Yokai tattoos are some of our favorites. If you haven't noticed, Irezumi tattooing is one of the most popular, and most historically entrenched tattoo styles today, and yokai are totally a part of that history. There are tons of creatures, ghosts, spirits, demons, and other strange types that are a part of Japanese folklore so it may be hard to keep track...but we're here to help and educate! Japanese tattooing has a fascinating history that has so much symbolism...this shows up in a lot of tattoos that are inspired by these facets of culture. Yokai, to put it simply, "are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. The word yōkai is made up of the kanji for "bewitching; attractive; calamity"; and "spectre; apparition; mystery; suspicious"." (Thanks Wikipedia....)
One of our favorite yokai tattoo's in this collection is by Bang Ganji, a resident tattooer at the famed Three Tides Tattoo in Tokyo, Japan. He's actually known for his super creepy yokai tattoos that dig deep into antique woodblocks, and paintings to create his own spin on these spirit pieces. Somehow he turns something totally disturbing into something even more disturbing using his tattoo machine as if it were a brush dipped ink. Verging on a blend between dark art and Irezumi, his tattoos are not to be missed.
If you're interested in learning more about the creatures in these yokai tattoos, we suggest watching the 1968 film 'Yokai Monsters: One Hundred Monsters'. There are actually three films in the Yokai series, so if one isn't enough you have two more! There are also a lot of books on the subject, including one of our favorites 'Dream Spectres: Extreme Ukiyo-e: Sex, Blood, Demons, Monsters, Ghosts, Tattoo'. This is also part of a series, one that tattooist turn to for inspiration regularly. These yokai tattoos are only scratching the surface! Let us know if you have a yokai tattoo or want to get one; you know we always like to know what's going on.