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          I always loved tattoos. Unfortunately, I don't have any. I'm working on it... 
        Lately, I am especialy facinated by IREZUMI, japanese traditional tattoos. They are beautiful, but the procedure is expensive and painful and can take years to complete. For many years, traditional Japanese tattoos were associated with the YAKUZA, Japan's a way they still are. Many businesses in Japan (such as public baths, fitness centers and hot springs) still ban customers with tattoos.
        At the beginning of Meiji period, the Japanese government outlawed tattoos and irezumi took on connotations of criminality. Nevertheless, fascinated foreigners went to Japan seeking the skills of tattoo artists, and traditional tattooing continued underground. Tattooing was legalized in 1945, but has retained its image of criminality.
        Irezumi is now very popular outside Japan, especialy in Europe. A lot of European tattoo artists devoted themselfs to the study of Japanese traditional tattoos. 

The study of Irezumi is the study of Ukiyo-e (images of the floating world), and any true devotee of the traditional Japanese tattoo should spend many hours looking at, appreciating, reading about, understanding and researching Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and paintings. Anyone interested in creating Irezumi him- or herself MUST study Ukiyo-e to have at least a minimal chance to grasp what is the reality of Irezumi. ( )

- Irezumi (入れ墨, 入墨, 文身 (also pronounced bunshin), 剳青, 黥 or 刺青): tattoo
- Horimono (彫り物, 彫物, literally carving, engraving): tattoo. This is another word for traditional Japanese tattoos.
- Horishi (彫り師, 彫物師): a tattoo artist
- Yobori: "Yo" (European) tattooing. The Japanese-English slang term for tattooing done with the machine.

     Some common images in traditional Japanese tattoos include:
- Mythological beasts and monsters: Dragons, Kirin, Baku, Foo Dogs, Hō-ō (鳳凰, Phoenixes)
Animals: Birds, Koi (Carp), Tigers, Snakes

Flowers: Peonies, Cherry Blossoms (Sakura), Lotuses, Chrysanthemums

Other plants: Bamboo, Maple leaves

Characters from traditional folklore and literature, such as the Suikoden

Images of the "Floating World" inspired by ukiyo-e prints: geisha, samurai

- Buddhas and Buddhist deities such as Fudō Myō-ō and Kannon

- Shinto kami (deities) such as tengu

- Backgrounds: clouds, waves, wind bars.



- Japanese Tattoo Art (Japanese Tattoo Reference Books):

- The Japanese Tattoo by Sandi Fellman (book):

- The Yakuza by Anthony Bruno:

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