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Post Reply Need advice on traditional japanese tattoo's
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21 / M / The Heroes Associ...
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Posted 6/13/14
Hey CR community.

Alright well. Obviously being a tattoo enthusiast and a Japanese culture enthusiast, i know all about the large stigma towards tattoo's and the way many Japanese people look at them as being related to the Yakuza. I am also aware of how insulting it would be for a foreigner such as myself to have more of the symbolic tattoo's that the Yakuza use as more or less... portraits of the ordeals they have experienced.

My question to the community is. What advice could you share with me when it comes to getting Japanese traditional tattoo's.

Personally i have been a life long fan of true Japanese tattoo's (done with bamboo) and the entire culture it self. I study the meanings of almost every image created through their tattoo art, as to understand the full meaning behind it. I have even worked under an actual Japanese tattoo artist here in the Bahamas for a short while, while he was doing a few actual Yakuza members tattoo's. While talking to these gentlemen, they explained to me the beauty behind the art, and what each and ever design means to them.

I didn't want to really ask to many questions, as i have a deep respect for the culture, and i thought it would have been insulting.

I plan on hopefully getting a full traditional sleeve on my left arm, and down my left side of my abdomen, as my right arm and right side are being dedicated to my family's Celtic heritage. However what i was planning on doing was getting a dragon amidst a flurry of vibrant pink cherry blossoms (sakura blossoms) and having the dragons head rap around my pectoral muscle of my left chest. I also have plans for having either a Tiger full back tattoo, or a Geisha and or a samurai mask as my full back tattoo.

These will all be in full traditional color. Being an aspiring Kendo practice, i am obviously going to be around alot of Japanese people. My uncle was a british man who lived in japan for his entire life, and practiced the Bushido code quite religiously, and through him i learned of honor and respect. From this stems my love for the Japanese culture.

So in short... if you were in the place of a Japanese local, how would you look upon a foreigner bearing traditional Japanese tattoo's?
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21 / M / The Heroes Associ...
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Posted 6/13/14
I should add.. im not getting the tattoo's to impress and or look cool. I'm getting them as they mean something to me, and are symbols of which aspect of my life i wish to improve
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25 / M / Fenix, AZ
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Posted 6/13/14
Meh, I wouldn't mind since I like tattoos. And I don't think any younger people would care. But if you are around older people who have a stigma towards tattoos or the Yakuza they may treat you differently and depending on where you are it could bring unwanted attention to you, just like saying you are gay in the south or being an American in Vietnam. But if respect and admiration is what you want tattoos won't get you far. Do what you want.
Posted 6/13/14
you're asking about Horimono?

http://academic.mu.edu/meissnerd/tattoo.html

I'm actually saving up money to get one of these done in JP... and potentially bar myself from any public bath.
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24 / M / the digital void
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Posted 6/13/14
Full sleeve/body tattoos in that style are pretty much indicative of Yakuza from what I've seen/ been told. If you were to get it and be in japan, I would be very wary of who sees it. I will admit they're really beautiful but I only know enough to say, be really careful if you are showing it off in japan. If you get it, i hope it comes out well! it sounds impressive!
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Posted 6/13/14
Tattoo, or Tattoos
"Tattoo's" signifies that the tattoo owns something.

Well, you are aware that you would be ABSOLUTELY be discriminated against in Japan, that it would also offend some people (and possibly really piss off Yakuza). That's about it. As long as you are aware, do what you like.

Just avoid seedy parts of town, beaches, and bath houses in Japan. If you are never going to Japan for any length of time, no big deal.
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24 / F / Johnstown, PA, USA
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Posted 6/13/14 , edited 6/13/14
Getting irezumi is incredibly dangerous. If a Yakuza were to see you with it, you may find yourself hunted. I advise against it.
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Posted 6/13/14
I came back from a month long stay in Japan (Kobe) in April and learned quite a bit about how Japanese feel about tattoos because I have two myself.

To put it plainly, Japanese people do not like them. They are not artistic, they are not beautiful. As you already know, they are associated with the Japanese mafia and are therefore, looked down upon.

Since I was a foreigner, they expected that I have them and understand that the rest of the world is okay with them. However I was not allowed in places that they would be seen - beaches, bath houses, etc. I took care to cover them when I was out so I wouldn't offend anyone.

Even if you think the style of tattoo you want is somehow or in someway honoring Japanese culture or a way to show your love of Japanese culture, to a Japanese person, it is just plain wrong and completely inappropriate.

Just do some careful thinking first before jumping into anything.
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22 / M / California
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Posted 6/13/14 , edited 6/13/14
I studied abroad in Japan, most people were indifferent toward me. Some felt uneasy but they wouldn't say anything. Most of my time in public, I always wore long sleeve clothing. The younger generation there around my age enjoy tattoos as much as I did. The only situation I encountered when police questioned me about my tattoos while grocery shopping. There are signs in front of stores/services that do not admit tattooed people. Discrimination against tattoos does exist but I feel like it's getting better. If you allow people to know you're a good person, they will not discriminate against you.
Posted 6/13/14 , edited 6/13/14
real men scartoos
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24 / M
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Posted 6/13/14 , edited 8/19/15

platysaurus wrote:
The only situation I encountered when police questioned me about my tattoos while grocery shopping.

Ok, this made me laugh. Sounds like something that would happen in stereotypical Japan though.
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26 / F / New Zealand
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Posted 6/14/14

platysaurus wrote:

The only situation I encountered when police questioned me about my tattoos while grocery shopping. There are signs in front of stores/services that do not admit tattooed people. Discrimination against tattoos does exist but I feel like it's getting better. If you allow people to know you're a good person, they will not discriminate against you.


That's kinda creepy.

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18 / M / Vietnam, Saigon
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Posted 6/14/14

rockadilla wrote:

Meh, I wouldn't mind since I like tattoos. And I don't think any younger people would care. But if you are around older people who have a stigma towards tattoos or the Yakuza they may treat you differently and depending on where you are it could bring unwanted attention to you, just like saying you are gay in the south or being an American in Vietnam. But if respect and admiration is what you want tattoos won't get you far. Do what you want.


Being American in Vietnam doesn't really mean anything anymore, other then a bunch of people trying to sell you stuff haha >_<
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25 / F / New Jersey, USA
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Posted 6/14/14


You should go to Japan just to see how they do their tattoos and try it.

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17 / M / Salt Lake City, Utah
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Posted 6/14/14 , edited 6/14/14
I don't know anything particular about traditional Japanese tattoos, but I have heard that locals over there are very precarious over sleeve tattoos, and such. Yes, it is mainly because many yakuza typically have those sort of tattoos.

I will suggest that you actually go to Japan and see which tattoos are both traditional and less yakuza related.
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