Japanese Samurai Tattoos: Ideas, Designs, and Meanings
Samurai tattoos are very popular in Japanese culture. Even though it is not a mainstream tattoo in America, it still has a following, especially among people who admire Japan. Their designs are very detailed and quite colorful. Though they come in a variety of sizes and styles, most designs are larger due to the detail in this tattoo.
They usually represent the traits and attributes of the samurai. It often symbolizes strength and courage, along with a host of other meanings. The designs are quite stunning and perfect for sleeve tattoos, with various elements and symbols that can accompany their theme. Below, I'll give you its history along with its various meanings and design ideas.
Samurai Tattoo Meanings
The samurai tattoo can represent a variety of different meanings. Since there are many variations, meanings can differ from one variation to the other. Remember, in the end, your tattoo symbolizes what you want it too. That being said, here are some of the traditional meanings they hold:
That being said, here are some of the traditional meanings they hold:
- To Serve
Since the samurai practiced living every day like it was their last, your tattoo can symbolize the same thing. It can be there to remind you of how fragile life really is. It can remind you to live every moment like it was your last because none of us is sure of tomorrow. It may also be chosen by those who value the samurai and their culture. These tattoos have been around for many years in Japan—these tattoos were traditionally worn as full-back, full-body, or full-sleeve tattoos.
Samurai Tattoo History
When it comes to traditional Japanese tattoos, none may be more symbolic than the samurai tattoo. They have been a popular choice for many years in Japan. But with their rise in popularity in western cultures, they can now be found all over the world. In this day and age, they are worn by men and women alike. Traditionally, however, they symbolize masculinity. There are a variety of different ways they can be designed and they can hold a high symbolic value for those who wear such a tattoo.
The samurai have a rich history of traditions and values. Even today, they continue to be among the most decorated warriors of all time. The word "samurai" is derived from the word "saburau," which means "to serve." Another representation of this word is "to wait upon a person with upper ranks in society."
The Samurai Life
Samurai were expected to live a certain way of life that represented honor, nobility, and service. The 13th century saw the rise of Zen Buddhism, and the samurai based their standards and conduct on this practice. Zen meditation became very important to the samurai. It was used to calm a samurai's mind. With this practice, the samurai became disciplined in the art of war. Buddhism also led the samurai to eliminate needless killings as it showed them how to be reborn.
More than anything, they were known for their fighting abilities, particularly martial arts skills. With the influence of Buddhism, they were trained to be disciplined in their approach. With the new practice and their abilities, they became the ultimate warrior of their time. They followed the practice of "Bushido," which represented "the way of the warrior." They built their principles on courage, respect, honor, and self-discipline, valuing these principles in both life and death.
Zen Buddhism also taught the samurai to overcome the fear of killing and the fear of death. Because of this, they were expected to live a certain way of life. They learned to live every day like it was their last. They also learned to keep their lives in order and everything else in between. They would usually marry and have children to make sure that their social class would live on. After years and years of constant war, this helped keep their social class populated. If a samurai would marry, his wife would also become a member of his class, as would their children.
Samurai Tattoo Appearance
Since samurai tattoos are associated with the culture of Japan, they are often designed with various symbols of Japanese culture. Usually, they are portrayed with their katana, which is a specific type of sword. They are associated with the cherry blossom, which is actually a symbol of the Japanese samurai. Due to this, samurai tattoos often include cherry blossom flowers. There are several other symbols and elements that you can portray with your samurai, such as dragons, Geisha, koi, yin-yang, or tigers. They may also include Kanji, (Japanese writing using Chinese characters). They can be done in a variety of different sizes and inked nearly anywhere on the body. However, people most commonly choose to have them on their arms or back.
Your tattoo can also show the samurai in different postures. They can be portrayed with their katana in hand or they can be portrayed on a horse. They may be designed to look fearless or at peace. The different designs offer several different options for you to consider—make sure that you take the time to view all the different designs in this article and elsewhere. This will give you an idea of what is available, so you can gather tips and ideas for your own unique tattoo.
Wha to Know Before You Get a Tattoo
There are some very important things that you should remember before you get your Japanese samurai tattoo or any tattoo. Make sure that you take the time to research your tattoo. You want to make sure that you completely understand what your tattoo represents and stands for. Don't rush to get inked! Men and women who rush to get a tattoo on an impulse usually have regrets about their choice later on down the road. If you are not sure, give it more time. Make sure you get it right the first time around!
© 2012 Richard Ricky Hale