So, if the All Blacks had shown up in Japan with tattoos of the Rising Sun, would they still have to cover them in deference to the local culture?
New Zealanders, even the rugby sort, are just this side of the Canadians when it comes to respect for the customs of others, so according to halfback Aaron Smith, they are willing to make accommodations to hide their body art if that request is made of them.
The prohibition regarding the display of tattoos hopefully does not carry over to the field, but even if by some odd twist it should, the Cherry Blossoms are no match for the All Blacks.
Just the names alone should be enough to convince anyone of that. All Blacks has a sinister, Darth Vader ring to it. Cherry Blossoms puts you in mind of a balmy spring day in the northern hemisphere, complete with tea, a little Sake and some Haiku.
We do have to give credit to the Japanese for having a mainly Japanese playing list.
James Moore is Australian born, while Luke Thompson’s birth certificate indicates a New Zealand birth. Other countries represented by Japan’s list are South Africa and Tonga.
This information seems like the perfect opportunity to launch into one of our rants concerning the more than a bit ludicrous nature of international sports and the criteria for qualifying to represent on country or another, but we will skip it for today.
Credit to the New Zealand players for not being fussed about covering up their ink in a place where temperatures can soar and the humidity is so intense that stepping out of the shower and drying one’s and then the other causes the initial arm to perspire, necessitating another shower and perpetuating an inescapable loop.
Credit to Japan for not keeping the custom secret, as to the Japanese, tattoos are an indication of membership in a crime syndicate.
It reminds us somewhat of the Beijing Olympics of 2008, where authorities received compliance from restaurants in removing dishes with dog as an ingredient from their menus.
Now, were we members of a crime syndicate, we very much doubt that we would advertise the fact with body art, but when in Tokyo…