Do You Speak Kanji? Understand Japanese Tattoo Language.



Japanese Kanji tattoo Design for respect



Japanese Tattoo and Design has come a long way, since it was first outlawed in the early 1900's. Recently the Japanese are worldwide recognized for their extra ordinary and artistic body tattoos.

In recent years this attitude toward body art has found its way into the Western wolrd, where many tattoo receivers and artists are no longer satisfied with taking a flash design off of a shelf and place it randomly on the body.

Tattooing has genuinely evolved into an art form, with the pieces of art being something meaningful to the tattooee.

Take for example the Japanese tattoo form of Irezumi. Japanese tattoo form of Irezumi. The word “Irezumi” means literally the insertion of ink under the skin to leave a permanent mark or tattoo.

Traditional irezumi is a single themed tattoo that covers the arms, back, upper legs and chest. These designs are very detailed and time consuming. It can take up to five or six years to be completed and can cost anything between $40,000 and $55,000.00 depending on the design. It is very obvious why these should only be done by specialist tattooists.

It is too bad that despite the increased demand for these kind of tattoos, it is still associated with criminal activity, it probably stems from the many years that traditional Japanese tattoos were connected to the Yakuza,(Japan’s Own Mafia!)

In Japan, some businesses would not allow any one displaying this kind of tattoo in their stores!

In the West these forms of tattoo is more widely accepted. The very popular TV program, Miami Ink, has contributed a great deal to make the general public more aware of these different tattoo styles, and what I really like about this program, is the human element that they continue to bring into the show. Another form of Japanese tattoo that is greatly gaining popularity, is Kanji, probably because of its simplicity.

With Japanese Kanji, you can choose a single or a couple of symbols, to express yourself on your body, but a word of caution here. Not all tattoo artists are familiar with the so called “Kanji-Language” and though most of them will have a translation chart off of which you can choose your design, be very careful.

These designs are extremely complex in their meaning, and you might want to display a symbol that says that you are a free spirit, but will end up with a symbolSaying that you are free for the taking!!

This will for sure not be your intention, but will get you a bunch of funny looks from people who are fluent in japanese and kanji!

If you are curios about Kanji symbols and the evolution of this artform, read more about it here.

Here are a few Kanji symbols and their meanings, however, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the meanings, I do not speak Kanji myself.







If you are looking for more Kanji symbols and their meanings, many are free, please click here.

PLEASE NOTE: These images have been collected from various newsgroups and public domain sources, and all are believed to be free of copyright. If you find an image within this collection that is not free for distribution, please contact us with this information, and we will either remove the image, or credit its author.

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