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The Surprising Change China Made To Tatsu In Way Of The Househusband

The premise behind "Way of the Househusband" isn't especially complex. A former Yakuza (a Japanese mobster) retires from his life of crime to act as a homemaker while his lovely wife is off at work. The result is, of course, comedy as Tatsu "The Immortal Dragon" approaches home life with the same enthusiasm he might bring to a bar brawl or a drug deal. Despite his eagerness to learn the ways of the househusband, however, he just can't help acting, speaking, and looking like a fully-fledged Yakuza, a fact which frequently intimidates the "normal" people he encounters.

However, the rough-and-tumble Tatsu isn't always depicted the same way across different cultures. Most notably, China has made a surprising change to Tatsu's character in "Way of the Househusband." They did this by removing one of Tatsu's design elements, despite it being a massively important part of his character and his backstory as a Yakuza.

China censored all of Tatsu's awesome tattoos

In Yakuza culture, tattoos (also called irezumi) are incredibly important. Taking inspiration from Japanese woodblock designs and mythology, they serve a large purpose in expressing a Yakuza member's personality and standing in the organization (via Tattmag). While Yakuza are far from the only people in Japan who get tattoos, having them is still heavily stigmatized in Japan and other East Asian countries, China included. However, China has taken its stigma a bit further than some others.

According to IGN, China actually banned actors from having tattoos in 2018 (along with any depictions of hip-hop, subcultures, or decadent lifestyles). As part of this initiative, Chinese censors have removed all of Tatsu's tattoos, leaving him as bare as the day he was born. In doing so, of course, Tatsu loses one of his defining visual elements and characterizations.

Being an ex-gangster is basically Tatsu's entire character. Removing his tattoos just makes him feel less like a gangster than before. And while this was the goal of China's censors, it really just waters his character down. If the ex-gangster can't look like a gangster or represent the Yakuza subculture, then there's really no point in airing the series at all.