Pop Culture and Japan

Understanding The Language Of Irezumi

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.

Continue reading “Understanding The Language Of Irezumi”

Pop Culture and Japan

Altered Carbon: Resleeved Review: Glorious Violence And Top-Notch Animation

Altered Carbon is one of the most original sci-fi series of recent memory. The idea that immortality has become a plaything through digital consciousness and swapping bodies/sleeves makes for a dark and fascinating tale. From books to a Netflix show, the series continues to expand into other mediums and the latest is an anime spin-off called Resleeved.

Set as a prequel to the Netflix series, Resleeved continues the exploits of the Last Envoy Takeshi Kovac and his search for meaning in a universe of corruption, crime and death. Continue reading “Altered Carbon: Resleeved Review: Glorious Violence And Top-Notch Animation”

Pop Culture and Japan

A Brief History Of Japanese Bodysuits

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”

Book Reviews

Japanese Tattoos Review: A Book Filled With Beautiful Irezumi

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.

Japanese Tattoos, written by Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny, goes into detail about the history of irezumi and the motifs that make it one of the most beautiful tattoo styles in the world. Continue reading “Japanese Tattoos Review: A Book Filled With Beautiful Irezumi”

Book Reviews

Tokyo Vice Review: A Gripping Tale Of The Yakuza And Japan’s Criminal Underworld

 There’s a romantic side to Japan that’s easy to get swept up in. It’s great to appreciate cherry blossoms, good food and samurai. But there’s also a dark side to the country. Human trafficking, prostitution and ruthless crime families and are all harsh realities that people deal with everyday in Japan.

Much of the corruption is attributed to the yakuza and the role they have in Japanese society. Tokyo Vice, written by Jake Adelstein, gives real insight into the world of the yakuza and Japan’s criminal underbelly. Provocative and gripping, Tokyo Vice is a worthy addition to any Japanophile’s book shelf. Continue reading “Tokyo Vice Review: A Gripping Tale Of The Yakuza And Japan’s Criminal Underworld”



When you walk the ultimate path

You walk without restraint

Without regard for your fellow man

You trade in souls and silence

Crimson currency

Draped in the illusion of honour

You mark yourself with myth

Weave colour into the fabric of your skin

A wolf among sheep

Howling in the empty chamber of your heart

You put on your suit

That shines like snakeskin

You toast to tradition

And shake down the people in your way

You say it’s worth it

You say life goes on

But you won’t be remembered

You’ll be forgotten

A bad dream chased away by the morning

That is how your path ends



There’s an old saying in the night markets of Tokyo

“A frog in a well does not know the great sea”

I never really understood what it meant

Until I found myself wandering the backstreets of Kabukichō

Looking for a reason not to go home

There’s something otherworldly about the place

A neon heaven calling to wayward souls

Like moths to a flame

On the way to a hostess bar

I cut through an alleyway

To see a parliament of black-suited men

Looming over a prone figure

The poor bastard had been beaten to a pulp

But he wasn’t who I was focusing on

One man stood apart from the group

He was the shortest among them

Yet somehow stood the tallest

Eyes the colour and hardness of flint

Stared in my direction

I’ve seen all kinds of stares in my life

Good, bad, happy, sad,

This man had none of them

His was a fathomless look

The kind you might expect from God

I have no idea how long I was standing there

Dumbstruck and exposed

But all it took was a simple nod from the man

A free pass to forget what I’d witnessed

And the spell was broken

The frog met the sea that night

Turns out wells are pretty damn comfortable