Inside: Irezumi Tattoo + Meaning.

Irezumi Tattoo Meaning

The common term for Japanese tattoo art is irezumi, meaning to insert ink. This refers to the Japanese tattooing tradition of inserting ink beneath the skin to form the tattoo.

Irezumi Tattoo definition

What do Japanese tattoos represent?

Traditionally, Japanese tattoos began as a means of conveying societal status as well as serving as spiritual symbols that were often used as a sort of charm for protection as well as symbolizing devotion, not unlike modern religious tattoos.

Popular Irezumi Tattoos + Meanings

Dragon: Dragon tattoos are seen more as companions to protect the person against evil spirits and evil people. They are usually done in black, but can come in a variety of colors—green (natural), blue (gentle and forgiving), yellow (nobility), and gold (righteousness).

Koi Fish: Koi, short for Nishikigoi, is a species of carp that is prized, first and foremost, for its exquisite patterns. They’re believed to bring prosperity and good fortune, so households often have them as pets. But more than being physically beautiful, they are very strong and resilient creatures who are able to swim upstream through rough currents.

Snake: The Chinese zodiac says that people born in the year of the snake are highly intellectual and philosophical. Additionally, because snakes periodically shed their skin, they also denote healing, regeneration, good health, and even immortality.

Phoenix: It is associated with rebirth, reawakening, and new beginnings. Its alternate name, fushichou literally translates to ‘The Immortal Bird’.

Samurais: Although Samurais used to be adversaries of the Yakuza because the former lived a virtuous life, while the latter chose the life of crime, Samurais have become a popular tattoo choice among the Yakuza because they believe that they embody the way of the warrior.

Geisha: These alluring entertainers embody fertility, good fortune, and tradition.

Find More Inspiration

Irezumi Tattoo Images

Irezumi Tattoo Ideas Design

1. Snake

2. Fish Design

3. Full Sleeves + Chest Piece

4. Small Lotus Tattoo

5. Cherry Blossom Design