Tag Archives: Japanese Tattoo

Shoki the Demon Hunter

Shoki the Demon Hunter
Charms and amulets have been a popular means of protection against illness for the longest time. In the past, such a misfortune was considered to have supernatural origin, as well as natural causes. Belief in supernatural forces, such as the evil eye or witchcraft, was deeply rooted into the ...
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The Water of Atonement

The Water of Atonement
Images of water are often depicted within the tattoos of multiple cultures, whether as the ocean, seas or in other forms. Within the West these are often featured alongside ships and sea creatures. While other cultures sometimes opt to use the symbology of water in more abstract forms, a common ...
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The Majestic Lady

The Majestic Lady
Depictions of women are a common feature of tattoos around the globe. Traditionally in the West they are often drawn in a burlesque style as well as mermaids being popular among sailors. Within Japan depictions of females takes on a different form. Historically, there are two common female tattoo ...
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The Beautiful and Shrewd Fox

The Beautiful and Shrewd Fox
Japanese folklore is rich in stories of creatures, real and mythical, that come to life in tattoo designs. While dragons, tigers, and koi fish are some of the most popular choices for symbolism, none can match the mysterious aura of the fox. Depicting a Japanese fox in a tattoo can be quite tricky ...
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Firemen and Tattoos in Japanese Woodblock Prints

Firemen and Tattoos in Japanese Woodblock Prints
Back in the 17th and up to the 19th century, the city of Edo (today’s Tokyo) was under constant threat of fire. Closely built houses were made of highly flammable materials and the presence of candles, paper lanterns, charcoal braziers and open stoves added to the danger. Frequent earthquakes, ...
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Dragons in Japanese Tattoos and the Oyama Pilgrimage

Dragons in Japanese Tattoos and the Oyama Pilgrimage
In Edo-period Japan (1603 – 1868), dragons had special importance for ‘hikeshi’ (firemen), as they were seen as creatures of the sea and therefore not being affected by fire. In Japanese belief, dragons are associated with koi fish. Legend says that a koi fish’s ability to swim upstream and ...
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From Woodblock Print Art to Japanese Tattoos

From Woodblock Print Art to Japanese Tattoos
For the longest time, Japanese decorative tattoos were called horimono (彫り物, ‘carved’ ‘thing’ or ‘object’) while those used for punishment irezumi (入れ墨) which is why tattooists refused to use this term, wishing to distance their art from the rather brutal practice of ...
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Kunisada and the Tattoos of Kabuki Theatre

Kunisada and the Tattoos of Kabuki Theatre
The urban culture that developed in Edo city (today’s Tokyo) in the 18th and 19th century was a pleasure seeking one as townspeople saw kabuki theatre as the ultimate entertainment. Kabuki and its lively and daring performances offered a break amid a restricted lifestyle with plays largely ...
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Yoshitoshi Tsukioka and the Japanese Tattoo Legacy

Yoshitoshi Tsukioka and the Japanese Tattoo Legacy
Yoshitoshi Tsukioka was one of the leading figures in ukiyo-e during the Meiji era (1868-1912), and perhaps the greatest ukiyo-e artist among his contemporaries. Yoshitoshi’s style was dynamic and distinctive: he was known for experimentation in style and genre, as well as for his innovative works ...
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Kuniyoshi Utagawa – Master of Japanese Tattoos

Kuniyoshi Utagawa – Master of Japanese Tattoos
Many would recognize Kuniyoshi as one of the most iconic Japanese woodblock print artists, yet he is also credited with influencing another visual art form, that of traditional tattoo designs. These are still a source of inspiration and are followed with precision by tattooists practising Japanese ...
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