Both teams and supporters have been warned to cover up their tattoos in public at next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, for purposes of cultural sensitivity.
World Rugby has asked players to use rash vests when using public gyms are swimming, as tattoos in Japan are associated with the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia.
According to tournament director Alan Gilpin there has been no objection from teams. In another movement towards cultural sensitivity, an education programme highlighting he need to wear different footwear indoors from outdoors has been set in motion.
World Champions in the last two tournaments, the All Blacks, have already confirmed that they will be paying the necessary respect when the time comes, with New Zealand Rugby chief rugby officer Nigel Cass saying that the All Blacks always respect local customs and cultures when touring.
“When any of our teams tour we endeavour to be respectful of the local customs and culture, and this will be no different when we visit Japan both this year and next year.”