Yamakawa Hirotaka (JPN), hairdresser, Tokyo

‘I got refused at this restaurant last year. I was wearing a tank top, which apparently didn’t cover my tattoos enough… In general, tattoos are getting more accepted in Japan, but every once in a while you come across conservative people anyway. I couldn’t care less, though. But then again, it happened to me only once. I couldn’t imagine having to cope with that on a daily basis.’

‘But in a way it’s crazy. I’m a hairstylist at Mr Brothers Cut Club in Nakameguro and in my world this isn’t an extreme look at all. Tattoos have become such a huge part of the barber community. So much so that fashion has become a side issue. My tattoos are my fashion, I don’t need to show off some cool prints or brand names, I keep it simple now. I compare it to people getting a haircut: when you want to change your image, I can give you a fresh cut. I just get a fresh tattoo.’

‘I wouldn’t call myself a collector, but I do have work from over ten artists scattered across my body. Most of them don’t have any deeper meanings, besides me thinking they looked cool at the time. But I did have one that meant a lot me. I had it covered up, because the design didn’t fit anymore, but I still hold dear the original meaning. It was a hart, surrounded by little stars, with each of the stars symbolizing my family members, who I miss because they all live far away. The tattoo might be gone, but the feeling is still strong.’