Intended And Covered

When the process really starts, the tool is held in the right hand, a sumi-filled brush is held between the ring and the small fingers of the left hand and the hari is first dipped in the ink and then put under the skin. Once the schedule is complete, the shadow begins: this process is called bokashi. There are several techniques in this process, the first being known as tsuki-hari or imo-hari in which the needles are easily hit and removed. This technique is relatively simple in nature, but cannot guarantee a constant depth, so it is generally only used to fill large color areas.

Because each region had its own design, people with tattoos were able to identify where the crime had been committed. In the top left corner of Figure 1, the Inu symbol for dogs is used to identify criminals in Hiroshima. Hiroshima’s design was tattooed in a series shown at the bottom of Figure 1, in which each blow indicated a different crime. In Chikuzen, now Fukuoka, the tattoo consisted of a new line with every crime as shown in the top right corner.

The irezumi technique requires the use of a special ink called Nara or zumi ink. Tattoos in Japan are mainly stigmatized for ties to Yukuza, gangs and Traditional Japanese Tattoo Design Ideas childish piety. Throughout history, tattoos have been used to symbolize people who have committed crimes, and the first record was found in 710 AD.

For centuries, stigma around tattoos in Japan seems to focus on crime and distraction and respect. Yakuza’s films, which became popular around the 1970s, helped strengthen the image of a tattooed gang member as a threat to society . Although the Yakuza work to avoid tattoos like signs of gang membership, the stereotypical image remains.

The history of sacred tattoos and rituals in Japan has made this a revered and important aspect of tradition. Perhaps the most iconic image is that of the dragon, which is seen in Asian culture as a wise being with power to use the universe to his advantage and bring blessings to the wearer. They appear to be elements in many legends and folk tales, and have a lot of courage, work ethic and the ability to flow through the difficulties of life like water. However, there is the Kintaro story that shows that koi can also be stubborn and dangerous.

Accepted as a language to identify criminals and outcasts, these tattoo markers created a negative perspective on tattoos. For example, families would distance themselves from criminal family members and tattooed members were not allowed to participate in community activities. The next major change in tattoo history takes place during the Edo period, when artists rebelled through art against the strict social hierarchy of the Tokugawa Shogunate military dictatorship, making irezumi an aesthetic choice. Simultaneously with the parodic prints of wooden blocks known as ukiyo-e, the common motifs on wooden block prints were integrated into tattoo designs.

Common motifs (dragons and demons, terrifying predators, koi fish and cherry blossoms) were fraught with meaning and added another layer to the story. Clearly, this is just a brief look at the dense world of Irezumi and he hardly scratches the surface of the meanings, symbolism and history that come together in Japanese tattoo culture. Japanese tattoos have always been a popular art form, and it still is as true as ever, with the style getting louder all over the world. One of the most popular Japanese tattoo designs, the koi fish, represents courage, happiness, work ethic, success and happiness. The untrained tattoo artist may not appreciate the importance of expressing all four seasons on the skin. For example, it could reveal its ignorance, where both a snake and a cherry blossom are included in the same scene, because the moment a cherry blossom blooms, the snake hibernates underground.

The Japanese government banned tattoos during the Meiji period and tattoos got the impression of crime. This did not stop visitors to the country from seeking the skills of irezumi artists who make traditional tattoos an elusive ability. The tattoos were legalized by the occupier in 1948, but their reputation has already been compromised and more marked as a stigma associated with Japan’s famous mafia, the yakuza. During the Kofun period (300–600 AD), irezumi started to build a negative reputation.