Heard about the Yakuza of Japan? Find out about the origins of Japanese Yakuza tattoos and what people think of them in today’s times.
Amongst the many unique elements in the Japanese culture is the tradition of organized crime. Criminal gangs that take part in organized crime form the Japanese Yakuza. The unique name of the organization has actually been derived from a Japanese card game quite similar to Black Jack.
The members of this organization are misfits of society. The organization is made up of individuals involved in peddling and gambling as well as roving bandits and renegade warriors. The origins of this organization can be traced back to the 17th century and is one of the oldest criminal organizations in the world.
The Origins of the Yakuza Tattoo Culture
Yakuza is known for its tattoo culture. The members of the clan are individuals loaded with decorative tattoos which more than often encompass large areas of the body. Full sleeve tattoos and full body tattoos are trends that the yakuza is known for.
The art of tattooing has played a major role in laying the foundations of this criminal organization. In fact the tattooing that brought about this outcast group was not so much an art form during those days. Tattoos were used as a punitive measure in Japan for many years. Every time a criminal would be caught committing a felony he would be stamped with a tattoo either on his arm or for head.
With the passage of time this created a number of individuals who were outcasts to society because they had been stamped for life with the punitive tattooing. Seeing no other way out such individuals joined forces and began engaging in organized crime.
The tattoos on their bodies became a source of shame for the individuals. Hence they sought to cover them up by creating decorative tattoos around their criminal marks. This resulted in the formation of the culture of yakuza tattoos.
It is no wonder you find that the art of tattooing has negative connotations associated with it in Japan even till today. Anyone who has tattoos and especially the tattoos that the members of the yakuza are famous for popularizing is considered to be part of the criminal organization.
Public Opinion About Yakuza Tattoos
Japanese Yakuza tattoos have been glorified in many movies and television programs. This has gotten many non-Japanese people to appreciate them as an art form. It is true that Yakuza tattoos have highly shady beginnings but there can be no questioning about the artistic value of the intricate designs of the tattoos. This is not to say that you go ahead and get your whole body tattooed.
Body suit tattoos basically act like a membership badge for the yakuza gang. A full back tattoo takes around a hundred hours to complete which requires the individual to exercise utmost patience. The members of the Yakuza go through all this pain in order to declare their rebellion with society.
Some fans of Japanese Yakuza tattoos are actually saddened by the declining popularity of the trend as they consider it to be a unique form of traditional Japanese art. Others are more than happy to let this barbaric trend slip out of Japanese culture for good.