The Psychology Behind Japanese Tattoos

Harmony Cardenas

The art of Japanese tattooing has gained great popularity over the years. From the days when it was associated with the Yakuza, it has come a long way in representing the whole of Japanese culture and tradition. Japanese art always has something for everyone. Whether you want a cherry blossom design or wish to go for a fierce dragon, you will find it all in different styles, colors and designs. Ranging from a koi fish to a mortal combat scene, Japanese tattoos have a variety of meanings associated with their art.

History and significance of Japanese tattoos

There is a rich and strong historical background behind all Japanese tattoos. There are designs inspired by old figurines on tombs and some historical documents indicate that Japanese men used to have their faces and bodies decorated in various colors and styles. Then later in Japanese history when Chinese culture left its influence on Japan, tattooing became taboo and was reserved for criminals and outcasts. Traditional Japanese tattoos used to symbolize different types of character in people. Currently, Japanese tattoos are famous for ranging from small tattoos to brilliant large-sized designs that can cover an entire arm of the person having it tattooed.

Japanese tattoo designs and symbolism

There are various types of Japanese tattoo designs that are famous among people for their special significance. Some of these are the following:

Cherry Blossom: These are symbolic of life and are also known as Sakura. Though cherry blossoms are fragile it is considered to be their beauty that they are able to survive and bloom even in harsh conditions. Japanese culture believes that life should be lived to the fullest and the awareness of death should govern good living. That is the power of a cherry blossom tattoo, and one should take good care of it when it is tattooed onto the body.

Koi Fish: Koi fish are brightly-colored fish that are related to the spiritual significance of the Japanese culture and are very famous in tattoo designs. It is believed by Japanese people that koi fish go upstream to reach the gates of heaven where they become dragons. Koi fish are representative of power, ambition, strength, luck and individuality. If a tattoo has to symbolize a person’s struggle in life, then a koi fish tattoo is the perfect way to do that.

Dragons: Being an important part of the culture of Japan, dragons symbolize wisdom, strength, freedom, power and courage. They even symbolize supernatural powers at times. It is important to choose the right colors for dragons, though, as each symbolizes something different. So, you can get dragons designed in a variety of ways after checking their significance with your artist.

Hannya Masks: This is a traditional design where the meaning of demonic masks comes from kabuki plays. These tattoos represent good luck and are believed to ward off evil.

There are several other Japanese tattoo designs that you might like, but make sure you know their meanings and significance before getting any of them tattooed.

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