Tattoo styles come and go, but one style continues to maintain its popularity throughout the centuries. And that’s traditional Japanese, or Irezumi, AKA Oriental style tattoos. Originating during the Edo period (1603-1868), Japanese style is rooted in folklore featuring heroes from the Suikoden and mythological. Think creatures of legend, lotus flowers, characters from the Japanese language, and tsunami waves. Every tattoo tells a powerful story.
Traditional Japanese tattoos are not just for the Yakuza, just like traditional Americana tattoos are not just for sailors or criminals.
However, Irezumi was born from covering up tattoos that Japanese criminals received in prison. To that end, tattooing was associated with the Yakuza mafia which led to the practice being outlawed until 1948! The practice of penal tattooing died out in the 17th century, but the art of decorative Irezumi has proven eternal.
You better be committed if you’re going for an Oriental piece, and prepared to sit for a very long time. Japanese tattoos are a work of art and your skin is the canvas.