Samurai Tattoos

Written by: tattify

With the advent of tattoos and the various types and styles of tattoos and techniques, there has been a welcoming mix of different cultures, that has found its way onto people’s body as art. Also, samurai tattoos are part of Japanese culture. A popular choice among Americans and people of other cultures and admirers.

Varying size of tattoos with differing details and colors, that look strikingly attractive against the skin. Japanese culture tattoos use bright colors and intricate designs. Moreover, men mostly prefer samurai tattoos, but common among women too, popularised by Japanese Anime and Manga.

History of Samurai Tattoos

A samurai, in Japanese, is referred to as ‘bushi’ or ‘buke,’ was the warrior or military nobility or officer caste in medieval and early modern Japanese culture. Started from the Asuka and Nara periods, right up to Late Heian Period where there was the rise of samurai clan, the word comes from the word ‘saburau,’ which means ‘to serve.’

Samurai was traditionally warrior class who served people at ranks higher than them in society. They existed between the 12th and 19th century by the orders of Emperor Meiji. During this time, all the power was in the hands of the samurai, but later, their prominence and importance faded as they were stripped of their abilities.

They were expected to live a life of service, nobility, and honor. With the rise of Zen Buddhism in the 13th century, meditation taught them to stop the needless killing, remove the fear of death and courage.

Meaning of Samurai Tattoo

Samurai tattoo holds various meanings, depending on the style. Traditionally a samurai tattoo stands for courage, masculinity, bravery, self-discipline, free from fear of life and death, honor, nobility, frugality, and respect. As warriors, a samurai tattoo designs signify the fighting spirit and desire to serve to a higher power. Samurais lived a disciplined life like every day is their last. Hence a samurai tattoo can symbolize this belief.

Types of Samurai Tattoo & Designs

  • Double-edged sword design. It showed the position of a samurai, where on the one hand he is respectful and protective towards the higher ranks but ruthless towards the commoners.
  • The full regalia design. A samurai in full costume of leather of iron plates. Done in color or outline of black and white. Either way, the details are intricate and neat.
  • A samurai wearing a Kabuto, the traditional helmet they wore for protection and recognition.
  • Samurai weapon. A beautiful and sharp Japanese sword design as a tattoo.
  • Samurai women. Marrying a samurai would turn you into a samurai woman, who stands for obedience, strength, loyalty, self-control, and humility. These tattoos seem feminine and beautiful, but a symbol of bravery and ferocity at the time of adversity.
  • The samurai mask tattoo is covering the whole body.

Traditional Samurai Tattoos

Samurai Irezumi, the Japanese word for Irezumi, the Japanese word for insertion of ink in the skin. Done by Horimatsu and is a traditional tattooing method. A samurai tattoo of the two swords, a large katana and a smaller helper one. A sign of great authority and it’s use bound by rules. Tattoos of samurai done in watercolor styles.

Tattoos in black and white outline. Dot work and line work style of samurai tattoo. A particular stance of the samurai, reflecting a specific personality trait of the bearer of the tattoo design. Samurai tattoo along the whole body that depicts a story about a samurai and his life or fights. A samurai on horseback, done in black and grey scale. Yin and Yang symbols as japanese samurai mask.

Incorporations of tigers, koi fish, and dragons along with the samurai as a tattoo image. There are some other Japanese culture incorporations in samurai tattoo, like the Fuji Mountains, snakes, waves, and clouds. A samurai with the traditional Japanese fan. Minimalistic tattoos of the samurai elements or weapons. Samurai tattoo in sketching style. Samurai tattoo using red and black colors.

Placement of Samurai Tattoo

Samurai tattoos are bright, colorful and vibrant images inked on various body parts. Also, these tattoos are incredibly detailed and strikingly attractive. Traditional japanese samurai tattoo involves the use of colors like red, blacks, blue and others, to paint realistic or cartoon images of the samurai class.

Also, large tattoos need a large surface to act as a canvas for the tattoo artist. So, the lower back, lower abdomen, things provide such space. Moreover, there are tattoo enthusiasts who ink their entire back with an irezumi. Full and half sleeve tattoos on the forearm. The choice of design is either a figure of a samurai or his face.

Smaller samurai tattoo on the wrists, neck, feet, and ankle. The old traditional style of samurai tattoo in Japanese culture is the Tebori style, where they used bamboo sticks with lined needles fitted on them to make the tattoos. A rather painful method, yet it produces stunningly beautiful tattoos on the legs, arms, chest, and thighs.

The samurai tattoos are either real-life images of the warriors in their war attire, or their weapons and other articles. One can choose the stance or pose they want, depending on the message you wish to convey through your body art. Inking these tattoos on the skin takes a lot of skill and experience. Therefore, you should consult a professional studio for such tattoos.

All in All, Samurai tattoos are a great option if you want a tattoo with symbolism and meaning. Samurai tattoos are interesting and a bold choice of tattoo, and reflects one’s personality and preference.

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