A Japanese Tattoo is a Exquisite Evolution all of its Own

Japan is a country with rich traditions that reach far into the past. Some speculate that Japanese symbol tattoos may have extended as far back as 10,000 BC. Irezumi is the word for a Japanese tattoo and the one who does the inking is a Horishi. The markings were made for either reasons of a spiritual nature or a way of adorning the body.

Scholars look at the chord-like construction of the design of the Japanese tattoo and determine that it comes from the ancient, paleolithic era. Ancient tribes would tattoo their women to prevent them from being kidnapped and enslaved in brothels.

Evolution of Japanese Tattoos

Over the centuries there began to be a digression in the usage and status of Japanese symbol tattoos. Between 300 BC and 300 AD they were still viewed as expressions of spirituality or social status. People from far away lands would comment on them, and the tattoos from Japan left a strong impression on visitors. However, from 300-600 AD this prized status symbol was relegated to a means of marking prisoners and criminals. Gone were the days of a Japanese tattoo representing anything other than being the offscouring of society.

As time went on, the marking continued to be used for prisoners. Yet, it became fashionable to get a Japanese tattoo and sport it for symbols of love and courtship from 1600-1868 AD. This was a passing fashion statement, but the evolvement of the decorative markings became what it is present day during this period.

Presently, Japanese symbol tattoos are being touted by the middle class everywhere. Some cover the entire body almost like a blanket covering nearly every inch of skin. This type of tattoos from Japan can take nearly five years of work to complete. The one receiving the inking has to go for a weekly appointment to finish the job. Japanese symbol tattoos of this magnitude can fetch a price of $30,000 in U.S. money.

Traditional Japanese Tattoo Application Methods

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Artisans in woodblocking became experts in the art of inking. Many of the same skills and techniques that were used for their craft were implemented into placing a Japanese tattoo on the skin. Implements such as gouges, chisels, and the coveted Nara ink are all instruments that have made the art of Japanese symbol tattoos what it is currently. Nara ink is also referred to Nara black and it is renowned for its ability to turn a beautiful blue-green hue under the skin. A Japanese tattoo is brilliantly colored with light variation of all colors and very intricate detailing.


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