Latest Tattoo News & Commentary

The amount of time involved in getting a tattoo of course varies depending on the piece and artist. That being said, tattooing is a very time consuming process that shouldn’t be rushed. If you’ve ever walking into a tattoo shop you may have had a tattooist show you their portfolio and brag “Check out this full sleeve I did… I did it in one setting and it only took six hours to complete”.

Japan’s Changing Attitude Towards Tattoos

Authentic Japanese tattooing has been a huge influence on Western tattooing for centuries. Artists like Horiyoshi III of Yokohama, a modern day tattooing Rembrandt whose prominence is unmatched, is highly regarded in the tattooing industry as a whole and epitomizes Japanese traditional tattooing.

Even for tattoo artists who do not emulate this style of tattooing in their own work, still recognize the masterful use of composition, flow, contrast, balance and line all too common in traditional Japanese tattooing.

Despite the importance of traditional Japanese irezumi (full body tattooing) for the entire tattooing industry, did you know that this highly influential art form is still largely frowned upon and shunned in Japan? Irezumi is predominantly associated with the Yakuza, Japanese organized crime. Many mainstream pillars of Japanese culture, such as bathhouses and public beaches still ban those with tattoos from partaking in these activities. Westerns may not appreciate the true significances of the role of the bathhouse in Japan, because bathhouses in Western society are mostly unheard of or associated the Village People at best; however in Japan, the bathhouse would be akin to Westerns going to the gym or your local park. It is a completely normal and social thing to do in Japan. So, imagine if your tattoo prevented you from partaking in such normal societal functions. Outrageous, right?

For Westerns, who largely pride ourselves by our laissez-faire and diverse attitudes may find this sort of snub distasteful. Unless you’ve spent time in Japan, you may not realize how homogenous and conservative regular Japanese society truly is. However, this is slowly changing thanks to the overwhelming impact of Yankee decadence. Like all societies, it is the youth that drives cultural change. More and more young Japanese adults are sporting western style tattoos and this is having a huge effect in Japanese culture. Hopefully, Japan’s well know appetite for embracing and assimilating Western culture will yet again benefit the rest of the tattooing world even more in the years to come.