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Thursday, March 30, 2017, 15:00 - 16:00

Breaking the tradition of onsen refusing to accept bathers with tattoos

Language: The speech and Q & A will be in English

Onsen - Welcome with or without Tattoos

Los Angeles-born entrepreneur Omima M. Miki will come to the Club to present her project for an onsen (hot spring) facility, which will welcome anyone with or without tattoos. It is an initiative, she says, to bring down "the tattoo taboo barriers that are no longer relevant to individuals living in Japan or guests who are visiting".

The rapid growth of tourism to Japan has led to a spate of stories about foreigners being turned away from traditional onsen because they have a tattoo. Miki says she is on a mission to help the country get over what she calls a "tattoo phobia".

In modern Japan, tattoos have been associated with the yakuza underworld, and people showing body art are often barred from spas, public baths, gyms, beaches and swimming pools even though there is no official ban. Miki, who sports a tattoo on her back, declares: "Japanese tattoos are one of the things that people really think of when they think of 'Cool Japan' and they're not just for yakuza anymore."

Miki will come to the Club with designer Alex Doss whose studio, Oneoverchaos, is designing the project. She hopes to open the onsen, named Mina Mizu (meaning "we are all water"), in about two years' time. She is seeking investors partly through the crowdfunding website Indiegogo. Besides standard female-and male-only baths, the planned facility would have a mixed swimming pool, a Japanese-style gastropub and a traditional 30-room inn, as well as a lounge showcasing the history of Japanese tattoos.

According to her resume, Miki has organized educational events for students, served on various committees at the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (Kansai), worked in the entertainment industry as an author/screenwriter and engaged in other endeavors since arriving in Japan in 2011. Please join Omima M. Miki and Alex Doss, the onsen designer as they discuss their goals for the facility and Japan’s love/hate relationship with the tattoo.

Please reserve in advance, 3211-3161 or on the website (still & TV cameras inclusive). Reservations and cancellations are not complete without confirmation.

Professional Activities Committee

Mar 30 17 PC Omima M. Miki014



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