Don't let the title of todays' Tattoo of the Day fool you: although this is a collection of Japanese tattoos, we've pulled this particular selection to show that Asian influence comes in many different aesthetics, styles, and concepts. Just like all cultures, the Japanese have a rich history of art forms and movements. Many of these are still directly influencing current Japanese artistic culture, as well as in tattooing. Japanese tattoos, as one of the oldest forms of tattooing, has a special place within the tattoo community. We love to see not only super gorgeous traditional Irezumi still continuing today, but also artists taking Japanese tattoos in new directions.
Japanese tattoos began around 10,000 BC and, like many tattoos of that time, they were for spiritual as well as decorative uses. The art form evolved greatly over the years, but it became the style we know and love through the woodblock prints in the Edo period (1603-1867). The traditional design icons of dragons, clouds, warriors and more were brought into the forefront through Japanese folklore and legends; these same images and design continue to inspire today. While tons of people opt for a koi fish wrapped around their calf, some brave souls hark to the warrior within and get full body pieces just like samurais of old.
There are definitely more aspects of artistic culture that inspire those exploring the style of Japanese tattoos. Manga is one of these strong influences, and like traditional Irezumi iconography, has its roots in the Edo period. Since the invention of television was far off, stories in scroll form were one of the main leisure activities of the day and this is the start of the manga we currently know. Manga directly inspired Japanese animation, and this also continues to spark ideas for tattoos today. From old school favorites like Akira to new school faves like Spirited Away, the creative flair and particular style of the Japanese has helped many differently styles of Japanese tattoos to flourish, as todays' Tattoo of the Day proves.