Did Japan just ban tattoo artists?

Updated 0703 GMT (1503 HKT) October 19, 2017

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Tokyo, Japan (CNN)Black is a color you won't find on the walls of Ron Sugano's tattoo parlor in the upmarket Meguro district of south-west Tokyo, where quaint geometric houses line quiet streets.

Also absent are the laminated pictures of stretched lobe piercings and extreme ink work that are typically flaunted in grungy tattoo parlors around the world.
With its wooden Balinese art, Lonely Planet travel guides, and bright natural lighting, Shi Ryu Doh feels more like a spa.
And that's no accident.
Shi Ryu Doh is run by Tokyo-based tattoo artist Ron Sugano.
In Japan tattoos have long been stigmatized for their association with organized crime gangs, the Yakuza, who pledge their allegiance with full-body markings. Consequently, anyone with ink -- regardless of their profession -- cannot usually use public swimming pools, hot springs, beaches and even some gyms.
Sugano's clean, zen decor is a way of distinguishing his artistic practice, which mainly attracts foreign customers, from establishments that issue the Yakuza's ink work.
    But it might not be enough to convince the Japanese government to allow his business to survive.
    In a controversial move, an Osaka court last month upheld at appeal a ruling that only medical doctors can legally administer tattoos, meaning that artists such as Sugano are now technically committing a crime every time they pick up their tattoo gun.

    An inkling of a crisis

    An inkling of a crisis arose in 2015, when tattoo artist Taiki Masuda was convicted of a little-known law.
    Police initially visited his parlor in relation to a cri