Yakuza tattoos are a source of fascination for many tattoo lovers. The high level of secrecy surrounding the tattoos. Combined with the painful method of “hand-poking” the designs and the association with the Japanese underworld gives yakuza tattoo art a mysterious appeal.
Yakuza members traditionally wear their tattoos on parts of the body that can be hidden by clothing. Yakuza tattoos often cover the entire body from the ankles to the wrists and the collar. Placement of body art that means the hands, feet and face can be shown in public without revealing the presence of the body art beneath the clothing. Some yakuza tattoo body suits have a strip of bare skin running down the center of the chest. That’s way the yakuza member can unbutton his shirt without the tattoos being seen.
The majority of designs in yakuza tattoos focus on Japanese mythology and history. Dragons and koi fish often appear in yakuza tattoos as symbols of wealth and prosperity. Samurai warriors represent honor and a moral code. Geisha stand as symbols of fertility, good fortune and tradition. Other traditional Japanese designs that feature in yakuza tattoos are lotus flowers and cherry blossoms, tigers and elemental symbols.
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