Tattoo, BYOB rules sought for popular beach near Yokosuka

Sailors from the USS John S. McCain pose at Zushi Beach in 2011.<br>Stars and Stripes
Sailors from the USS John S. McCain pose at Zushi Beach in 2011.

The Tokyo area’s unofficial beach party capital may get a lot more restrictive, if some of Zushi’s city officials have their way.

The Zushi city government is drafting an ordinance with a swath of prohibitions, according to The Japan News: no beach barbecues; no alcohol outside of beach huts (no BYOB); no loud music; and in a move that would exclude a whole lot of servicemembers from nearby Yokosuka Naval Base, no exposed tattoos.

Tattoos are often associated with organized crime in Japanese culture, and discrimination against law-abiding citizens with tattoos is known to occur at workplaces, as well as gyms and hot springs. Foreigners are sometimes asked to cover tattoos with bandages.

For about two months in summer, Zushi Beach morphs from a sleepy strip frequented mostly by windsurfers into something resembling the Jersey Shore, Japanese style. Dozens of restaurants and bars set up wooden shacks on the sand, some of which pump out house music, reggae and whatever pop music is charting.

However, the tastes of the 20-something crowds don’t seem to mesh to well with the wishes of town residents, many of whom are retirees and well-to-do Tokyoites with summer homes across the street from the beach.

If the ordinance passes, violations won’t cost anything, but beachgoers can be forced to leave. It’s also unclear just how far the city would go to enforce the regulations. But given how jam-packed the beach gets on summer weekends, the city would need to put a good chunk of its population to work if it plans on inspecting everyone for cute little butterfly tattoos.



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