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Tattooed rugby world cup fans have been warned they risk being kicked out of Japan’s public baths, as body art is associated with the local mafia.
More than 140,000 supporters from the UK are expected to descend on the country in the next six weeks to watch their teams battle for the Webb Ellis Cup.
But those with tattoos could run into trouble if they expose too much skin, as the Japanese firmly associate inkings with membership of feared ‘yakuza’ gangs in the criminal underworld of assassinations and drug smuggling.
Travel companies poised to transport thousands of fans to Japan have now warned that the “stigma” of body art is so potent that Britons may be excluded from public baths, swimming pools, beaches and water parks.
Historically, tattooing in Japan was used as a punishment for prisoners, but it was later adopted as a membership symbol of yakuza organised crime gangs, which have been a part of Japanese society for centuries.
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