They are said to have supernatural abilities, such as protection against illness, disaster, bad fortune and like the dragon can bring rain. Snakes have the ability to transform themselves into human forms, usually that of a vengeful, jealous or wronged woman. One of the best stories of this transformation is in the tragic story of Kiyoshime and the priest Anchin. Not all Snake myths are bad, many shop owners have the image, of a snake, coiled around a mallet hanging near the entrance, this is to bring good fortune and prosperity.
Hawks Represent Boldness, bravery, figthing spirit and nobility. There is an old proverb that says “No Aru Taka Wa Tume Okasuku” A wise hawk hides its talents. So the symbol of the hawk is used to describe a person that has much talent, but is modest about their abilities.
Considered to be the supreme of all land animals by the Chinese, representing strength, courage and long life. Tigers are also said to be able to ward off bad luck, disease and Demons. In many old prints you will see a tiger fighting demons [Oni] at the side of “SHOKI” The demon queller. It’s said also that wearing a tiger pelt on your back will take away all aches, pains and heal sickness. Tigers are one of the four sacred animals, symbol of the North, season of Autumn and control the winds.
This is a book I recommend if you need new inspirations and drawing, check it out on amazon.
Japanese Dragon Tattoo Design & Special Japanese Export, Direct from Japan with Love!
Yoso Tattoo* For Tattoo lovers is pleased to announce we have finally launched our Special Services for Japanese Tattoo Lovers! We’re ready to ship orders worldwide.
Many readers asked if we could find cool Japanese Tattoo books for them! So we’ve decided to try to a service! Made with Love from Japan! In English! If you’re just wondering which publication would be good for you, read about our special services! If you Like dragons tattoo! Check this page now! Also make sure you check the Special back piece issue.
Thank you! Arigato!
History and Cultural DevelopmentChristopher Altman
School of International Studies
Obirin University, Tokyo, Japan
Original Article from: http://altman.casimirinstitute.net/yakuza.html
Yakuza history traces its origins to the Tokugawa era, the time of the shogunate, when Ieyasu Tokugawa unified the country of Japan. Japan had come a long way from its period of civil war, but was not yet a stable nation. The newfound era of peace left as many as 500,000 samurai left unemployed, and there were not enough jobs to support their number. Many of these samurai joined the merchant class, but those who didn’t – the ronin – had to find other means of support, and many turned to thievery and criminal methods to support themselves.
It is in defense against these wandering samurai that the machi-yokku, or servants of the town, originated. These folk heroes were regular townsfolk who stood up in defense against the destructive ronin to protect the well being of their families and town. Like gangs of today, they were tightly knit and spent their free time gambling. These folk heroes are the predecessors of the modern day yakuza, and while the connection may lie in legend only, the machi-yokku play a large role in the romantic image that the yakuza gangster holds today.
Much like the Italian Mafia, the Yakuza began by arrangement in a familial fashion based not upon bloodline but by adoption. This relationship begins with a godfather at the top, with new members initiated in a pyramid fashion, and the term given to the father-child role is referred to as the oyabun–kobun relationship. “The oyabun provides advice, protection, and help, and in return receives the unswerving loyalty and service of his kobun when needed (Kaplan and Dubro 19).” The initiation of the new pledge into the organization is performed in a highly formal fashion, with an exchange of sake cups to symbolize the blood connection between the oyabun and the kobun. This ceremony is typically performed at a Shinto shrine, and as such is designated religious significance.
Yakuza have always prided themselves upon the code of bushido, or way of the samurai. Violent death was traditionally seen as a poetic, tragic, and honorable fate, and the concepts of giri andninjo are central to the relationships among members. Giri, or obligation, refers to the strong sense of duty that is felt between members, and in a sense is the “social cloth” that binds much of Japan together. Ninjo is roughly translatable to emotion, or human compassion, and denotes “generosity or sympathy to toward the weak and disadvantaged, and sympathy towards others (Kaplan and Dubro 28).” This tie to chivalry and patriotism gave the Yakuza a sort of Robin Hoodtype of romantic image when viewed in the public eye.
Perhaps the most legendary of yakuza organizations is the Yamaguchi-gumi, a crime syndicate numbering somewhere near 15,000, which designated as its territory the entire western half of Japan. The Yamuguchi-gumi was driven on this path to success by its late godfather, Kazuo Taoka, who resurrected it from shattered ruins in the years following the World War II to mold it into the most formidable criminal syndicate Japan has witnessed to date. Kazuo utilized a fierce will and brilliant organizational skills to leverage the most powerful alliance between Yakuza factions ever, and solidified an affiliation with the Inagawa-kai, a leading Yakuza group in the Kanto area.
The Yakuza have maintained a very close relationship with Japanese political and corporate entities in their growth through the years, much more so than their counterpart, the mafia, in the United States. Due to the political turmoil that followed in the aftermath of World War II, the Yakuza, in their extremely right-wing conservative stance, were granted the opportunity to obtain a foothold in the political machinery of modern Japanese governing bodies in their struggle against right-wing dissidents. However, this formerly accorded position has degraded in the years following the war as left-wing political entities have lost their influence in the Japanese political system.
Since the aftermath of the Second World War, violence among different Yakuza factions has increased, and the organizations have degraded from their original stature. A prominent rise has been seen in the boryokudan, or violence gangs, and in the bosozoku, the Japanese biker gangs. These minor factions have introduced a considerable degree of discord into the traditional criminal underworld system, and there is a “clear trend of declining solidarity and obedience among Yakuza members (Kaplan and Dubro 273).” Older members are dismayed with the decline of moral values and increasing gun use among the up and coming generation of yakuza, which has never been a major problem in Japan. This transformation in conduct among members in the criminal underworld is seen as a major problem not only by the older generation of criminals, but by law enforcement agencies as well.
Recent crackdowns have done well to alleviate the outward symptoms, but as many criminals are subsequently released without prosecution, they in fact have had little impact on the underlying problem. The future of the Yakuza remains uncertain – but Japan is and always has been a country of considerable outward changes – capable of remarkable adaptation to fit with changing times, while maintaining unity at its heart. The Yakuza, as part of this system, will continue to evolve with the changing times, but it is highly unlikely that an organization that traces its roots back over 300 years will disappear any time soon.
Research assistance provided by Special Agent Clark Frogley (Legal Attaché, US Embassy-Tokyo) and Prof. Yutaka Morohoshi (Obirin University) is highly appreciated.
Dubro, Alec and Kaplan, David. Yakuza: The Explosive Account of the Japanese Criminal Underworld, Addison-Wesley Publishing Compaany, Inc., 1986.
Rome, Florence. The Tattooed Men, Dellacorte Press, 1975.
Saga, Junichi. Confessions of a Yakuza, Kodansha America, 1991.®
Original Article from : http://altman.casimirinstitute.net/yakuza.html
Horiyoshi III, Great Tattoo master! As always it is a delight to look at his work!
When: Until 28th of September
If you are into the art of tattoos or maybe want some inspiration for your next piece, don’t miss the ongoing Japanese tattoo exhibition at Sjöfartsmuseet. For thousands of years man has had the need to express himself through tattoos. The exhibition shows Japanese tattoo art developed from a craft tradition dating back several centuries. An art form created in the East, but which has much inspired the western world’s choice of tattoos. On display are photographs of the amazing tattoos made by the contemporary Japanese tattoo artist Horiyoshi III (Yoshihito Nakano) The exhibition wishes to prompt questions about man’s infinite and timeless need to ornament his body, but also about how cultural heritage is created and renewed.
:: From GÖTEBORG’S ENGLISH LANGUAGE MAGAZINE
Kitamura, though touching inevitably upon the iconography of religion and passion, is more interested in the links between tattoo art and woodblock printing, and the manner in which the Edo period tattoo reflected popular tastes, the arts and Buddhist-inspired concepts like ukiyo (a notion that yoked beauty with impermanence). Flesh — matter that blossoms and then decays — is arguably the perfect canvas on which to represent the idea of ukiyo, the transience of things. There is nothing, after all, more perishable than flesh. Dulled, wrinkled and smudged, a skin-print that endures for half a century or more begins to look like the wall of an ancient tomb; traces of figures and outlines become increasingly less visible with the passage of time.
The popularity of artists who depicted the figures of tattooed actors, courtesans and gods, and whose work had enormous appeal at all social levels, coincided with the dissemination of tattoo art among the plebeian masses.
As the woodblock print gradually acquired more color and complexity of design, so the motifs and pigments used in tattooing grew more ambitious and subtle. Kitamura explores the close relationship between these two popular arts. The text is complemented by lush illustrations from ukiyo-e (woodblock print) artists such as Kunisada Utagawa, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and Toyahara Kunichika, all tellingly juxtaposed with contemporary tattoo images.
Despite the state-of-the-art electric equipment used by all but a few traditionalists and fees that would scandalize the plebeian masses of Edo, tattoos continue to remain living documents, transmitting and codifying colorful elements from the popular culture of the past. It would be a great pity to see them vanish under the pressure of conformity. The only way to avoid that perhaps is by conferring, as this creditable book attempts to do, a little more respectability on the art. The fact remains, though, that you would be more welcome in a Japanese public bathhouse wearing a necklace of shrunken skulls than a tattoo.
The long tradition of Japanese full-back tattoos is continued in this substantial collection of images which invariably demonstrate elaborate artistry and skill. Illustrated throughout with photographs of tattoos, each work is clearly presented with room to accommodate full body designs and allows for particular themes to be fully examined. Back tattoo designs are divided into different sections which cover themes such as: mysterious snakes, beauty is fear, dragons, colour variations, gods and hero’s.
They have actually published a few issues, This special issue is definitely my favourite one! Back Pieces are simply, usually the best tattoos one can get! 150 Pages of Back Pieces covering all style and genres! At an affordable Price!
If any of you want me to send it to you from Japan (if still available) . Follow us here!
Still Looking for my own Koi Style, in the meantime, showing respect to traditions :)