Japanese Style Tattooing

A major part of the tattooing process is choosing the exact image that you would like to have permanently inked on your body. The next step after that usually involves deciding which particular style you would prefer, with American traditional and new school being just a couple of the many options available to you. Things get a little trickier with the Japanese style of tattooing, as there are a limited number of images to choose from, with each one having a very specific meaning. If you want a Japanese tattoo, it is best that you choose something that actually makes sense in terms of the meaning.
Tattooing in Japan stretches back centuries, and the original method of tattooing was called Irezumi. This was long before the tattoo machines that we know today were invented, and it was wooden-handled tools, as well as needles attached by silk thread that were used to apply the ink. It was a ridiculously painful process that was long and very drawn out. Ironically enough, as Japanese style tattoos have become more popular in the West, they are tougher to find in Japan itself. There is something of a criminal connotation applied to tattoos there, with members of the Yakuza the ones who most proudly sport their ink.
Many of the Japanese people who fall into that category will go with the full body suit, which essentially sees their entire body covered with tattooed images. A traditional Japanese body suit does require that a patch of bare skin be left untouched down the front of the torso. This gives the appearance of the suit jacket being left open, exposing the skin below. It is a rather dramatic look that helps the surrounding images really jump off the body.
The full body suit would be an expensive investment if you were to have it done today, which may explain why some people stick to just one or two traditional Japanese tattoos. If this is a style that you are interested in, then you are probably wondering which image to get. Let’s take a quick look at some of the more popular images, and what they mean.
Dragons are very popular, and are generally used in the West to display strength and ferocity, whereas Japanese people would get them as a sign of wisdom and benevolence. Koi fish are another very popular image, and traditionally feature elements that are masculine in nature. They are used as symbols of strength and perseverance, and in Japanese culture, the koi fish would have its strength rewarded by being transformed into a dragon.
Women looking for a Japanese tattoo can choose from one of the many flowers that are present in Eastern imagery. Each of the flowers has a different meaning, so it’s a good idea to research when choosing which one you would like. The phoenix is another great Japanese image, and it is used as a symbol of rebirth or transformation, since the legend says that the phoenix rose from its own ashes.
The stories and legends behind these, and many other traditional Japanese images used for tattooing, are incredible. A little bit of homework on the history of each will help you choose the Japanese style tattoo that is best suited to your own life story.