Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Program Announcement: Japan Travel 2014 Intern Program Begins

This announcement was passed along to me from a colleague (Thanks, SZ). While VAOJ does not necessarily endorsement any program, this internship looks like it might be worth looking into.

Following on from our inaugural photojournalism internship in 2013, JapanTravel KK is pleased to announce the launch of its 2014 program. We are looking for foreign students and recent graduates of photojournalism and videography courses to live and work in Japan for 6-8 weeks this year.

* If you are a photojournalist you will be photographing an assigned area of Japan and writing short stories about your experiences. Our expectation is 1-2 articles a day, and you can be a native in either English, French, Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian, Korean, or Chinese.

* If you are a video journalist, then you will also be assigned a region to cover and will be expected to produce an edited 2-3 minuteclip every two days.

For more information, go to:

Saturday, February 1, 2014

More tattoo controversy in Osaka: "Female Osaka school clerk's pay docked over tattoos"

From Japan Today, 2/1/14:

A 23-year-old woman who works as a school clerk in Osaka has been disciplined for having tattoos.

The woman had her salary cut for one month for violating ethical rules, the Osaka board of education said, NTV reported Friday.

According to the board, the woman got three tattoos from 2012 to 2013: one on her left arm and two on her left ankle. There was an anonymous call to the school complaining about the tattoos, which prompted the board to investigate the case.

NTV reported that the woman has agreed to have her tattoos removed.

This is the first time an Osaka government employee has been punished for having tattoos since Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto announced an anti-tattoo policy in June, 2012.

Hashimoto conducted a compulsory survey in which all employees of the city government were pressured to provide information about visible and concealed tattoos. Hashimoto said the local government would block the promotion and advancement of any city employee who declined to respond to the survey asking them if they have tattoos.

The survey was criticized by lawmakers and teachers throughout the prefecture, where about 800 teachers and other school workers refused to respond, saying it infringed on their right to privacy.

Source: http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/female-osaka-school-clerks-pay-docked-over-tattoos

VAOJ has long been covering this tattoo controversy. I have had students who have done research on tattoos in contemporary Japan. The difference between yakuza and other (dare I say western influenced) tattoos is quite obvious. Tattoos for visual kei and other popular culture fans are becoming more common as well. One might wonder why Osaka mayor Hashimoto is so concerned about tattoos when there are other more pressing issues to consider... Personally I would not mark my body with ink. But I know many people who have done so with their tattoo having an extremely personal and important meaning. Should they really be socially punished?