Top 61 Best Samurai Tattoo Ideas [2022 Inspiration Guide]
Few rivals stood a chance against the Samurai’s masterful martial arts skills. The iconic warrior class of Japan make for elaborate and exciting tattoo designs. The samurai followed the practice of Bushido and pledged themselves to principles such as courage, honor, and respect. In times of life and death, these were the guiding values that kept them strong in times of chaos.
The noble warrior tattoo is hugely popular from a technical and design standpoint, while the iconic menpo or Samurai mask, are also utilized in a range of tattoo styles and colors. These medieval and early-modern Japan design showcase a fine collection of the top 61 best samurai tattoo designs ideas you can apply to your next tattoo decision.
1. Samurai Back Tattoo Ideas
2. Black and Gray Samurai Tattoos
3. Samurai Upper Arm Tattoo Ideas
4. Samurai Side Tattoo Designs
5. Hikae: Chest Panel and Arm Samurai Tattoos
6. Samurai Sleeve Tattoo Ideas
7. Samurai Leg Tattoos
8. Black and Gray Samurai Tattoo Ideas
9. Samurai Mask Tattoo Ideas
10. In Progress Samurai Tattoo Ideas
See more about - The Top 121+ Best Japanese Tattoo Ideas
Samurai Tattoo FAQs
Traditional Japanese tattoos that are done by hand are referred to as tebori, however tattoo technology has caught up and most designs are now done by artist’s using a machine. Japanese traditional design feature rich patterns and heavy single fill and bold outline designs often covering large areas of skin.
While Japanese tattoo culture is linked to the outlaw Yakuza class and carry a negative connotation in ultra conservative Japanese society, the truth is that some Samurai did have tattoos. Samurai tattoos were not widespread however they were implemented to help identify warriors killed in battle, through duelling, or ritual suicide.
When traditional Samurai culture was abolished, Japanese Warrior honor systems branched out to business, military, and outlaw offshoots. The Yakuza (Japanese organised crime clans) chose Irezumi as a method of remembering their Samurai origins and as identification for their separation from normal society.
Hannya masks depict a woman so completely overcome with anger, envy and a thirst for vengeance that she takes on the form of a jealous demon. Hannya masks are popular tattoos because the fearsome visage is used to represent different stages of emotion when etched into skin using different colors.
The Japanese Oni mask differs from the Hannya mask in that the demon describes aspects of good and evil. Traditionally, Oni mask tattoos represent the punishment of humans for acts of evil and injustice. The Oni mask tattoos are particularly popular with Yakuza tattoos because of the connection to criminality.
A full color Japanese Irezumi sleeve tattoo is at the top of the pricing spectrum. A Japanese sleeve will cost at least $1500 -2000 USD, even at a comparatively cheap average price of $150 per hour.
Experienced artists and Japanese tattooing specialists will charge more, while a sleeve from a Japanese tattoo artist master like Horiyoshi III could cost upwards of $10,000 USD for a colorful nagasode arm piece at a Tokyo or Osaka tattoo studio.