Ryugen Tattoos Using the Traditional Japanese Tattoo Method

Ryugen Tattoos ferocious warriors and mythological creatures at his small, clinically lit studio using traditional Irezumi methods with deep historical roots. Conventional Japanese motifs and designs remain highly coveted in the West despite any social taboo surrounding them. While many opt for coil tattoo machines, some artisans believe using traditional methods yields better results.


For centuries, tattoo artists in Japan have used tebori to create body art. It involves manually applying ink beneath the skin using needle-tipped rods inserted with ink, similar to an ancient method but now still practiced at some shops. Although this approach might appear outdated compared to modern tattoo machines, some shops continue using this style.

Tebori tattooing is also less painful than tattooing with an electric machine; however, it requires more time, and finding an experienced tebori artist may be difficult. Tebori tattoo designs typically tell a story through small designs that depict Japan or its people from their history, featuring dragons, koi fish, or tigers. Anyone considering getting one should be prepared for public scrutiny associated with visible body art in Japan – many businesses and public bathhouses forbid visible tattoos. At the same time, job-seekers could experience difficulty finding work in private companies and foreign firms if their tattoo is visible.


Irezumi (which translates to “injecting ink”) is an ancient Japanese tattoo technique still practiced today, although most artists utilize electric ink guns instead of traditional ones. To become an Irezumi Horishi or Master, you must undergo an extensive apprenticeship period wherein you will live at your master’s home, clean his equipment, and prepare his house as required before being approved to practice by them and only then should practice on clients who acknowledge your skillfulness.

Irezumi tattooing is a branch of printmaking involving carving images into wood blocks and printing them onto paper, creating a demand for tattoos depicting heroic scenes, dragons, flowers, and fierce tigers. Tattoos are generally frowned upon in modern Japan. Public bathhouses and pools may even bar you if you sport tattoos; however, tattoos may still be concealed under clothing if desired. They must receive enough moisture during their healing processes to remain hydrated.


Ryugen lives in Japan, a nation with an awkward history when it comes to body art. Since 2001, when the Ministry of Health and Welfare declared tattooing a medical procedure, tattooists have operated under grey regulations with only specific permits allowing them to practice, risking fines if they fail to adhere.

Traditional Japanese Tattoos typically depict animals symbolizing strength and power, like tigers and koi fish, with dragons also representing courage and overcoming obstacles. Other symbols used in Japanese tattoos may include Phoenixes to represent rebirth and transformation and cherry blossoms that symbolize life’s fleeting nature; peonies or chrysanthemums may also appear, along with kanji characters representing longevity. Men typically favor full-back pieces, while 3/4 sleeves are appropriate for women. When selecting an artist to create your Tebori tattoo design, make sure they can draw well and understand its intricate nuances – one way is searching on Instagram to locate one nearby.


Tattoos have long been used as an outlet for self-expression in Japan, and traditional Japanese designs continue to charm people worldwide. Each tattoo embodies rich symbolism that transcends time and culture – finding the ideal design requires careful research and finding an artist dedicated to keeping the tradition alive.

Tebori tattooing requires years of study under the tutelage of masters before students can become certified practitioners. They’ll spend that time cleaning their studio, mixing inks, practicing on themselves, and practicing before being permitted to tattoo clients.

Tattoos have long been seen as a sign of strength and courage among Yakuza members, symbolizing their strength and resilience. Tattoos also serve as a point of pride among these men to identify loved ones should they perish while serving. Tattoos have also become common among firemen, indicating that they’re more resilient in their work environment.