Now that we got the history out of the way, let’s get on with the tats. Lots of sentos (public bathhouses) and gyms in Japan, but also where the Yakuza is highly active (say, Korea), impose restrictions on people with body-covering tattoos in order to prevent Yakuza members from frequenting those places. It could be for any number of reasons, not least of all the Yakuza’s reputation. This is strange, for the reason that Yakuza members rarely put their ink-jobs out on display for everyone to see, anyway. One case when they actually go out of their way to display them is when they play cards, especially Oicho-Kabu, which is of huge importance to the Yakuza (Ya-ku-za is one of the worst hands in the game, according to one interpretation, and what gave them their name).
As the tattoo stigma wears off in Japan, especially Tokyo, more and more people start getting them, so the above restriction becomes more and more difficult to get enforced. However, don’t count on being allowed into a sento if you have a dragon ink-job or anything that’s bigger than a kanji or gaijin. It definitely isn’t cool, as I hear that public baths in Japan are a big deal, socially-speaking. Yakuza tats are typically very elegant and of a very particular style called Irezumi, so I’m wondering if they’d still refuse entrance to someone like me who has very Western ink-jobs, full of hard angles and European themes (FYI, I got sailor stars and a big chaos star on my back, sooooo not Yakuza). Anyone having any such experience, give us a shout, eh?
Another event where Yakuza would show off tats, would be in religious ceremonies. Check this video out
Yakuza are very community-oriented and can always be found in any Matsuri (progression).