Two years ago, Osaka police raided the tattoo parlors of Taiki Masuda and roughly 30 others, arresting many of the tattoo artists mid-way through their work. Authorities justified the sweep using a 2001 “medical practice notice,” which they argue criminalizes giving any tattoo without a medical license. The regulation was originally intended to ensure safety during cosmetic tattooing (such as procedures giving permanent eyebrows), but in a country with a deep-seated stigma against the practice, police have begun applying the law to tattoo artists, placing them in in ambiguous legal territory. While many of the tattoo parlor operators caught in the 2015 sting operation paid their fines and illicitly continued their practice elsewhere, Masuda chose to defend himself and his shop against the charges. A forthcoming ruling by the Osaka District Courts, slated for July, is expected to bring new clarity, either declaring tattooing legally in the clear or affirming the medical practice notice applies to tattoo artists.