Monday, July 25, 2011

Symbolism in Japanese Tattoos

Here are some images that are frequently used in Japanese style tattoos:
  • Mythological creatures:
    • The phoenix: the Japanese phoenix is called Ho-Oo and resembles the Chinese phoenix. This mythical bird is a symbol of justice and fidelity. The phoenix represents the element fire and the female force.
    • Dragons: the dragon is a recurring image in Japanese tattoo designs. Dragons represent the element wood and the male forces. The dragon and the phoenix are enemies and are often depicted together in Japanese art and tattoos.
  • Animals: tigers, snakes, octopus, bird, butterfly, rabbit, frog, wolf

    Japanese tiger tattoo

  • Birds: crane bird, owl
  • Plants: tree, flower, cherry blossom, lotus, bamboo, maple leaves, peonies

    Cherry blossom tattoo

  • Religious images: Buddhas and Buddhistic deities
  • For backgrounds: clouds, water and waves are recurring.
  • Geisha, samurai

    Geisha tattoo

  • The Japanese sun.
  • Anime tattoos.