Japanese Tattoos Art
Unlike the Chinese people, the Japanese people are currently very big on tattoos, but that was not
always the case. In fact, for a brief time near the end of WW II, getting or giving a tattoo in Japan was
actually illegal. The end of the war brought an end to that crime as well.
The alphabetic characters that appear in many Japanese tattoos are called Kanji. These characters, alone
or in combination with others, can display a whole range of human emotions, thoughts, proverbs and
In addition to the calligraphic-like Kanji characters, there are many different animal, spiritual and nature-
oriented symbols and images that make their way onto people's body parts in the form of a Japanese
Irezumi, one of the more traditional Japanese tattoo styles depict dragons, koi and other symbols of
Japanese culture and lifestyle. These types of Japanese tattoos are becoming increasingly popular with
women who are having these sometimes intricate tattoo designs placed on their hips, back, ankles and
arms. Even an occasional breast dragon has been spotted in the wild or during a wet T-shirt contest at
some spring break bar in Florida or Mexico.
The recorded history of Japanese tattoos goes back to around 5000 B.C., and it's likely that Japanese
people were drawing tattoos on each other even before then since early Japanese artifacts dating back
earlier than those days include clay figurines with tattooed faces.
In the early days of the Japanese warrior clans, large and elaborate tattoos symbolized the warrior's
ability to withstand pain. The larger and more intricate the Japanese tattoo was, the braver the warrior.
As warriors began to fall out of fashion, and the Japanese culture moved towards the arts, Japanese
tattoos shifted to symbolize an appreciation for the finer things in life and were frequently associated
with wealth and power.
Today, many Japanese people, as well as people from around the world, admire the beauty of Japanese
tattoos and the skills of the artists who create them.
Because you love sushi and you want to show solidarity with your favorite itamae, or sushi chef. Or
maybe you're a history buff and you want to join in with King George V, Winston Churchill's mother, King
Oscar of Sweden, and Grand Duke Alexis of Russia, who were all known to sport a Japanese tattoo or
People also choose to adorn themselves with Japanese tattoos because they are enamored with the
classic simplicity of the Japanese Kanji characters which can say so much in so little a space.
Japanese Tattoo Designs
Ancient relics such as clay pottery and statues showed images of Japanese people who were intricately
tattooed. Even more fascinating, the first Japanese tattoo designs were found on people of high social
standing. Many Japanese historians now agree that the earliest Japanese tattoo designs were utilized in
rituals to signify the positions of people in society, as well as to provide ways to protect one's self from
The Japanese people are one of the first great civilizations to incorporate tattooing into their culture.
While in China the art of tattooing began as a way to mark off the prisoners and the other outcasts of
society, the Japanese tattoos were valued in a different manner from the start.
Japanese tattoos are rich in inspiration. Like all arts, the Japanese learned to incorporate their most
important values into their skin through tattoos. This is the reason why one of the cherished values of
the early Japanese people, religion and love, is often the primary motifs of the people's tattoos. The
courtesans, artists, and even the geishas of Japan were all acquainted with tattooing and used it as
personal markers of their religious backgrounds and who they love.
An example of how Japanese tattoo designs were used to symbolize love was in the vow tattoo. Some
geishas will have their lover's names imprinted in their arms in order to show their promises of lasting
love. Aside from being used for making promises about love, the tattoo in Japanese society also evolved
aesthetically.During some periods, the design of these tattoos were rendered with intricate detail. On
the other hand, during some other times the Japanese had tattoos were less like pictures and more like
moles. These dot tattoos were symbolic and were also often used by lovers to indicate the places where
their loved ones had touched them, such as the hand.
Eventually, the Japanese tattoos came to posses not only a cultural note, but also a social and political
one. From the late seventeenth century up to the latter half of the nineteenth century, many middle
class people used tattoos to express their social and political sentiments.
Everyone from the office workers of that time, to the farm hands and the street merchants began
placing high value on the political statements that were expressed through Japanese tattoo designs.
Even the upper class members of society looked upon tattoos with high regard, and many shows were
conducted to showcase the craftsmanship of many tattoo artists.
In general, Japanese tattoo designs are intricately linked to the cultural values of the people. Before full
body tattoos developed, the back was the sole place where these skin art works were rendered. Often
the themes were the epics and folktales of the Japanese people themselves, which mean that in the
past, a Japanese body filled with tattoos can actually contain the history of the people itself. Eventually,
full body tattoos became popular and Japanese tattoo designs began to be used to show another aspect
of the values that were important to the Japanese, aesthetics itself. Today, Japanese inspired tattoo
designs are popular because of the designs that are distinct to Japanese artists or those that have been
heavily influenced by the Japanese, seen by such motifs as the carp and other water elements.
How to Find Amazing Japanese Tattoos
Let's talk about where you can find Japanese Tattoos. Japanese tattoos are not very hard thing to find
on the internet. I bet that you can spend less than five minutes doing a quick search on Google and find
thousands of Japanese Tattoos. That's not the tough part though. The main problem most girls and guys
have is that all they seem to run into are broad, low end pictures that are not worth the time to print
out. One why around this is to do this, especially if you are using a Google search to find your Japanese
Now do not take this the wrong way I love to use search engines but they are not just great for
everything you are looking for. It's just that they pack with sub-par Japanese tattoos and tattoo artwork.
I even tried it myself. No matter which styles of Japanese tattoos I was looking for, it was the same
broad, low end galleries that rear their ugly heads. They were just loaded with nothing but run of the
mill Japanese tattoos that aren't worth the time.
When you look for Japanese tattoos at these galleries, most of the pictures they have were not even
intended to be used as real Japanese tattoos! Can you believe that they would post this kind of sub-par
artwork on their sites, but they did. They don't care if that Japanese tattoo was not really sketched in
the way tattoo-art needs to be sketched. As long as it looks somewhat good, they are always willing to
put it up on their sites. It's sad, because girls and guys end up choosing sub-par artwork like this and go
to get them tattooed. They have no idea that it will not look anywhere near as great on their skin as it
looked on the paper it was printed it on.
Ok, enough talk about that. So, how can you find great Japanese tattoos without digging through so
much sub-par artwork, low-end pictures?
It's actually pretty easy and will change the way you search for Japanese tattoos. Everything you need
when it comes to finding tons of pictures of tattoos is using a forum. Actually, you should use forums for
many different products you are looking for on the internet. They are the perfect place for finding out
where the hidden artwork is. You see, there are a lot of topics revolving around Japanese tattoos inside
of forums. This is why it is a great idea to look there, because these topics usually have loads of links
that people have found. They are usually to the hidden artwork sites that have much of the great
artwork you've been missing out on. It's a resourceful and different way to find the Japanese tattoos you
want. It does not take long to use them and it beats the heck out of seeing the same old artwork all the
The History of Japanese Tattoo Art
Japanese tattoo art has a lot of names - irezumi and horimono in the Japanese language. Irezumi is the
word meant for the basic visible ink covering big parts of the body like the back. Japanese tattoo art has
a extremely extensive tradition.
Since the influence of Confucianism and Buddhism over the Japanese culture, tattoo art has a damaging
connotation for the majority of the Japanese population. In the eyes of an typical Japanese a ink is
considered a mark of a yakuza - a member of the Japanese mafia - and a macho emblem of members of
the lesser classes.
Archaeologists believe that the initial settlers of Japan, the Ainu citizens, used facial tattoos. Chinese
papers tell concerning the Wa inhabitants - the Chinese name meant for their Japanese neighbours - and
the individuals lifestyle of diving into water for fish and shells and decorating the total skin with tattoos.
These reports are in the region of 1700 years old.
For the top developed Chinese culture, tattooing was a barbaric undertaking. As soon as Buddhism was
brought from China to Japan and with it the solid influence of the Chinese culture, tattooing got harmful
connotations. Criminals were marked with tattoos to punish and identify them within society.
In the Edo period - 1603-1868 - Japanese tattoo drawings became a part of ukiyo-e - the suspended
world culture. Prostitutes - yujos - of the pleasure quarters used tattoos to improve the individuals
prettiness for customers. Skin tattoos were furthermore used by labourers and firemen.
From 1720 on, the tattooing of criminals became an legitimate punishment and replaced taking away of
the nose and the ears. The criminal received a ring ink around the arm in support of every offence or
else a character ink on his temple. Tattooing criminals was continued until 1870, at what time it was
abolished by the new Meiji government of the Japanese Emperor.
This visible punishment produced a further genre of outcasts which had no place taking part in society
and nowhere to go. A lot of these outlaws were ronin - master less samurai warriors. They had no
alternatives than organizing gangs. These men created the start of the yakuza - the controlled criminals
inside Japan inside the twentieth century.
In 1827 the ukiyo-e artist Kuniyoshi Utagawa published the original 6 emblems of the 108 Heroes of the
Suikoden. The Suikoden were something like ancient Robin Hoods - honourable bandits. The story is
based on a classic Chinese novel - Shui-Hi-Chuan, which dates from the 13th and 14th century. The novel
was initially translated into Japanese in 1757 by Okajima Kanzanion. By the turn of the 18th to the 19th
century the story was available with illustrations by Katsushika Hokusai. The novel of the 108
honourable bandits was extremely accepted in the sphere of Japan and created a kind of Suikoden trend
amongst Japanese towns inhabitants.
Kuniyoshi's Suikoden ukiyo-e emblems bare the heroes in colourful, detailed body tattoos. Japanese ink
prints and tattoo drawings in general subsequently became stylish. Tattoos were considered iki - cool -
however were restricted to the poorer classes.The richness and fantasy of the Japanese tattoo print
emblems revealed by Kuniyoshi are used by a few ink artists up to this moment.
Within its strive to adopt Western civilizations, the Imperial Meiji government outlawed tattooing as
something thought about a barbaric relict of the past. The funny thing was that the Japanese irezumi
artists right away got brand new customers - the sailors from the foreign ships anchoring inside
Japanese harbours. Hence Japanese ink designs was spread to the West.
In the course of the first half of the twentieth century, horimono remained a forbidden art form until
1948, as soon as the prevention was officially lifted. A few say that this step had become needed to
sanction the demand by soldiers of the American occupation forces for horimono and irezumi.
A number of younger individuals may well think about tattooing being cool, the majority of the Japanese
population still considers it while something connected to the gangland of mafia gangsters and a rough
low caste tradition at the finest. Younger folks who consider tattoos as iki - a marginal amongst Japanese
youth - tend to use partial tattoos inside Western style on the persons upper arms, someplace it is not