Sorry, I have been away on business and neglected the blog. However, it hasn’t left my mind at all. I have had so many positive comments and excellent response regarding the blog that I feel even more confident that this is the right thing to be doing.. Some people have contacted me interested in translating it into other languages such as Spanish and German. I think that this is very good for the Bujinkan community, and energy in the right direction. So, please keep an eye out for other languages.
Now on to my point… This is Japan…so it should be treated like Japan. A very important point of being a budoka, or a ninja is blending in. Unfortunately, in Japan, if you are not Japanese, you stick out like a black sheep amongst many white ones. So what can we do to decrease the impact?
Please remember that we are training in a traditional martial art and despite the very unique openness of our Soke; there are still things that should be avoided. The one that I feel like addressing today is the aspect of Tattoos. However, this is realted to all things and basic common sense can identify simliar things that should be avoided as well.
In the west tattoos are widely accepted and even seen as a form of fashion. To have a tattoo is not necessary attached to a fixed idea, but in Japan, even though not always spoken of, this is not the case.
Japan is becoming more and more westernized and more and more forgiving, however having a tattoo is still a sign of someone being attached to some criminal element. In history, those that are sporting tattoos are considered to be part of Japan’s criminal organization or the Yakuza.
So, the Bujinkan, being a martial art that strictly prohibits the teaching of criminals, is difinately not the place to sport a tattoos. Now, when I say sport a tattoos, I’m referring to the decision you make in how much you show in training. The typically accepted Bujinkan training wear is a pair of Gi pants, a belt and a t-shirt. But if you have many tattoos and wear a tank top, you are being insensitive and disrespectful to the art, our soke, the Shihan and Japan in general. Some will have the additude of “this is no big deal” or “i don’t care”. Well, unfortunatley if this is the case, then it is better if that person just not come to Japan. Becuase this additude is not welcome.
Again, I will reiterate that we have the most open Japanese teacher of Japanese martial arts, but why make yourself a target.
Now, I’m not writing this because I detest tattoos, I’m writing this because we as a community need to be more respectful of our teacher and the culture of Japan. It is up to us to preserve this martial art. Soke is not traveling the world to teach, so we must come here to train with him and in my opinion too many people are not sensitive enough to the fact that this is Japan and think that they are here just for the training and ignore the surrounding environment.
For the goodness of our reputation and for the Bujinkan, consider being considerate. Agian this is by no means limited to tattoos, but too sensitivity to Japanese culture in general and furthermore the basics to blending with your surroundings a very exterme basic of Ninpo.
Soke is constantly teaching us how to NOT make ourselves a target. Try putting that teaching to use, it will make a difference for the individual and the Bujinkan Community.