Japanese Tattoos or “Irezumi” can be traced back 5,000 years ago. It is one of the most revered artworks in the Tattoo history. Some of the first artworks are found in primitive figurines that are made of clay. They are decorated with tribal designs and are found in tombs within Japan.
It is a form of expressive folk art that people would have designed on all parts of the body. Though it is said as an expression of one’s art, many see it negatively as time passed by it is used as brands, symbols, or characters that are identified on criminals of those who oppose the law.
Some indigenous tribes like “Ainu” well known for what they call “mouth Tattoos” were actually created from rubbing birch ash in small incisions.
These designs were only used for Ainu women who were marked at a young age by the hands of a priestess. Tattoos were used as a way to distinguish each one’s social status, coming of age and at the same time were believed to deeply sacred and religious.
Another similar practice was from Ancient “Okinawans” or “Uchinanchu people. To reiterate these tattoos were only for women and their tattoos have the shade indigo and are mostly done on hands called “hajichi” that symbolizes their onset of marriage, social status, and womanhood. People at this time believe that it can buzz off evil and provide security during their lifetime.
However, as time passed this tradition was ought to be seen negatively and was even banned in the 1800s.For more details of Japanese views of tattoos, you may visit this website: https://sites.wp.odu.edu/bodylore/2018/02/28/inked-and-exiled-a-history-of-tattooing-in-japan/
Many believed and due to a general perspective of Japanese people, tattoos and tattooing seem to focus on deviance and crime. Just like in Yakuza movies and stories that are being shared by people, imagery or branding is very popular among gang members which bring havoc to other people. You’ll know one is a Yakuza member as seen on their branding or tattoos.
Some may say getting inked is seen as disrespect to one’s body. It is known that Japan has a long history of etiquette, class, and respect in their ways, actions, and language. At the start of their school-age, manners and good behavioral skills helped them shape their everyday lives in and outside Japan. Getting inked is believed as a sign of disrespect towards oneself.
On the other hand, nowadays it is seen as a fashion statement, a way of expressing oneself and is already a part of one’s art.
Who Can Get A Tattoo?
Anyone who is above 18 years old can be inked (a valid ID is a must). Consent needs to be signed for younger ones and should follow as what their state mandates. Anyone who loves art, express themselves and show their love for art can get this done. One can get their body inked in any tattoo parlor near them like the Hand of Glory Tattoo or get it done by one of their artist friends.
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How To Take Care After Getting Inked
Always ask your artist about your aftercare routine!
- Healing can be 2-4 weeks depending on your tattoo design and your skin type.
- Always keep your tattoo clean and moisturized.
- Do not pick once your tattoo starts to scab.
- Always wash your hand before touching your tattoo.
- Do not submerge your tattoo in water especially in pools, tubs, lakes, rivers or ocean.
- Always remember not to expose your tattoo towards the direct heat of the sun during its healing time.
- Do not scratch or peel the areas.
- Always call the shop if you have any questions or if you are unsure about your tattoo’s healing time or results.
- Aftercare is the most crucial part of getting inked. Whatever you do during the healing process will directly affect the end results of your tattoo.
Which are better – regular designs or Japanese tattoos?
This is opinion based and depends on individual tastes when it comes to body art. Some may prefer Japanese styles or some may go for simpler ones. At any point, it comes down to the individual’s decision whether to go through it or give themselves more time to think and decide.
Are Tattoos Illegal in Japan?
Not at all. Tattoos are not illegal in most places as well as in Japan. There might be a link between Tattoos and illegal activities due to gangs and branding before but overall this is not illegal and can be done by anyone 18 years old and above.
Unlike most countries and states today, many are still hiding their tattoos when in Japan. It is indeed rare to see exposed bodies with tattoo marks on them. Japanese people don’t usually flaunt their tattoos in public as they are totally covered for social and status reasons.
Getting inked in Japan started a very long time and has a very complicated history, to begin with. It started in their history that it is powered by social control or status and power. Views, opinions, and traditions were passed down over centuries and are still directly related to the views of people today.
Asian countries are somewhat conservative when it comes to this form of art unlike in the Western areas that have come to accept tattooing all over their state. Due to stereotypes in Japan and because of their traditions, they still have not accepted these artworks completely. Artists of today and this generation still have to work hard to gain acceptance from their government as well as to all the people that surround them. Click here to know more.
Many still believe that this is a great way to express yourself and to show one’s artistic abilities through body art. It provides a person an outlet to enjoy and show a little bit of themselves to the world and see how others react to it.