Tattoos in Japan   入れ墨

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Traditional Japanese tattoos are called "irezumi"

Irezumi - The Art of Ink

Tattooing in Japan has existed for a long time in the traditional form of irezumi, but a negative image surrounds this art...

Tattooing has represented for a long time in Japan a sign of belonging to the yakuza, the Japanese mafia. Currently, this reference remains strong and the Japanese are thus denied access to public baths, onsen (hot springs) and gyms if they wear tattoos, even discreet.

The irezumi Tattoo

It is the best known traditional tattoo that covers a large part of the body. It is performed by artists trained extensively with masters preserving the tradition. It's a very closed and secretive environment, in which the methods and designs have remained unchanged over the centuries. The motifs inspired by the plant world, real or mythological beasts and religious figures have a strong symbolic meaning and illustrate the qualities and defects that we already have or that one wishes to acquire.

The tattoo artist works freehand, drawing the outline first and then performing shading and coloring. The irezumi tattooing is still practiced today in Japan, but the time required to complete a work, its cost and pain discourage the bravest. The Tattoo Museum in Yokohama created by a famous master of traditional tattoo, Horiyoshi III, gives you the chance to discover the full range of tattoos.

Tattooing Today

The word tattoo is now used instead of irezumi. Young Japanese people use modern techniques to get tattooed in Japanese or Western style. They choose very discrete patterns, unlike their ancestors who would get their entire upper torso tattooed. Among the best known artists in Japanese tattoos, Yellow Blaze has an excellent reputation. Thousands of designs and unique creations are available, which Japanese and tourists alike can enjoy .

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