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(I posted about this incident in the MERRY thread, but nobody cares about them so I've decided to give it its own thread instead.)

So the other day, Nero (MERRY drummer) posted a video of himself being harassed by police as he was on his way to work, specifically a band meeting with the label president. He says he experiences this very often, only because he has tattoos. Eventually when he made it to the meeting (late), nobody believed him when he told them of the incident, so he took this video as proof he wasn't lying. Since then, there have been many people - who call themselves fans btw - calling for the video's deletion because it makes the band "look bad" and that's just the way it has to be...

 

Spoiler

 

 

Fortunately, many fans, plus outsiders who aren't familiar with the band, have also told stories of their encounters with police, whether it be foreign folk or anyone else that appears to be ~suspicious~. As many of you have travelled to Japan, what were your experiences like? Have you ever been harassed by some asshole cop just because of your skin color, the way you dress, etc. while minding your own business? Any advice to those who may be cautious about this, etc? Do you agree with how they do their duties?  How have they affected your experiences in Japan, while either touring, living, studying, or working there? Dish out your thoughts below!

 

*Please note that this is only about police in Japan, not anywhere else.

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I demand that only HOT and SEXY police daddies are allowed to harass my kawaii bandomen, this is unacceptable!!

 

ot wear sleeves to your meetings than, badass.

Edited by nekkichi

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Nero is amazing for uploading this video and speaking up. My friend and I experienced this recently and got called "ayashii" pretty much to our faces (they thought we couldn't understand Japanese). They asked us to show our resident cards, emptied our wallets and looked at the names on our credit cards. They also asked personal questions about my family. It was really humiliating but we complied because we didn't want to get in trouble. The real kicker was when they noticed my friend has a Yoshiki credit card and started talking to us about X Japan as if they were our  friends. It took all the restraint in the world to not tell them to go fuck themselves. 

 

 

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I don't know if this is more common in Tokyo, but in my several years of living in Japan (and a year living in Tokyo in the past) I have never been approached by police or asked to verify my resident status, nor have I heard any stories from other foreign acquaintances (not that it's really come up in conversation though to be fair). I think the only conversation I've had at length with the police was when an officer was making the rounds in my neighborhood checking emergency contact details. He seemed friendly enough and interested in my background since I speak Japanese, but never came across as suspicious or hostile. Come to think of it though I don't think he ever did record an emergency contact since I don't have any family in Japan...

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if u dont want 2 get in trouble w/ the police just dont dress like a weirdo anime character or yakuza cosplayer  irl & u'll b fine!!!!!

 

(In all seriousness though, particular types of tattoos ARE pretty heavily associated w/ yakuza-related stuff, aren't they?)

Edited by Tokage

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54 minutes ago, Tokage said:

(In all seriousness though, particular types of tattoos ARE pretty heavily associated w/ yakuza-related stuff, aren't they?)

p much all of them & it's a bit naive to assume vk/host industry don't carry same associations

 

Reita posted about his car getting searched by police on IG at least once (I'm rly too lazy to dig for translations, but iirc it might have not been an isolated single accident.)

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I usually dress very goth/VK when I travel to Japan, but I have no tattoos, so other than getting weird looks I haven't been bothered about it. The single incident that comes to mind was when a friend and I were waiting around for a band in Kabukichou and since we were just standing around a corner for a while a man that seemed like the average salariman approached me to ask if we were "night workers" and then requested my work visa. I said we were tourists and pulled out my passport and he went "oh, ok, sorry" and left us be. Since he asked for the visa and all I though he was an undercover cop fishing for illegal prostitutes (or a very concerned customer).

Tbh the whole situation was really funny, it's what I get for wearing fishnets and corsets there.

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One time i was walking through shinbashi when a bunch of anti-usa protests were going on. I was drinking a beer and wearing a GISM hoodie with and AK47 on it. Some cop stopped me but when I looked him in the eye and and asked him for directions in Japanese he stopped acting hard. That was my only encounter in 3 months being there. No tatts tho.

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I was out in Asakusa late at night, around 2AM with a friend from Uruguay when cops pulled over and searched our entire bags and IDs, passports etc. I suspect for drugs. They were pretty nice about it when they didn't find anything, especially when they saw my passport as Canada lol..... and shook our hands. I guess we were just irregulars on their nightly patrol. They said the specific place we were was a bit dicey with clubs around which I didn't know. Was a bit shook but they were nice. They didn't really harass us or anything.

This was the only time this happened though, and tbh I did understand it so I don't have any hard feelings.

A Mexican friend I met at the hostel said he was stopped by cops 5 times in the first week he was there, though. He didn't seem to mind and acted like it was normal but...sounded like racial profiling to me.
 

Edited by Paraph

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I've been living in Japan for almost 5 years now and of all the time I've been here I was only stopped by the police once.

When I was 25 I was walking home from the station [in a rural area] after getting back on the last train when I was stopped by two police officers. Apparently they thought I was a Japanese teenager walking home alone at night and informed me that I was out after curfew and need to return home immediately. I insisted I was very much an adult and they asked to see my ID which they then realized I was indeed an adult and also a foreigner (I have long dark brown hair, brown eyes and I'm small/thin so I blend in pretty well for a white person). They apologized then insisted on walking me home because it's ~dangerous~ but we were literally right in front of my apartment. 

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I was hanging out at Tokyo Dark Castle once and got chatting to a Japanese goth girl about her beautiful spider tattoos on her arm. She then pulled on the sleeve of a sharply suited man next to her and said he has even better tats than her. The man didn't want to show his tats off but did eventually lift his sleeve up a little to reveal a full irezumi sleeve. It turns out he's a yakuza member. 

 

That was the only time I came in contact with a bona fide yakuza man that I know of because they almost always wear long sleeves to cover their irezumi up (even in the height of summer). A lot more people in Japan are aware of the difference between "tattoo" and "irezumi" these days but in general, the separation of public and private is so strong in Japan that tattoos of any sort is seen as a private matter and people are expected to wear clothes to cover them up whilst in public. So if you display your tattoos, it's not only an association of you being a shady character but that you are infringing on that separation and being deliberately intimidating to others. A supreme court case highlighted this problem a few years ago: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/14/national/crime-legal/supreme-court-upholds-osaka-citys-tattoo-check-workers-legal/#.XS3veOhKiUk

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Despite hanging around strange people in Japan, and in neighbourhoods associated with the Yakuza etc I've never once been pulled over by Cops in Tokyo, could just be luck though. I know many friends of mine have but they've never really had any bad experience with them. 

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