Mayor of Osaka, Toru Hashimoto, posits he wouldn’t hire Johnny Depp or Lady Gaga as civil servants due to their tattoos.
In case you’re not a follower of Japanese politics: Toru Hashimoto, decidedly far-right mayor of Japan’s third largest city, doesn’t care for tattoos. He especially doesn’t care for them if they happen to be on city employees. On his order, Osaka civil servants, with the single exception of those employed by the education board which refused to comply on civil rights grounds, were forced to fill out a questionnaire and state whether or not they had any tattoos on their arms, legs, or other visible-to-the-public parts. Unable to sack the some 110 workers who admitted having been inked, Hashimoto is instead trying to force them to have their tattoos removed. If that doesn’t work, he’s stated he intends to ship them off to jobs where they’ll have no contact with the public.
When asked what he thought about popular foreign stars such as Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga having tattoos, Hashimoto responded that he wouldn’t want them on his workforce.
“If Gaga or Depp wanted to work for Osaka, I’d refuse them. Maybe singers and actors can have them,” he said, “but it’s unforgivable for a civil servant to have one. Although there’s no way Gaga would accept Osaka.”
Though neither celebrity has announced plans to move to Japan and enter the highly lucrative street sweeping business, both are undoubtedly very disappointed by Hashimoto’s preemptive dismissal.
Hashimoto, a former TV personality who claims he stopped dying his hair brown upon being elected because it would be improper, began his campaign against body art after an incident in which an employee at a child-care facility was caught showing his tattoos to a child. There’s a longstanding taboo against tattoos in Japan, as many consider them a sign of criminality.