Yakuza Tattoo: History, Meaning, Designs

Yakuza Tattoo

yakuza tattoo – The Yakuza and the Japanese Irezumi tattooing tradition have been intertwined since ancient times. Tattoo meanings and signs in the Yakuza often have connections to those in Japanese art, culture, and religion. The yakuza really use tattoos on their bodies to express their ideals. Getting tattooed used to be a requirement for joining several yakuza back tattoo groups.

Japanese tattoos, with their unique culture, are well-known in the yakuza back tattoo community. Therefore, a lot of individuals enjoy traditional Japanese history and the tattoos that depict it.

One of the most well-known tattoos from that genre is the yakuza back tattoo. However it possesses a really fascinating criminal and underworld Because the design is so distinctive, those who get tattoos without proper expertise occasionally run into problems.

Check out the accurate history and true significance associated with the Yakuza tattoo in this well-researched article before making a decision. 

Yakuza Tattoos Featuring Interesting Background Information

Yakuza, a collective term for several Japanese mafia groups, have existed since the Edo period. The Yakuza group are a criminal organisation that operates on a global scale. Their daily activities comprise weapons trading, racketeering, and other related acts.

At one point, the Yakuza were viewed as criminals, making it difficult for them to resume normal life and find employment. The Japanese Yakuza started getting tattoos on their members as an example of rebellion against this sort of labelling. The yakuza gangs evolved various practices throughout the course of the many generations that followed, including body modification and tattoos.

One tradition, known as yubitsume, is cutting the tips of the finger to show regret. Since tattoos are connected with crime in Japan, yakuza organisations frequently have them applied to areas of their members’ bodies that are concealed by clothing.

Yakuza tattoos commonly wrap across the body, starting with the wrists to the neckline to the legs, enabling the wearer to expose their faces, palms, and toes in public without drawing notice to the body alteration that is concealed under their clothing.

The centre of the chest on a few yakuza with full body armour has an area of exposed skin, enabling the individual wearing it to zip his clothes while showing his tattoos.

Veterans belonging to the gang also began to alter their appearance by obtaining tattoos in order to stand out from other yakuza affiliates and carry symbolic meanings on their skin.

Yakuza Tattoos: Unknown Facts And Stylish Interpretations

Due to the profound secrecy surrounding them, the painful “hand-poking” methodology used for applying the patterns, and the association with the Japanese illegal underworld, yakuza tattooing have a mysterious appeal. The great mythology of Japan serves as the general inspiration for the majority of the patterns and motifs. Japan is regarded as having one of the richest cultures and customs in the world.

The slang of the yakuza is reportedly also mysterious to the Japanese. However, there do not appear to be any limitations on their creation or meaning. The Yakuza are members of the Japanese underground who band together to form lethal criminal organisations in their gangs. They do this by acquiring elaborate tattoos.

The yakuza chose their symbols based on their symbolic meanings. For example, the koi represents bravery, the dragon understanding, the tiger might, and the snake healing. Members of the group appear to have a strong preference for tattoos that blend into daily life. Some body parts are left bare, such as the calves, forearms, firearms, necks, and forehead, and any tattoos are hidden by clothing.

Each tattoo design has a specific meaning because the Yakuza has a rich history. Despite the fact that each member’s story is unique, they typically choose the symbols that best fit them. In addition to its intriguing style, the Yakuza tattoo is popular among young aficionados today.

Ideas for Unique Yakuza Tattoos!

  • Since Yakuza tattoos represent an antique design and are only utilised by a specific group of individuals, they were long hidden from the rest of the globe. All of history and practically everything else are shared on the internet since the globe is now within the reach of technology.
  • I’ve studied Yakuza tattoos for a while now, so I’m familiar with their motifs and topics. Therefore, I have made an effort to compile all of the best Yakuza tattoo inspirations for you, including both very distinctive concepts from older times and designs from the present.

The Asakusa district of Tokyo experiences its busiest weekend of the year on three out of 365 days. To show their appreciation for the ancient Japanese tattoo style known as “irezumi,” a massive cavalcade of men who have stripped down to their knickers block the highways and display the colourful patterns woven into their skin.

These men display their full-body tattoos at the Sanja Matsuri event, which many believe to be the genuine thing that distinguishes them as outlaws.

It can appear to the police officers patrolling from a distance as an ominous display of strength and ferocity. The criminals are being cheered on by a large crowd of spectators as they proudly display their irezumi, which is now recognised to be a Yakuza tattoo tradition.  

It is impossible to deny that this unusual ceremony has affected many individuals all across the world, as evidenced by the large number of people who have resolved to have tattoos with similar designs.

The top Yakuza tattoo designs are shown here, along with a description of each one’s meaning and setting.

Koi trout Japanese tattoos

Koi trout Japanese tattoos

The koi fish is a common yakuza tattoo that is typically linked to luck and fortune. According to Japanese folklore, a koi can cross waterfalls by swimming against a strong tide. As a result, koi represent resolution and are frequently used to denote that a person has survived difficult circumstances. This is everything about black koi.

The red koi represents some kind of love, usually a powerful, vigorous love like the friendly relationships inside the yakuza fraternity. Blue koi are viewed as being very manly and as symbols of reproduction. 

Tattoos of dragon yakuza

Tattoos of dragon

In Japan, Japanese tattoo dragons are viewed differently than they are in the West. Dragons are revered as protectors and stewards of humanity in Japan. Tattoos of dragons stand for tenacity, wisdom, and bravery. Black dragons have been compared to knowledge and illumination.

Nature is connected with green dragons, whereas substance and a variety of virtues are described by gold dragons. Yellow dragons are excellent mates whereas blue dragons are kind, kind, and selfless.

Phoenix yakuza tattoo

Phoenix Yakuza Tattoo

A mythical bird known as the phoenix rises from its own territory ashes after being burned to death. This tattoo represents rebirth, triumph, and ardour in keeping with the phoenix legend. It is a common design element in yakuza tattoos. Like many other aspects of Japanese culture, the myth of the phoenix arrived in Japan via China.

Snake yakuza tattoos

Snake tattoos

In Japan, snake tattooing has several meanings. It is revered as the pinnacle of regeneration power and a representation of health. Snakes are associated with intelligence, fortune-telling, and cosmic abilities in Japanese folklore.

They can also represent avoiding disease and bad luck as well as spiritual female attributes. According to the Chinese horoscope, those born in the period from the snake have scholars and sophists—the bright group with a tendency towards brashness in yakuza back tattoo

Samurai yakuza tattoo

Samurai tattoo

Samurai tattoos represent Bushido’s tenets, or more specifically, the “way” (do) of “the warrior” (bushi). Honour, gallantry, integrity, and appropriate execution are stressed in the code. It is firmly based on Confucian and Buddhist beliefs. Many Bushido viewpoints have been embraced by the Yakuza, who see themselves as the stewards of long-standing Japanese customs.

A careful reading of the Yakuza Chronicle indicates that this is false. Samurai were early yakuza’s adversaries, or at the very least, these two groups had highly shady connections.

However, some samurais became linked with the yakuza and acquired samurai tattoos as a badge of identification and heritage when they were integrated into society throughout the Edo through Meiji periods.

Samurai for couples

Yakuza members are not the only ones facing consequences in Japan, despite the fact that this is one of the reasons why they are barred from certain occupations and government institutions. This is applied to all employees, not only Yakuza members.

Preventing Yakuza members from holding positions of influence inside the city government is one of the goals of the crackdown. Despite the Yakuza’s reputation for being highly legendary and dark, tattoo artists around the world are copying their amazingly appealing tattoo designs.

Tattoos of yakuza skulls

Tattoos of skulls

The bulk of tattoo culture and art in general associate the depiction of the mortality skull with depressing objectives (such as devastation, crisis, and bad luck). The skull used in Japanese tattooing is intended to be an uplifting representation of life in natural cycle, nevertheless.

Death symbolises the most significant change a man can experience, hence the traditional meaning of the Japanese skeleton tattoo is development. 

The lotus yakuza tattoo

The lotus

The Buddhist philosophy is strongly related to the lotus. The flower represents the struggles of life in Japan as it strives to realise its full potential. The flower begins to grow at the bottom of a body of water and gradually moves outside to bloom.

As a result, the flowering lotus tattoo represents spiritual rebirth and a figurative journey through life’s muck to a higher plane of existence.

Yakuza back tattoo sleeves 

Yakuza back tattoo sleeves 

In Japanese culture, cherry blossoms are significant because they represent both existence and a transient essence. These flowers are distributed by the elements when they fall off the plant and vanish from the landscape.

You can modify the yakuza sleeve tattoo, which has a blossoming cherry and a snake, to make it suitable for both sexes. In Japanese legend, snakes are associated with the power, prophecy, and wisdom of the planet.

Due to the tattoo’s use of natural colours, it is considerably more lifelike. The primary appeal for the Sleeve tattoos is the shading and the finer details. The configuration of a shirt’s sleeves actually affects how big the design is. In order to conceal the tattoos, the yakuza back tattoo extended the design up to the forearms.

Tiger tattoos yakuza

Tiger tattoos yakuza

Tiger ink from the Yakuza

The Japanese tiger tattooing also displays the qualities we associate with real tigers, such as power, bravery, and longevity. The tiger tattoo additionally safeguards the wearer from disease, bad luck, and evil spirits. These patterns and concepts date back to the beginning of time.

The tattoo in this instance stretches past the back to include the hips and stops just before the thighs. These are the first illustrations of a top Yakuza tattoo. One of the symbols that is frequently utilised in Yakuza tattoos is the tiger. The main draw in a Yakuza Tiger tattooing is its design and colour.

Conclusion-Wrapping up on yakuza back tattoo

Because the Japanese government forbade them until the middle of the 20th century, Japanese tattoos were the only ones who could obtain yakuza back tattoos. However, because it combines traditional contemporary art with a hint of history, it is being used by people on the two sides of the judicial system. People all across the world are increasingly becoming more knowledgeable about the Mafia and tattoos as time passes.

The nature of humans has a propensity to seek out illicit activities. While getting a tattoo is generally prohibited, Yakuza has more restrictions. But as time passes, people are becoming less interested in these things and more interested in history and cutting-edge tattoo designs.


There are certain questions that automatically cross your mind at the conclusion of any topic. Should you have forgotten something? For further information, look through these inquiries.

  • Is it acceptable to have a Yakuza tattoo?

Of course, you can have a traditional yakuza tattoo. There won’t be any problems because the Yakuza don’t use tattoos to identify its members. Japanese mythology, allegory, and art served as the inspiration for each of these unique tattoos.

  • Why are Yakuza tattoos hidden?

Because they believe tattoos ought to become kept private, they will dress completely covered with collars and cuffs. Similar to this, the Japanese tattoos society’s shame has kept tattooing from interfering with daily life.

  • What limitations are there on Yakuza tattoos?

 Tattoos typically cover the entire body, however, they must also be covered up when necessary. Except for the forearms and shins, which are mostly where tattoos are prohibited, the entire body

  • Exist female Yakuza?

The Japanese tattoos are almost entirely made formed from men, and the sole women who are acknowledged are the chiefs’ wives, known as “ane-san.”