Star Wars

UPDATE! No Tattoo Pavilion at Star Wars Celebration Japan

Getting a tattoo has become far more mainstream in the USA, almost seen as a right of passage into adulthood. But don’t expect to snag your next one at Star Wars Celebration in Tokyo in 2025.

32% of American adults have at least one tattoo and that number rises to 41% if you ask people under 30. Young people love Star Wars and they love their Star Wars tattoos. When the “Celebration” of the franchise rolls around, one of the highlighted areas is the Tattoo Pavilion. People get their first, or their 10th, bit of ink here. They get it done on a bet, or on a dare, or because they just love Star Wars.

The Tattoo Pavilion has become more and more popular over the years. Image from the Star Wars Celebration “X” account.

However, Japan (as a whole) frowns on tattoos. They aren’t strictly illegal, but they are associated with the crime syndicate Yakuza. As early as 720 AD there is documentation showing that tattoos were actually a form of punishment, especially for severe crimes. They were outright banned in 1868 for locals and again in 1936 for everyone (including tourists and visiting military) until it was lifted in 1946. Wearing them uncovered on public transportation can offend some locals. As recently as 2012, the mayor of Osaka started a tattoo ban campaign and threatened to fire any public worker who had one. “If they insist on having tattoos, they had better leave the city office and go and work in the private sector.” He was unable to follow through on the threat as a court struck down the order.

Private businesses and even some public spaces can deny locals (or tourists) service if you openly display tattoos. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Bathing houses
  • Beaches
  • Gyms
  • Hot springs
  • Pools

Because of this cultural difference, Star Wars fans will not be able experience the Tattoo Pavilion next year.

A fan gets a tattoo on her arm. Image from Ink Fusion Empire.

We heard from Brad Nicholson, who works with a collective called Ink Fusion Empire who are the only officially Lucasfilm licensed tattoo program. He confirmed that “As of right now, there will be not be any tattooing at Star Wars Celebration Tokyo.”

You can still attend the event and enjoy many parts of Japan, but keep these recommendations in mind:

  • Keep them covered, if possible, especially in public.
  • Speak to your host family (if you have one) about how comfortable they are with tattoos so you will not show them disrespect.

Marc Draven offered an update to this on April 23, stating there will be no “live” Tattoo Pavilion at this time. He did state that discussions are ongoing. We will continue to update our article as news comes our way from the fans.

Geek News Now has reached out to ReedPop (who organizes the Celebration event) for a comment, but has not received a reply at this time. We will update this article if one is received. Don’t miss out on other news! Head over to our home page and see what else we’ve been reporting on! 

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