Culture

Tattoo Artists in Japan Can Now Practice Without a Medical License

The landmark ruling may change the country’s restrictive attitude towards tattoos.

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Tattoo Artists in Japan Can Now Practice Without a Medical License

The landmark ruling may change the country’s restrictive attitude towards tattoos.

Japan‘s Supreme Court has ruled that tattoo artists in the country no longer need a medical license to practice.

In 2001, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare classified tattooing as a medical procedure due to the risks that accompany it. However, the country has long considered tattoos taboo — during the Meiji era, they were banned and, to this day, are still associated with organized crime. Certain Japanese establishments such as public pools, bathhouses and gyms bar tattooed customers.

Perhaps signaling a wider change in attitude, the Supreme Court ruled that tattoos are an artistic expression and don’t violate medical practitioners law. According to a report by The Japan Times, the court’s Second Petty Bench stated that “tattoos require artistic skills different from medicine, and that it cannot be assumed that doctors do the act exclusively.”

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