Japan’s Black Market for Tattooed Human Skin

In The Land of the Rising Sun, not everything is as it seems. A place known for its rich ancient history, its cultural delicacies, and more recently for its superb standard of life, Japan also has a darker claim to fame. A secret that I was told is “very, very underground.”

With the writing of my (non-tattoo related) first book out of the way, I have found time to return to the topic of ink on skin, and an issue which I have been wanting to write about since the moment I heard about it almost exactly 12 months ago.

Whilst walking around The Great British Tattoo Show last year, my cider in one hand, and my notepad in the other, I came across a stall and an artist who we shall call Barratt (he wanted to keep his true identity a secret for reasons that will become clear later). He was working out of Scandinavia at the time, but he had been an apprentice in Japan for a number of years, and it was he who told me about the shady world of Japan’s human canvas industry.

Continue reading “Japan’s Black Market for Tattooed Human Skin”

Advertisements

Nuclear Ink

Tattoos, or rather tattoo studios, are like nuclear weapons. And before you think I have gone completely bat-shit crazy and joined the likes of Katie Hopkins in vilifying ink, allow me to explain.

Tattoo studios being like nuclear weapons is of course an analogy, just to make that clear to any conservative grandparents in case they were preparing to come rushing in to say: “I told you so”. It is not because tattoos are expensive, unnecessary, and once used their effects ruin your life, though this may be completely true for nuclear weapons, it is not for tattoos.

Neither is the comparison because of the concern parents would show if their kid were to come home with one. Though some mums and dads are shocked by Callum’s first piece of permanent artwork, this would be nothing compared to the heart attack they would suffer if Callum were to walk through the door cradling a ballistic missile with a two-ton nuclear warhead.

Continue reading “Nuclear Ink”

Fight The Power: Tattoo Discrimination in the Workplace

I was a hundred or so words from finishing this article a few moments ago. It just needed some rounding off and some polishing, and then it was good to send over to the Ed. We had been speaking throughout the day and I had told him that he would have the first draft in his inbox by that evening. Reading back over it though, something wasn’t quite right.

My article was arguing that tattoo discrimination in the workplace should not be illegal. I had done hours of research, I had spoken to numerous friends about it, and I had set out my argument in a clear format, highlighting, what I believed to be the most important aspects of the issue.

Despite reading over what I had written, I was not convinced by my own words. I saw holes in my argument, I saw contradictory logic, and I did not like the message that I was advocating. I must not be alone in reaching the 90 per cent mark of an article before realising I did not agree with what was being said.

Continue reading “Fight The Power: Tattoo Discrimination in the Workplace”

Tattoos Are For Life, Not Just For Christmas

We live in an environment whereby we are encouraged to be constantly updating our own lives. Standing still is falling behind in the fast paced world of the twenty-first century. It is uncommon to wear a football top from more than a few seasons ago, it is unusual to drive the same car for ten years, and it is unheard of to have the same mobile phone for a decade. I wonder whether these attitudes in part have a role to play on the issue and perception of tattoos.

Advances in laser treatment aside, a tattoo is by and large a permanent fixture upon the skin of the person who gets it. Though it may fade, it may morph with the changing of your skin, and it may become damaged, the tattoo is likely to be the longest lasting item you will have ever purchased.

I believe that we live in a throw away society, and this mentality may be a factor in why tattoos are still so frowned upon by certain people.

Continue reading “Tattoos Are For Life, Not Just For Christmas”

Too Many Too Young

In the last seven years I have acquired a fair few tattoos. The only thing that has really prevented me from getting any more than I have currently, is the lack of disposable income. If the financial gods had blessed me with greater wealth I know that by now I would be approaching full capacity in terms of ink on skin. Given the opportunity I would have had more tattoos, and though this view is shared by many, there are those that feel differently.

Laser treatment aside, the placement of permanent ink on skin means that each time you have a tattoo, you are left with less and less space upon your body. The car park that is your body, is slowly being occupied with vehicles, and once you reach maximum capacity, you cannot add another level. This relationship of permanence and scarcity leads to thinking the question: “Are too many cars being let in too quickly?”, or in tattoo-talk: “Am I getting too many tattoos, too young?”

Continue reading “Too Many Too Young”