The overwhelming wave of criticism left model and singer Ryuchell shocked and hurt enough to make a response post. 

Ryuchell, a Japanese celebrity, model, and singer, has been making waves in the Japanese entertainment industry for a few years now. Best known for his silly, curly-haired, bright color-wearing, headbanded persona in his early career, Ryuchell became hugely famous for his cute and beautiful androgynous looks, and as a result turned into a fashion icon, inspiring even our writers to get a makeover.

▼ Ryuchell’s early style

Ryuchell married his girlfriend and fellow model, Peko, after two years of dating, and she just gave birth to their first child, a boy they named Link. Ryuchell is very expressive about his love for his wife and his family on his Instagram, and he recently decided to express his love with tattoos of his wife’s and newborn son’s names on each arm.

He made the announcement in an Instagram post on August 19, but it has since been deleted. That’s likely because he received swarms of apparently ugly comments criticizing his choice to get a tattoo.

▼ Here he is doing a makeup video, and you can see the tattoos when he turns his body.

Sadly, tattoos in Japan, even cute and heartwarming ones like Ryuchell’s, are still widely regarded as taboo. Due to their ongoing association with organized crime in Japan, many hot springs and pools deny entry to those with tattoos, and some companies will even refuse employment to or even fire individuals if they are discovered to have tattoos. Despite the increasing popularity of tattoos in Japan, a social stigma against them still pervades.

That’s perhaps why Ryuchell was so harshly criticized for his decision to get not just one but two tattoos. Though the original post has now been deleted and we can’t know for sure what was said about him, Ryuchell posted a follow-up photo of his wife holding their son with a long commentary about his feelings regarding Japanese netizens’ responses, so we can make some educated guesses.

▼ “Thank you for all of the responses,” he says. “I’m going to try to accurately express what I want to say!”

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いろんな意見を、ありがとうございます。 言いたいこと、きちんと書くね!! まず、今まで応援してくれていた方が、冷たいコメントだけを残し、ぼくのことを一瞬で嫌いになるのが本当ならおどろきです。 それなりに予想はしてたけど、こんなにも偏見されるのかと思いました。 こんなに偏見のある社会 どうなんだろう。仕方ないよね。ではなく、僕は変えていきたい。 優しい言葉を投げかけてくれる人が好きと言うわけではなく、本当に僕のことを応援してくれている方と、そうでない方のコメント、言葉の違いくらい僕にも分かります。 結婚して、子供がいつかできたら、 家族の名前を身体に刻もう。と結婚する前、3年前から決めてました。 その3年でたくさん考えて、それなりの覚悟で入れました。 ぼくたちは、日本の温泉や、プールには行かないとおもいます。 その理由は名前を刻んだということとは関係ありません。 ぼくたちは、子供の顔を出していないので 子供の写真を盗撮されると困るし、子供がびっくりしたり、怖くなってしまうことが、あるかもしれないので、大勢の人が集まる場所には なかなか行かないと思います。 でも、そんな僕たちのお家を選んで生まれてきてくれたんだから、僕たちだからこそしてあげられることもたくさんあるし、僕の身勝手な行動で 大切な子供の楽しい思い出作り、人生を邪魔することは絶対しません。 そして僕のお父さんも、僕が生まれたとき 背中に 龍 (ドラゴンの絵) を入れました。僕は一度も嫌な思いをしたことがないし 嬉しかったです。 不自由をしたこともないし、ママからも パパからも たくさんの愛をもらい、育ててくれました。 だから、僕自身、偏見もなにもありませんでした。それも大きいかもしれません。 この体で、僕は大切な家族の笑顔を守るのです。なので、この体に、大切な家族の名前を刻みました。隠すつもりもありません。でも意地でも出したいわけでもありません。自然に生きていきたいです。偏見が無くなりますように。 そして最後に!!! 僕も色々こうしてSNSで発信することが怖いときもあります。またどんな風に どんな見出しで ネットニュースにされてしまうのか 怖いです。だけど何かにおびえて何もせずに生きててもこの社会は変わりません。世の中への思いや、変えていきたいことを どんどん発言、発信していかないと何も変わらないんです。だから、今回も勇気を振り絞りました。共感してくれる方がもしいれば、自分らしく、そして社会を変えようという強い気持ちで一緒に明日も頑張ろうね。こんなに長分なのにここまで読んでくれて、どうもありがとうございました 😭✨

A post shared by ☆ RYUCHELL ☆ (@ryuzi33world929) on

Ryuchell starts off his post thanking everyone for their opinions, but expresses surprise at having received quite so many “prejudiced” comments. “I’m really surprised at all of the people who used to support me and now suddenly hate me and leave cold comments on my posts. I expected some narrow views, but not quite so many. What’s going to happen in this society if we are so prejudiced? ‘There’s no helping it, right?’ Wrong. I want to change it.”

Following, Ryuchell also explains why he chose to tattoo his family’s names on his arms, “I decided three years ago, before getting married, that I was going to get tattoos of my family’s names. For three years I’ve been thinking a lot about it, and have prepared myself for it. With this body, I will protect the smiles of my family. So, I had my beloved family’s names etched into my skin.”

After that, Ryuchell addresses several points, indicating that people took it upon themselves to warn him about the apparent dangers of having tattoos. “You won’t be able to go to pools and onsen!” seems to have been one reasoning, to which he says he didn’t plan on going to either anyway, to protect his children from the paparazzi. “There are many other wonderful things we can do for them,” he reasoned.

▼ Ryuchell and Peko on a walk with Link after his first month checkup.

It looks like another concern of online critics was that “tattoos would be a bad influence on his children”. Undoubtedly a picture of a smiley face with a halo and wings would be extremely devastating to a child, but Ryuchell counters by pledging “I absolutely will not let what I do with my own body interrupt the lives of my children, or the making of their precious memories.”

He even adds some anecdotal evidence, saying that his own father had a dragon tattooed on his back when Ryuchell was born, and he’d never felt any animosity towards it. On the contrary, he appreciated it, he said. He never felt uncomfortable it, and he received a lot of love from his parents growing up, so he firmly believes his tattoo will not have any effect on his children.

“I don’t plan to hide them, but I don’t plan to flaunt them either. I want to live naturally, so that the prejudice can disappear,” he says.

▼ Ryuchell and Peko going to a friend’s wedding

Ryuchell finishes his post by saying that even though he’s afraid of the backlash he could receive from anything he posts on social media, he knows that being afraid and not saying anything will change nothing. He’s going to keep sharing his thoughts and talking about the things he wants to change, to help be a positive force in the world.

After this post, Ryuchell received a new onslaught of comments, many of which are supportive:

“Wonderful! Your and Peko’s way of living is so refreshing.”
“It’s not like it’s going to harm anyone, so I think people should just do as they like…”
“Ryuchell! Don’t give up! I’m rooting for you!”
“Ryuchell, your comment really hit me hard. I don’t know how to say it, but I think it would be great if this world could have a better mix of ‘normal’ and ‘unusual’!”

And yet, some people criticized his commentary, particularly capitalizing on the word “prejudice”, which is one of those dirty words that no one wants to hear spoken about themselves. “People can have their own opinions!” was the chief rebuttal by many disagreeing netizens, and even some celebrities agreed. A member of HKT48, Rino Sashihara, said, ‘”Of course people are going to criticize. You should have been prepared.” Member of comedy duo Downtown and famous television host Hitoshi Matsumoto agreed, saying “You can’t put your opinion out there, and then have hard feelings about it when someone disagrees.”

Several celebrities came to Ryuchell’s aid, however. Blogger and writer Haruka Ito said, “I understand that he’s trying to express that he wants to change the world. I think it’s strange to say that someone coming out and saying the world is strange is an expression of ‘hard feelings'”. MAH, vocalist of rock band SiM, whose members all have tattoos, added, “There’s no point in fighting over what we ‘love’ and ‘hate’. Nobody is going to give in, and there isn’t any reason to anyway. Just leave each other alone. That’s the most peaceful way to do it.”

Still, in my humble opinion, just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean you should attack someone who does, verbally or otherwise. As MAH from SiM said, that’s meaningless, and just plain rude. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to do it, or that Japan is going to change its societal impressions of tattoos any time soon, even if the government wants it to.

Source: Instagram/@ryuzi33world929, Yahoo! News
Featured image: Instagram/@ryuzi33world929
[ Read in Japanese ]