Japanese tattoo

Japanese tattoo is over 10,000 years old. The Japanese call it irezumi or horimono. Word irezumi can be written in various ways. Each time it has different meaning. For example, it can mean “insert ink” or “decorating the body”.

Japanese tattoos are applied by a person known as a horishi. It takes several years to become one. Education is done under the supervision of the master. Almost all horishi artists are male. There are various techniques of applying the tattoo. Some of the most famous ones are “tebori”, “hanebori” and “tsuki-bori”. When finished with his work the horishi “sign” his work. It is traditionally somewhere at customer's back.

Many people apply tattoo over almost whole body. It takes several years to apply such a complex tattoo. There are many motives applied as tattoo. Very popular ones are dragons, tigers, snakes, cherry blossoms, Buddhas and characters from the Japanese folklore.

Japanese tattoo
Japanese tattoo

Japanese tattoo has been changing its status in Japanese society throughout the history. During Edo period (1600-1868) tattoos were seen as popular symbols of love and courtship. At the beginning of Meiji period (1868-1912) the tattoo became illegal. It regain legality in 1948. Quite many Japanese often associate the person wearing tattoo with Japanese organized crime organization called Yakuza. Tattooed persons are not allowed in some spas or fitness clubs.