The majority of historians agree that the greatest warriors who ever lived were Japanese samurai. To encapsulate and immortalize their brilliantly bloody legacy, today’s fearless champions of fashionable expression are emphatically emblazoning samurai mask tattoos.
If you truly want to make a breathtaking statement with your ink, then you are going to be hard-pressed to uncover a more effective route than Japanese samurai mask tattoos.
These awesomely hellish headpieces were more than a mere intimidation tactic; in truth, they constitute evocative emblems of Shinto deities. In modern times, a lot of martial artists have associated themselves with this lost scene, and they are participating in a revival of sorts by seeking highly detailed replicas of the ancient face gear.
A Japanese samurai mask was typically unique to the man who is donning it. In many senses, the skull armor was considered to embody the swordsman’s soul. Several superstitions believe that these awe-inspiring mugs contain the long-deceased spirits of Japan’s original conquerors.
These frightening feudal relics retain their murderous roots to this day. Still, they are honorific vessels that are not to be taken lightly. The brutally over-the-top exaggerations exemplify the power at hand. To see Mempo tattoos reach their full impact, just peruse the images we’ve put together here!
This highly detailed, black and grey sleeve is a great example of a piece that incorporates several traditional Japanese elements into a bold design. The excellent use of gray wash shading and fully saturated black creates different layers and gives the piece the feel of a well-organized collage. The incorporation of waves using negative space and gray wash smoke—both elements in traditional Japanese motifs—work well to tie the larger design elements together and helps contribute to a better overall composition. The menpo at the bottom of the piece is well executed and helps to balance the other detailed features at the top of the design, including the geisha and demon, or oni.
Here is a bold black and gray samurai mask that makes good use of a large canvas to create a fierce tattoo. The use of gray wash shading is excellent in this tattoo and helps to create a gradation of tones that gives depth to this design. The black ink is also fully saturated, completing this effect: it almost looks like you could stick a finger into the eyeholes of the mask. The line work is even and consistent and the incorporation of negative space to create natural waves as well as a dragonfly adds elements of contrast with the fierce grimace of the mask. This is a great example of the style and is sure to turn heads.
This gorgeous chest piece uses a limited color palette to create a stunning samurai mask. The gray wash, which looks to have some light blue ink mixed in, is expertly shaded, using dark and light tones to create a dynamic tattoo. The wisps of hair falling down the face along with the flower petals give the impression of wind blowing across the piece. The use of red in the flower petals is an excellent example of how a deliberate and intelligent use of color can allow a simple concept to transform a design, combining the brutality of these warrior masks with the delicacy of a falling flower. This is an excellent tattoo, both for its concept and its execution.
This full-color sleeve uses a samurai mask as well as other traditional Japanese design elements to create an interesting tattoo. The combination of bright, fully saturated color and the well applied black and gray shading in the background, as well as at the top of the piece, help to create a dynamic design that draws the eye up and down the entire tattoo. The negative space used to create the waves crashing over the elbow and onto the small skull increases contrast and is a good example of how in a large detailed piece like this sometimes leaving skin blank can have dramatic effects. The grotesque demon head attached to the snarling mask contrasts well with the blue and purple lotus flowers at the bottom of the piece, helping to create a more interesting and unique tattoo.
This is another tattoo that uses limited color and a well thought out design to create a wonderful piece. This tattoo also uses a collage-like composition, incorporating a samurai mask, traditional Japanese buildings and the lower half of a female face to create a balanced but unorthodox tattoo. The gray wash and shading are impeccable and perfectly capture mist rolling over the buildings while the limited use of red evokes images of sunrise, perhaps an ode to Japan: “Land of the Rising Sun”. The juxtaposition of the delicate femininity in the woman’s face with the ferocity of the samurai mask adds a conceptual contrast that perfectly suits the design. This is a tattoo the owner will be proud to display at any chance he gets.
Samurai Mask Tattoo FAQ’s
What does a samurai mask represent?
The feudal age of Japan—from the 12th century into the 1800’s—was a time of warring estates and private armies with the samurai at the center of this brutal drama. These military noblemen were protectors of the bushido, the Japanese warrior code that stressed the importance of sincerity, a mastery of martial arts and undying loyalty. While this complex cultural system was comprised of a combination of different values and traits, the samurai are remembered primarily for their extreme discipline and the terror they struck in their enemies. Key to this psychological warfare was the samurai’s armor, most notably the menpo, or mask that protected the warrior’s face.
In addition to serving a function, these pieces were adorned with grotesque visages, complete with fangs and whiskers. Today these designs have made their way into tattoo culture and represent the personal characteristics personified by the samurai: strength, ferocity, and loyalty. Thanks to their bright colors and endless capacity for customization these designs have become popular subject matter for tattoos, allowing people all over the world to proudly display their warrior spirit.