By John Niederkorn
The recent natural disasters in Japan have sent shock-waves through the global community, which left many people wondering how they could help the Japanese people in their time of need. One such community that has been organizing to support Japan is also a community that has been heavily influenced by Japanese culture, the global tattoo community.
Several independent charitable organizations have sprung up in the tattoo community over the past week, including Ink for Aid, Victory Electric Tattoo and Street Chopper Magazine for Japan Tsunami Relief and Tattooers for Japan. (See list below for more charities)
Tattooers for Japan (which started as a Facebook group), in particular, has the interesting concept of asking tattooers to devote one day in April where all the proceeds from their walk-in clients will go into a one large Japanese relief fund. “I was trying to figure out what to do, and I wanted to do more,” Dave Allen, founder of Tattooers for Japan, said.
Allen, 38, has been tattooing for eight years and is currently working in Ontario, Canada at Sugar Shack Tattoo. Allen’s inspiration for the charity came from wanting to spread the word in his own smaller community.
“I would be happy if the idea took off just in my community,” he said. Allen also stated that not just Canadians, but tattooers all over the world owe Japan a debt of gratitude for influencing the tattoo cultural in the Western world.
“I can’t think of a better way to show Japanese tattooers that we are not just taking their style, but that we are connected with their culture and it is important to teach people to be honorable and treat people with respect.”
Allen started the charity as a Facebook group on March 14th, which has amassed nearly 700 members since the group began. The group leader was eager to explore all the possibilities the organization could be involved in, but was leery to donate the appropriated funds to a larger charity group, such as the Red Cross.
“I’d like to see the money get to the people rather than being used for administrative purposes. I like what the Red Cross does, and have donated to them in the past… I just want as much of our money as possible to get there!”
Allen, through much deliberation and research, later decided to give the proceeds from Tattooers for Japan to the International Rescue Committee. Allen states that this particular charity group is working closely with Peace Winds Japan and comes highly recommended in world NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
Allen believes that Tattooers for Japan will be a great opportunity to show the Japanese people (and tattooers) the respect he, and his community has for Japan and their philosophies, while also unifying his own peers locally and abroad.
Allen’s highest expectations for the group include uniting the tattoo community to show that, “we are all connected” and to inspire tattooers all over the world to do the same.
“I hope this will bring the soul back to the tattoo community…”
(All photos courtesy of Dave Allen)
If you would like to add a group to this list please leave a comment below.