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What are samurai tattoos?

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Quick Answer

Samurai tattoos are tattoos that are designed to represent Japanese samurai warriors. The tattoos depict attributes and characteristics of the samurai and are typically very colorful. They often contain symbols of courage, strength and nobility and are frequently used in sleeve tattoos, meaning the tattoo covers large areas of the arms like a shirt sleeve.

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Full Answer

Samurai tattoos are becoming more popular in America but are much more common in Japanese culture. The tattoo designs are extremely detailed, use intense, bright colors and are created in all shapes and sizes, although they are usually fairly large. Because the symbols are masculine, they are more popular with men than women.

Samurai tattoos often include kanji symbols, which are Japanese characters used in writing, representing important samurai concepts. The most common characters used mean honor, loyalty, fearlessness, strength and courage. The most common designs include skulls, samurai chiefs, fighting figures, samurai decorated with flowers and female versions of the samurai.

The samurai were very respected warriors in medieval Japan who maintained a culture that revolved around a code of ethics called Bushido, which translates to “The Way of the Warrior.” Many Japanese martial arts teachings are based on methods used by the samurai. These traits have made samurai tattoos very meaningful in Japan, and the aesthetics have made them popular in other parts of the world.

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