40 Epic Samurai Tattoos

In Ancient Japan, Samurais or bushis belonged to a specific social class close to nobles that allowed them to own two sabers.
Those sabres were called the katana and the wakizashi (a shorter saber). Settled in the countryside and reigning over the local population, they were rebels fighting the power in often intense battles in the name of honor and tradition.
But they mostly remained famous for their chivalrous code, the well-known bushidô (‘the way of the warriors’). The seven virtues of the bushidô are rectitude, courage, kindness, politeness, sincerity, honor and loyalty. The bushidô’s influence is still visible in contemporary world through combat sports and martial arts.
In Japanese traditional tattoo, Samurais have indeed an important place. They are represented fighting an enemy or a giant animal (fish, octopus, dragon, etc). They are making intricate and gorgeous designs with their detailed clothes and armor. Their armors were extremely important to show their power and scare the enemy. That’s why they are often represented with scary masks and impressive helmets. Associated with the pride of death, samurai tattoos are also often using skulls. The designs mostly come from old Japanese engravings for traditional tattoos and pictures from movies (of Akira Kurosawa or Takeshi Kitano for the most famous ones) and mangas for more contemporary styles of tattoos.

Samurai tattoos are mainly coveted by men, but it doesn’t prevent women to have one, even if they prefer female samurais. They are chosen to show love for Japanese culture, but also the respect of traditions, family and the values of the bushidô.
If you too are a loyal fighter and attracted by the history of Japan, be sure to take a look at those 40 impressive Samurai tattoos.