Japanese dragons symbolize many different qualities. To some, the images represent strength, power, masculinity or sexual passion. For others, the dragon depicts longevity, luck and wisdom.
To the Japanese, the mythical creatures are symbols of forces that use their strength for the good of others. The Asian version is usually depicted as serpent-like without wings. A sleeping dragon means that the wearer possesses quiet strength and power that rises to the occasion when necessary. A dragon rising toward the sun signifies ascension, progress or a life journey. A dragon’s claw might represent a battle over evil, destruction or fearlessness and power.
The benevolent Asian dragon or Ryu is also typically a composite of many creatures. The eyes appear demonic or rabbit like. It might have the ears of a cow, the neck and belly of a serpent and the horns of a stag. Its scales are borrowed from the koi fish, and the claws or talons are derived from the eagle or the hawk. One claw is often clutching a semi-precious gem.
The tattoos are created in any number of styles that include abstract, cartoonish, dramatic or realistic. While some are done in black work, more often the image contains bright, bold colors. The shape is also easily modified to fit many different body locations.