Japanese Tattoo designs
Hero image
Hero background

Japanese tattooing originated in ancient Japan during the edo period,At first tattooing in Japan was a punitive measure to mark criminals.However, due to a Chinese Novel ‘Suikoden’which depicted folk heroes with full body tattoos, tattoos became popular in Japan.The designs were based on Japanese woodblock prints (‘ukiyo-e’) and were appropriated from Japanese artist such as Utagawa Kuniyoshi and Katsushika Hokusai.Japanese tattoo designs have their origin in Japanese mythology,
below are some of the most popular designs in Japanese tattooing:

Koi Fish Tattoos: Symbolizing Perseverance

Koi fish tattoos are among the most popular Japanese designs. These magnificent, brightly coloured fish are a symbol of determination and overcoming adversity. A koi should always swim upstream as sign of good luck.In Japanese mythology a koi will turn into a dragon after jumping through a magical waterfall known as the ‘dragon gates’overcoming a waterfall represents the triumph over life's challenges. The golden boy day in Japan is symbolised by the koi fish as a transition into manhood.2. Dragon Tattoos: A Symbol of Power and WisdomDragons are a recurring motif in Japanese culture, symbolizing power, strength, and wisdom. Japanese dragon tattoos often feature intricate details, there are four different archetypes of dragons which you can read in more detail about in the following blog post:

japanese-colour-koi-fish-tattoo

Colour Japanese koi fish tattoo by Carl Sebastian

Cherry Blossom Tattoos: Embracing Transience

Cherry blossoms, or “Sakura”, hold a significant place in Japanese culture. They symbolize the fleeting nature of life and are often associated with the concept of ‘mono no aware’, which is an appreciation for the beauty of impermanence. Cherry blossom tattoos are delicate and beautiful, making them a popular choice for those who appreciate the transitory nature of existence.

Hanya Mask Tattoos: The jealous wife

A Hanya mask comes from Kabuki theatre where a fisherman’s wife gets so jealous that she grows horns and transforms into a demon.

japanese-hanya-mask-tattoo-for-men

Japanese hanya mask tattoo by Carl Sebastian Valhalla tattoo

Geisha Tattoos: Celebrating Elegance

Geisha tattoos celebrate the grace, elegance, and artistry of geisha culture. These tattoos often feature a beautifully adorned geisha in a traditional kimono, accompanied by fans, parasols, or other symbolic elements. Geisha tattoos pay homage to the world of traditional Japanese entertainment and beauty.

Samurai Tattoos: Embodying Honor and Loyalty

Samurai tattoos are a tribute to the warrior class of feudal Japan. These tattoos often feature samurai in full armour, wielding swords, or engaged in battle. Samurai tattoos symbolize honour, loyalty, and a strong sense of duty, making them a popular choice among those who admire ‘Bushido’ the way of the warrior.

Peony Tattoos: Representing Wealth and Prosperity

Peony tattoos are vibrant and lush, symbolizing wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. Peonies are know as ‘The King of flowers’.The peony is a spring flower and is often paired with Tigers or a Japanese lion also known as a ‘Foo dog’.In Japanese tattoos a peony is often associated with gambling a and a devil may care attitude.Chrysanthemum ‘Kiku’Chrysanthemum is known as the royal flower as it used to appear on the emperor of Japan’s emblem. Chrysanthemums are an autumnal flower and as such should never be used in conjunction with Cherry blossoms as they blossom in spring.

Peony Tattoo Tom

Tiger (Tora)

The tiger is considered to be the supreme of all the land animals in Japanese tattoos, It represents strength, courage and long life. Tigers are also said to ward of bad luck, disease and scare away demons. Tigers are often seen fighting Japanese demons (Oni) in Japanese tattoos.

Wearing a tiger pelt on your back is said to remove all aches and pain. The tiger is a symbol of the north represents the autumn season and is said to control the wind.

japanese-style-tiger-tattoo

The tiger is considered to be the supreme of all the land animals in Japanese tattoos.

Japanese tigers are a prominent tattoo design in Japanese tattooing. It stands for strength, courage and is used to ward of bad luck and evil spirits. Tigers are often seen fighting Japanese demons (Oni) in Japanese tattoos.

Wearing a tiger pelt on your back is said to remove all aches and pain. The tiger is a symbol of the north represents the autumn season and is said to control the wind.

When a tiger is tattooed next to a dragon, the tiger represents the Yin in yin and yang and is seen as one half of the universe. Wearing a tiger pelt on your back is said to remove all aches and pain. The tiger is one of the four sacred animals in Japanese tattoos.

Check out some of the Japanese tattoos in our gallery below:

https://valhallatattoostudio.com.au/tattoo-styles/japanese

View all styles