As the god of lightning, thunder and storms in the Shinto religion and in Japanese mythology, Raijin is a fearsome god. His formidable appearance and power is what makes him the perfect tattoos for those who have a deep respect for the Shinto philosophy.
In the Shinto religion, Raijin was formed shortly after the creation of Japan by Izanami and Izanagi.
He is said to have a drum, which he uses in order to make thunder during storms. During these storms, folk legends say that Raijin will eat children’s navels and take them away, lest they keep themselves covered in the presence of this terrifying god.
In some accounts, Raijin is also charged with the protection of the Dharma by the Buddha, which can explain why he comes across as so fearsome.
As with most tattoo representations of Japanese gods, it is best to save a huge canvas, like an entire sleeve or your back, to truly do this deity justice. Often times, Raijin is depicted in the act, with his arms flailing this way or that as he makes his thunderous presence known to the world. Take inspiration for a Raijin tattoo from the classic Japanese art style, which nearly always includes an intricate background to add the imposing presence that is required of a god. Colors should be vibrant, too!
And, above all, any representation of this god should include his drumsticks! Raijin’s power comes from his duty to bring thunder to Japan.