16 Lucky and Funny Tanuki Tattoos

jentheripper in Tattoo Ideas

Tanuki tattoos may not be very popular, but they are an important element of Japanese art very worth knowing.

It would be a pity to be a tattoo art lover and not trying to learn more on Japanese culture, as it is closely intertwined with tattoo art, even the more contemporary forms of it. And when knowledge is also synonymous of fun, it is even better! Tanukis are little animals from the Japanese folklore, still present in the everyday life. If you already have visited Japan, you may have spotted statues of them in temples, villages and houses. The tanuki has appeared in legends in the Middle Age. Inspired by a real animal living in Japan, Korea and China, the raccoon dog, it is a yôkai, a magic spirit of the forest. The tanuki is a trickster, and it is supposed to be able to change its form and test humans. But the best part is coming: it can turn leaves into bank-bills (just for that, you might want to worship it...)! Representations of tanukis are attracting luck and prosperity, statues indeed but also tattoos!
You can easily recognize a tanuki: it is a fat furry animal, with a rice straw hat, a bottle of sake and... a huge pair of testicles......... Yes. But they are not only huge (according to the legend, they can extend to the size of 8 tatamis...), they can also be used for many funny activities, from fighting, fishing, jumping in parachute, protecting from rain, etc. The imagination of Japanese artist, as well as their sense of humor, is limitless! They are the symbol of wealth, coming from the ancien use of animal testicles' skin in the collecting of gold. You got to be ballsy (get it???) to get Tanuki tattoos, but it is a very protective and nice creature! It is always smiling to show the importance of generosity. Its hat is protecting it from unexpected troubles, and it is a great symbol of life's pleasure and enjoyment of the present moment. Who said money can't buy happiness???

Also representated as a daruma doll, tanukis can also be found in more modern uses: in animation movies indeed, but also video games. Since Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario can turn into a tanuki each time he catches a leaf, and you often meet tanukis in many other games. Not convinced yet? Then check this collection of hilarious, mysterious and, mostly, adorable Tanuki tattoos...

Cute tanuki by Emily of Empire Tattoos...
Cute tanuki by Emily of Empire Tattoos...
The art of Jee Sayalero is full of little Japanese creatures, including tanukis.
The art of Jee Sayalero is full of little Japanese creatures, including tanukis.
Another cool sleeve by Jee Sayalero, with a lovely tanuki!
Another cool sleeve by Jee Sayalero, with a lovely tanuki!
Very happy tanuki by Alex Nunez.
Very happy tanuki by Alex Nunez.

Recent from Tattoo Ideas

By Gakkin.
By Gakkin.
Haha! Fun and cute tattoo by Horikaka mixing a tanuki with a daruma!
Haha! Fun and cute tattoo by Horikaka mixing a tanuki with a daruma!
By Javi Galien.
By Javi Galien.
Now, let's have fun with those testicles!!!! Hilarious tattoo by Klaus Huber.
Now, let's have fun with those testicles!!!! Hilarious tattoo by Klaus Huber.
Maybe using them as a parachute??? By Micah Harold.
Maybe using them as a parachute??? By Micah Harold.
Or turning them into a dragon, as in the ancient illustrations??? By Owen Williams...
Or turning them into a dragon, as in the ancient illustrations??? By Owen Williams...
By Magnus Jansson.
By Magnus Jansson.
Traditional yôkai thigh tattoos with a tanuki and a kitsune, by Nat Tat 2 Wheels.
Traditional yôkai thigh tattoos with a tanuki and a kitsune, by Nat Tat 2 Wheels.
By Steve Patnaude.
By Steve Patnaude.
By LTW.
By LTW.
By Diego.
By Diego.
And a very psychedelic one by Tattoos by Knuckle!
And a very psychedelic one by Tattoos by Knuckle!

jentheripper

@JenTheRipper

Writer for art related medias. Fell in love with tattoo while researching for another passion, crime history. Travelling, admiring, sharing.

Follow

More from Author

We Recommend

Recent Staff Picks