Interested in getting a Japanese tattoo? Want to know the meaning behind the symbolism? Read on to find out about the most popular Japanese tattoo symbols of all time.
The Japanese people are known to possess extraordinary skills in various fields. One of the fields where their craftsmanship and creativity comes into play is the art of tattooing. The Japanese tradition of tattooing dates back to ancient times and there is no nation on earth with the kind of tattooing heritage that Japan has.
Tattooing in Japan goes by a number of names. Irezumi and horimono are the two most famous names. The art of tattooing was inspired by the early influences of Buddhism and Confucianism. This is also one of the reasons why tattooing always carried a negative connotation with it. The art itself is also associated with the Japanese mafia.
The history of the art reveals that the ancient tribe of Ainu, the people who first settled in the land used to make facial tattoos. The Wa’ tribe is also one of the early groups of settlers that made use of full body tattoos. In China on the other hand which was far more advanced than Japan the art of tattooing was considered to be a barbaric practice. It was in fact considered to be a means of punishment for the criminals who were to be identified by their tattoos.
In today’s times the concept of tattooing has become a trend amongst the younger generation especially in the west. In Japan however the art form still continues to be associated with the underworld. Strange as it may sound what was first used to mark the criminals is now considered to be a fashion statement worth showing off.
The Japanese tattoo symbols that are now gaining popularity actually date back to 500 BC. There are possibilities that indicate that the designs could have existed even before this age. The ancient Japanese figurines that have been found also depict the face full of tattoos. In those times tattoos were considered to have a religious meaning attached with them.
Popular Japanese Tattoo symbols
One of the most popular styles of making tattoo symbols is kanji which is actually a calligraphy style of writing letters. Tattoo artists use this script in order to design and depict any message whatsoever. Words like happiness, love, peace, wealth, beautiful etc are amongst the most popular Japanese kanji symbols that you will find today.
Designs made out of exotic flowers are also part of the Japanese tradition of tattooing. Dragons and snakes also held an important mythological position in local folklore and Japanese tiger & dragon symbols and are commonly used in tattoos. Intricate designs featuring samurai warriors can also be seen.
Compositions featuring the Japanese koi fish are also considered to be very trendy. The cherry blossom and the lotus flower are other symbols that are used to create the designs for tattoos. An ancient Japanese tradition is that of full body tattooing which is one of the most unique things in the world. Although this practice has declined in today’s times it is still considered to be one of the freakiest things that one can do to their body.