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I've read every now and then about how massages used to be mainly performed by blind people in Japan.

I couldn't find much info about the present-day situation in Japan, but I came across an article on a dispute about whether non-blind people should be allowed to do it in South Korea, part of a former Japanese colony, and a brief mention on WikiTravel in Taipei, capital of another former colony of Japan.

Does this still exist, especially in Japan, and is it accessible to foreign tourists? My Japanese is fairly basic and I can't speak Chinese or Korean, and I'm worried that someone being blind may make the language barrier worse.

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    You can always try to convince a regular masseur to wear a blindfold ;-P – SJuan76 Sep 26 '16 at 22:42
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I can't say anything about Japan, South Korea or or Taiwan, but blind massages (in the sense of the masseur being blind) are still pretty much a thing in China. In a business atmosphere where you never know what "massage" stands for blind massage is actually an indicator of quality.

You will still want to check reviews first and for the example of Shanghai you can find reputable recommendations from a Shanghai Expat Magazine or on CNN Travel. One place is listed in both articles!
When googling for "shanghai blind massage" I came across another wiki-styled page with a name that made me be a bit cautious. Not linking, but it might actually be legit. YMMV.

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