Document Type


Document Subtype


Presentation Date


Conference Name

24th Annual Asia Symposium: Japan Miyabi

Conference Location

College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL

Peer Review



Tattooing, as one of the oldest practices surviving in contemporary societies, represents the complex nature of globalization. In Japan, where Confucian doctrines strongly reflect many aspects of its culture, the recent global consumerism has created mixed attitudes toward tattooing practices. Due to historical and sociocultural backgrounds, getting tattooed are often associated with criminal activities and rebellion against society. Despite the fact that tattooed people are often stigmatized and frequently conceal their tattoos in contemporary Japan, more tattooists and tattooees overtly present themselves as members of a tattoo culture within that context. Describing a history of Japanese tattooing, Mieko Yamada explains values, beliefs, and practices associated with tattooing during the pre-modern and feudal periods. She also discusses how these have shaped and modified the modern cultural practices and how the latter are being influenced by globalization and postmodern values and practices.


tattooing; Japan; popular culture; cultural studies; cultural hybridity


Critical and Cultural Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sociology | Sociology of Culture