In Japan, the world can be written in diverse ways, but each with them have closely different meanings. Irezumi, Horimono, and Shise all can represent the tattoo in Japan. However, most of Japanese skin artists prefer the English word tattoo to irezumi. The reason is not because the tattoos are considered to be unclean, but rather they represent an identification or identity the association with the deviant subculture. Therefore, as that reason having tattoos in Japan are considered controversy.
For finding out why tattoos are discriminated in Japan, first people need to know how the word “irezumi” originated from. Back to 1910, one of the well-known Japanese litterateur, Tanizaki, publicized a short story which named “The Tattooer” in English. In the story, a gigantic spider was inscribed by a tattoo artist on a beautiful and young woman’s body. Since then, the woman’s beauty takes a demonic and compelling power and “irezumi” also takes a deep impression for Japanese.
The creation of the word of “irezumi” is just a beginning of the controversy. During the Edo period, the city in Japan had a large population, and the crime rate followed up. So, the government of Japanese began to punish the criminals by marking ink on their bodies. Japanese authorities will according to the level of crime and the severity of sentencing in the criminals’ arm, wrist, forehead or facial tattooed in a prominent position. This action is named irezumi-kei, with kei referring to penalty,