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The permanent kind of tattoo will get you kicked out of a lot of establishments in Japan, where inked skin evokes Yakuza traditions and images of violent biker gangs. Nevertheless, as Western culture – with its inked-up celebrities and musicians – continues its decades-long slow creep into Japan, a lot of teens and 20-somethings are longing to go under the needle without suffering discrimination.

That might explain why these stylish and novel “tattoo stockings” have been selling like sexy hotcakes since 2011 in Japan and are so far showing no signs of slowing down.

Girls apparently love them because they really do look exactly like tattoos, but can be easily peeled off before heading for an onsen or other places where near-nakedness is required and tattoos are forbidden. That’s admittedly a pretty niche selection of establishments, but anyway.

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Just how popular are the designer stockings? A representative for specialty retailer Avantgarde in Harajuku says, “Sales peak in the summer, where we sell about 10,000 pairs in a month. The most popular designs are the ones that look like real tattoos, and those depicting cute characters.”

Interestingly, the tattoo stockings are actually bucking the generally downward trend of stocking sales, as Japanese women increasingly choose to flaunt bare legs. In fact, stocking sales have fallen to a mere tenth of total sales in 1990. That tattoo stockings are trending shows young Japanese women are nevertheless open to rocking the stockings, but only if it makes their legs look metal as @&$%.

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▼ Sorry, last one. All this staring at legs is making us feel dirty.

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Source: Yahoo! Japan
Photos via Avangarde online shop