Tattoos have different meanings across different cultures, running the gamut from sacred art to the mark of criminals. In Japan, tattoos are part of a wider subculture called irezumi, a style of iconography with its own unique images and motifs.
The most detailed irezumi designs are found in bodysuits, which are often associated with the yakuza. One man was so fascinated by irezumi that it compelled him to start a museum and display irezumi ‘pelts’ for his scientific research. His name was Dr Fukushi Masaichi.
Tattoos means different things in different cultures, with specific stylistic choices taking on their own culture and tradition. Japanese tattoos, also known as irezumi, are among the most distinctive. But the word ‘irezumi’ means far more than ‘tattoo.’ Irezumi is a lifestyle choice intwined with the seasons and a representation of an art form that has been built up over centuries.
To truly understand the language of irezumi, it’s worth knowing the words that appear in the category. Yamato Magazine has created a helpful glossary to introduce you to the wonderful world of Japanese tattoos.
Japanese tattoos, also known as irezumi, is a distinctive art style that has developed over hundreds of years. Known for colourful mythology, monsters and nature motifs, irezumi is a beautiful expression of individualism. The ultimate expression of Japanese tattooing is the bodysuit, which covers the skin in a similar way to clothing. Continue reading “A Brief History Of Japanese Bodysuits”→
The Kokoro Files shines a light on the connection that everyday people have with Japan. For some, the connection inspires them to write and that’s definitely the case for Brian Ashcraft. The author of several Japan related books, which includes Japanese Tattoos, Ashcraft is dedicated to his craft.
As a fan of tattoos, one of my favourite pastimes is discovering new styles. Irezumi, the art of Japanese tattooing, has always been fascinating to me because of its connotations in Japan. Associated with criminality, irezumi is thought be both shocking and taboo. But outside of Japan, the distinctive style has captivated tattoo enthusiasts and that kind of contrast is intriguing.