Tattoo on Yakuza (Japanese Mafia)

In Japanese mafia (called, Yakuza), it is recommended to have tattoos on their back side of body, shoulder, and arms to identify themselves as a member of mafia. Design of tattoos is up to members, but bigger tattoos is better also Japanese design hand painted tattoo is preferred. Hand painted tattooing is much more painful than electronic tattooing. And Japanese tattoo design such as pictures of dragon, koi fish, and tigers require a lot of time and because it is very detailed. More time means more pain and this is how yakuza people show their masculinity. This is kind of initiation after people get in the family. Tattoos are not removable from the skin, so this process challenges them to see if they are ready to be in the family or not. That is one of the reasons to get big tattoos, so that it is harder to remove.

This is the best way to identify who is in the member of mafia. Sometimes, people with tattoo on their body are refused to use hot springs, swimming pool, beach, and gym where bare skins might be exposed. They become socially isolated from majority of group, meaning they can not go back to ordinary people’s life. Japanese mafia also has a technical terms to differentiate their society. They call the society of mafia, Ninkyo (任侠). It represents how their world differs from our society and they try not to involve people other than yakuza in their business.