World Rugby has advised players and supporters to cover up their tattoo marks during next’s year World Cup in Japan to avoid causing offence.
According to the Telegraph, World Rugby urged the 20 participating teams as well as fans planning to attend the event, to cover up any body markings in public for fear of causing offence because tattoos in the country are associated with the Yakuza, the Japanese mafia.
‘We will make [Japanese] people aware around the facilities that players will use in the country that people with tattoos in a World Cup context are not part of the Yakuza,’ said tournament director Alan Gilpin.
‘That’s where the issue comes from. We have done a lot in the last year or so with the teams to get them to understand that,’ Gilpin explained. ‘When we raised it with the teams a year or so ago we were probably expecting a frustrated reaction from them but there hasn’t been at all. That is a great tribute to the sport itself and to the rugby players themselves.
‘They all also buy into the idea of putting on a rash-vest in the pool or in a gym as they want to respect the Japanese culture. If they are using a public pool they will have to cover up.
‘Players will also have to wear different trainers indoors and outdoors. It will all be self-policing. We won’t force any teams to cover up but they will want to because they want to be seen to be respecting the culture.’
Photo: Andres Larrovere/AFP Photo