Often they just think it looks cool, but they do not know the meanings and motives behind the Japanese tattoo style, so I will try to see if I can make it more clear and understandable without it being too boring. Are you ready for a quick guide to Japanese tattoos and folklore?
In the West, the dragon often symbolizes strength, ferocity and wealth- they are seen as a destructive force and sometimes as a guardian. The Japanese and the east in general, have another point of view. In their culture, the dragons are generous that use their strength to do good for mankind and carry the meaning of kind forces and wisdom. Each color in the Japanese tattoo has a different meaning as well.
Black dragons are children of a thousand-year-old dragon that is black-gold. They are symbols of the North. They caused storms by battling in the air.
Blue dragons are children of blue-gold dragons that are eight hundred years old. They are purest in blue colors, the sign of the coming spring and the symbol of the East.
Yellow dragons are born from yellow-gold dragons who are one thousand years old or older. They hold no symbolism. They are secluded and wander alone. They appear at 'the perfect moment' and at all other times remain hidden. Yellow dragons are also the most revered of the dragons.
Red dragons descend from a red-gold dragon who is about one thousand years of age. They are the the symbol for the West, and are much like black dragons. Red dragons can cause storms in the skies when they fight - a great idea for a fierce Japanese tattoo.
White dragons come from white-gold dragons of a thousand years of age. They symbolize the South. White is the Chinese color of mourning, and these dragons are a sign of death. A pretty nice idea for a more serious Japanese tattoo.
Now let's see- do you know how many toes Japanese dragons have? If no, scroll back up and have another look at these amazing pictures. Often customers brings me drawings of Japanese dragons with four toes... BUT, let's try and dive into some Eastern Folklore peeps.
Chinese dragons, they have five toes. The Chinese believe that all eastern dragons originated from China. They believe that the dragons flew away, and the farther away they got, they began to lose their toes. Korean dragons have four toes, and the Japanese dragons have three toes. The Japanese believed that all dragons originated from Japan, and the further away they flew, they gained extra toes.
No matter how you type it in, Japanese or Chinese, the Korean dragon is the one that is shown in 7 out of 10 pictures. So, do not trust Google on this one peeps- the only thing to do to make sure, is to count those toes.
I really hope you enjoyed this quick guide and have a better understanding of the different types a Japanese tattoo.