September 20, 2018
The 20 nations competing at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Tokyo as well as their supporters will need to cover up any tattoo markings in public places.
The cover up strategy is to avoid causing offence - as such body markings are associated with the Yakuza- the Japanese mafia and an education programme which also highlights the need to wear different footwear indoors from outdoors, is already underway.
Head of the Rugby World Cup Alan Gilpin said they will make (Japanese) people aware around the facilities that players will use in the country that people with tattoos in a Rugby World Cup context are not part of the Yakuza.
He said they have conducted a lot of awareness sessions with the teams in the last year or so to get them to understand 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.”
The Rugby World Cup begins on September 20 in 2019 with the opening match to be played between the host nation Japan and Russia at Tokyo Stadium.
The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are grouped with Australia, Wales, Uruguay and Georgia and will face the Wallabies in their opening match on September 21 at the Sapporo Dome.
By Reginald Chandar