Tattooing is an exceptional Japanese art form which has turned a fashion in the western countries and other parts of the world. It has a hectic history consisting of the various representations it made and has been one of the major arts in Japan.
In Japan the art form goes by a couple of different names. Irezumi and Horimono are the most famous names for conventional Japanese tattoo art. Standard Irezumi is the custom of tattoo making on large parts of the body like the back. The Japanese are also known for their full body tattoo suits.
It is amusing to know that inside Japan, getting yourself tattooed means you are marking yourself as a red-blooded male or you are admitting yourself as a member Yakuza, the notorious Japanese Mafia. According to the history, tattooing was inspired by Buddhism and Confucianism to a large extent and that may be why it has got a negative impression with it.
The tattoo art boasts a history of 1700 years. The Ainu tribe, the very first people to take up residence in Japan, are considered to be the founders of this art. Another ancient tribe named Wa’ were accustomed to full body tattoos.
In China, although they were more advanced in the field of art than Japan, tattooing was counted as a malpractice and uncivilized custom. When Buddhism moved from China to Japan, this thought also followed it. As a result tattooing became infamous for its use as a punishment and as a label for the criminals.
The Edo era was the golden age for tattooing as it turned the corner and started to be recognized as a fashionable trend. Workmen and firemen had the habit of tattooing and even the prostitutes found their way to turn on their clients by adoring themselves with tattoos.
in the 18th century tattooing substituted the amputation of ears and nose to punish the criminals. A character tattoo in the forehead or a ring tattoo on the forearm became the sign of a criminal. In 1870, the Meiji government stopped this practice.
This kind of punishment became a reason for the emergence of a rejected class of people and they were always kept away from the society. Most of them were Samurai people called Ronin who had no masters. They had no way other than forming their own gangs and these circumstances led to the formation of the Japanese Mafia and became a social problem.
For all that, today things have taken a turn for the better and now the art of tattooing has got a positive impression. No doubt, that negative connotation still remains inside Japan, but in a global perspective tattooing has become a fashion of the new generation.