True Japanese Yakuza Tattoo

True japanese yakuza tattoo

True Japanese yakuza tattoo

Tattoos of Japanese mafia syndicate Yakuza – is the whole separate world of symbols, which is a distinguishing feature and one of the basic attributes of a criminal subculture of Japan. Drawings on men’s bodies used to tell about their courage and spread terror among all who saw them. Common citizens who weren’t members of the mafia didn’t have a right to have these symbols on their bodies as they were considered unworthy but there still was plenty of other drawings to be inked which are the basis of an astonishing variety of Japanese tattoos. In this article, we are going to dwell upon different varieties of Yakuza tattoo designs, their history, and their original meanings.

The content:

  1. Yakuza Tattoo. Meaning and Cultural Inheritance of Japan
  2. Symbolism and Origins of Yakuza Tattoos.
  3. The Most Common Images.
  4. Traditional Tattoo Symbols Nowadays.
  5. Yakuza Tattoo. Meaning and Cultural Inheritance of Japan
Full leg yakuza tattoo

by DeLight Tattoo Needles

Split Torso Yakuza Tattoo

by Clemens Hahn

Koi Fish Yakuza Tattoo

by Christoffer Wøien

Yakuza Tattoo Full Sleeve

by Christoffer Wøien

Full Back Tattoo Yakuza

by Christoffer Wøien

Big Fish Back Irezumi Tattoo

by Caiopineiro

Demonic Back Tattoo Yakuza

by Binay Gurung

Just Shoulder Yakuza Tattoo

by Attrait Tattoo

Thin Yakuza Tattoo Sleeve

by Anderson Oliveira

Back Dragon Yakuza Tattoo


The Eastern culture is commonly known to be meaningful through and through: nothing there is said, written or drawn for no reason. Tattoo art is not an exception. Any symbol was meant to gain its own meaning from the time immemorial and this trend remained today.

Yakuza tattoos were different. Some of them were called “Konjo” 根性(from Japanese – “willpower”) and “Gaman” 我慢 (Jap. – patience). This two categories appeared historically, as any new recruit was to be tested on the strength of will and patience by an irezumi master or his tenant. Thus, rookies body was covered with different drawings and ornaments which corresponded his occupation. The process, so sophisticated and long, that soon it got even more complex and meaningful to become the unique ritual. Then, gang members used to add new drawings occasionally through their whole lifetime, but it usually was not so long. Also, tattoos were made for their women and wives. Some of them – for aesthetical reasons and others served a special mark, which clarified her gang membership.

Awesome Yakuza Tattoo on Back

by DiaoZuo

Tiger Tattoo Yakuza

by Gregory Whitehead

Toad Yakuza Tattoo

by Horioh Shangrila

Black Yakuza Tattoo Sleeve

by Horitsukikage1 Shad

Full Torso Tattoo Irezumi

by Hori Kashi

Irezumi Tattoo For Girl

by Hori Kashi

Koi and Tiger Yakuza Tattoo on Chest

by Hongdae Tattooer Takuya

Hannya Mask Tattoo Sleeve Yakuza

by Franco Iasoni

Back Skull and Dragon Tattoo Yakuza

by Evan Griffiths

Demonic Skull Yakuza Tattoo on Back

by Easy Sacha

by DiaoZuo

Symbolism and Origins of Yakuza Tattoos.

The style of drawing of yakuza designs related with the culture of the country is rich with elements of Japanese painting style called “ukiyo-e” dated by the Edo period. The most frequently used images are:
Myths characters
Carps, koi fishes and other kinds of them
People wearing traditional masks
Religious related themes of Japanese Shintoism
Elements of Buddhism
Waves – as a good filling of empty spaces between symbols, as a tribute to the seafaring Japanese nation.

Grey Dragon Tattoo on Chest

by j_needletattoo

Shoulder Koi Fish Tattoo Yakuza

by Jiyong Kim

Green Snake Irezumi Tattoo

by Kenji Shigehara

Tiger Irezumi Tattoo Yakuza

by Kojiichimaru

Flamming Dragon Tattoo Sleeves

by Liam Taylor

Back Samurai Yakuza Tattoo

by Luca Led

Girl Irezumi Tattoo

by Luca Ortis

True Yakuza Tattoo Irezumi

by Marco Serio

Yakuza Tattoo Sleeves with FLowers

by Mark Corliss

Snake Yakuza Tattoo on Back

by Mark Corliss

Big Dragon Yakuza Tattoo


Yakuza Tattoo Symbols

Kintarō (金太郎) – an image of a mythological character, a man of muscle fighting against gigantic carp. There are different variants of this image, but the meaning is always the same – the symbol of courage, bravery, fearlessness. Usually, such drawings are tattooed on bodies of those who are good at martial arts.

Full Back Yakuza Tattoo Kintaro

by horiyuki

Kintaro Tattoo Yakuza on Side

by tnt_ink_studio

Big Kintaro Tattoo


Kumonryū Shishin (九紋龍史進) – a Japanese and Chinese hero whose body is covered with tattoos. He wears Chinese clothes with Greek ornament. According to a legend, this character was already born with tattoos of nine dragons. In Yakuza world it means inborn fighting skills.

Irezumi Komonryu Shishin Tattoo

by Howoon Tattooer

Traditional Yakuza Komonryu Shishin Tattoo

by irezumi_horitora

Komonryu Shishin Yakuza Tattoo Idea

by Taki Tsan

Irezumi Komonyu Shishin Full Back Yakuza Tattoo


Upper Back Komonyu Shishin Tattoo


Chō jun (張順) – an image of a man with a knife between his teeth, he kind of resembles previous character. According to myths, he was an Amphibian man and incredibly good swimmer, he was said to be a remarkable pearl diver. This design is meant for clan members who have mastered melee and steel weapons.

Back Cho Jun Tattoo Yakuza

by horiyuki

Traditional Yakuza Cho Jun Tattoo

by geoff decrucq

Shoulder Yakuza Tattoo Cho Jun

by En a.k.a Horizaru

True Yakuza Cho Jun Tattoo

by unknown

Akugenta (悪源太) also known as Yoshihira, Heian or Minamoto, – quite a famous character. According to a legend, he was a son of the Emperor and a common woman. He was very fierce in combat and his image is made of the most violent members of Yakuza.

Akugenta Yakuza Tattoo Idea

by kikupunk

Fudōmyō-ō (不動明王) – the mythological creature of Buddhism which served the treasure keeper. Often depicted with a sword in one hand and rope or net in another, he had an unchangeable grin. He was said to attack foes with his sword, which served the allusion to delusion and caught all unfaithful with his net to provoke righteous thoughts. Only those Yakuza members had this tattoo who were involved in contraband and drug traffic.

Back And Grey Yakuza Tattoo Fudomyo-o In Progress

by dstone_ta2

Fudomyo-o Tattoo Design For Back

by Horiokie

Full Torso Fudomyo-o Tattoo Yakuza


Yakuza Back Tattoo Fudomyo-o

by Levi Walker

Fudomyo-o Back Tattoo Idea

by carve_kami

Flamming Fudomyo-o Tattoo Idea

by Arjarn Lone

Traditional Tattoo Symbols Nowadays.

Of course, the meaning of yakuza tattoos used to be a matter of the greatest importance, but nowadays it is almost completely lost. The traditional essence of these symbols remains due to a small community of disciples, not in Japan only, who respect it and reproduce it in artworks all over their bodies. Yakuza tattoo pictures can be easily found on the internet and all the designs on these pictures are chosen by faithful followers according to the traditions as mafia used to do long time ago with all the same images and characters. Thus, a man who feels a lack of ferocity picks a necessary symbol, and another tattoo owner wears his colors to gain agility and it would be absolutely different drawing.

Girl Dragon Tattoo Irezumi

by unknown artist

Dragon Tale Samurai Yakuza Tattoo on Back

by Sootattoo

Back Snake Yakuza Tattoo

by Stewart Robson

Leg Yakuza Sleeve Tattoo Kintaru Demon

by Stu Pagdin

Black Koi Fish Tattoo Yakuza Sleeve

by tattooist.ta2in

Traditional Blue Dragon Tattoo Irezumi


Drak Waves Flowers Yakuza Tattoo on Leg

by Yom Tattooing

Yakuza Dragon Tattoo Sleeves

by unknown artist

Grey Hannya Mask Tattoo on Leg

by Nick Cablayan

Blue Bird Tattoo Yakuza


Red Dragon Yakuza Tattoo

by Stewart Robson

Tiger With Flowers Yakuza Tattoo Sleeve

by Taka Tamada

Contemporary Yakuza Style Tattoo

by Tony Quoc Doan

Green Shoulder Dragon Tattoo

by Tsu-Nello Kaos

Man and Snake Yakuza Tattoo on Back

by Wakatomo Tattoo

Samurai with Katana Yakuza Tatoo

by Trung Kien Nguyen

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