How Do You Tip A Japanese Tattoo Artist?

If you are in Japan and thinking of getting a traditional Japanese tattoo from a Japanese tattoo artist you might want to express your gratitude by giving a tip for the excellent work on your skin or do you? In Japan, there are a few scenarios where tipping may be considered an appropriate gesture such as staying at a traditional Japanese inn called a “ryokan” or if you’re in a luxury Western style hotel. It is important to note that tipping is not something to be expected nor is it considered rude one way or the other.

The Custom

Tipping is frowned upon in Japanese culture so don't feel bad if your Japanese tattoo artist will not accept a tip

In Western countries especially the US, it is considered customary to tip after salon appointments, spa treatments, restaurant or drinks at the bar and even taxi trips. In Japan however tipping is not practiced or done in any of those situations. If you attempt to make an effort you will most likely receive a polite refusal or you will have your money returned to you without utterance of a word. In my experience, when I was living in Japan I made the mistake of leaving a tip on the table of the restaurant where I ate. Needless to say, the wait staff chased me half a block away just to return my money. This experience is not uncommon for many western travelers visiting the land of the rising sun.

Try Not To Be Rude

Because of Western tourist coming to Japan, some establishments accept tipping. Some Japanese tattoo artist may accept a gift in return for gratitude.

You know for a fact that attempting to make the same gesture when you know that cultural difference does not see this as a form of generosity can be downright rude. If anyone does accept the tip then this means they do not prefer to go to the trouble of having to explain to the clueless western traveler about their culture and norms because of the obvious difficulty of a language barrier. Being persistent in these kind of situations does look like a very nice gesture for you but it is really viewed as the opposite. If you do feel greatly about the value of the service then the best way to express your gratitude to the artist that did your Japanese tattoo would be to pay them another visit the next time you are in town. Alternatively, you can spread the word about your excellent experience to others.

Japanese Hospitality

In Japan, hospitality is quite high compared to every other country in the world. This is due to in large part in the belief that high quality service do not come with a heftier price tag. It is ok to expect amazing service, good clean environment with friendly and attentive staff almost everywhere you go and there are no tips needed.

Tipping Your  Japanese Tattoo Artist

A simple gift is some acceptable with Japanese tattoo artist as a sign of gratitude

If you want to tip your Japanese tattoo artist insist no more than three times only. Beyond this it is now considered rude and discourteous. Make sure that you know the amount you would like to give and place it in a clean envelope beforehand. Present the envelope to the artist using both your hands and call it a gift rather than a tip. Expressing your appreciation for someone’s work is always a good thing no matter what method it is done.

If you want to get a tattoo by a professional who specializes in traditional Japanese tattoos in America, head over Katana Tattoo Shop for more information.