Japanese Tattoos

Japanese Tattoo Art

Traditionally, Japanese tattoos were once widely accepted as symbols of both social and spiritual status. Though, by the time World War II has passed, the Emperor of Japan quickly outlawed them in order to improve the country’s appearance.

There’s no denying the appeal of the artistic Japanese style with its beautiful floral designs, deep meanings, and motifs. In reality, the decision to outlaw ink only took the coolness factor up a few notches. Fast forward to today and the style is more popular than ever, especially when it comes to sleeves.

According to the Japanese, each tattoo has a specific meaning and purpose. They are believed to be visual displays of societal status.

Here a list of different designs:

Skulls (Zugaikotsu), Chrysanthemum (Kiku), Demon (Oni), Dragon (Ryu), Fu Dog (Karashishi), Cherry Blossoms (Sakura), Phoenix (Hou-ou), Severed Head (Namakubi), Snake (Hebi), Peony (Botan), Koi fish, Tiger, and Water wave among others.


Here is a wikipedia description of Irezumi


Irezumi (入れ墨, lit. "inserting ink") are traditional Japanese tattoos. Irezumi is the Japanese word for tattoo, and Japanese tattooing has had its own distinct style created over centuries. Irezumi is done by hand, using wooden handles and metal needles attached via silk thread. This method also requires special ink called nara ink. It is a painful and time consuming process, done by a limited number of specialists. The tattoo artist is called a Horishi, and usually has one or more apprentices working for him for a long period of time. They often become a part of the horishis tattoo family. Irezumi was initially associated with firemen, who wore them as a form of spiritual protection. They were admired figures of bravery and roguish sex-appeal, which inspired imitation. At the beginning of the Meiji period the Japanese government outlawed tattoos, and Irezumi took on connotations of criminality. Many yakuza and other criminals now avoid tattoos for this very reason.

Check out the tattoo work from our talented tattoo artists

Joe Savva Tattoo Art - Hokusai Great Wave tattoo

Joe Savva - Japanese snake tattoo

Capt Davey Snake Tattoo

Chis Winn Fish Tattoo



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