructed as a flamboyant form of social protest by them, but rather a highly controlled method of cultural dissent. To this end, Straightedgers exploit and reframe long-standing cultural stereotypes about the tattooed body in order to ''civilize'' the face of contemporary social resistance in Canada.
Sailormoon est une bande-dessinee et une serie de dessins animes japonais dont l'heroine est une adolescente de 14 ans. Cet article examine ce qui peut expliquer la popularite de Sailormoon et aider a sa diffusion mondiale. L'A. montre en quoi cette serie reflete et resoud les tensions existant entre la culture traditionnelle idealisee et la culture occidentale ou moderne idealisee. Sailormoon apparait donc comme un produit idealement adapte a la mondialisation et l'A. en etudie les strategies de commercialisation notamment a travers les produits associes ou pirates. Enfin, le role des geants de l'industrie culturelle dans la reproduction culturelle est examine, notamment a travers la reproduction de stereotypes feminins : la femme y est largement infantilisee et erotisee
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