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January 26, 2016

Japanese Gangster: Vintage Photos of Yakuza With Their Full Body Suit Tattoos

Traditional Japanese tattooing, or irezumi, has been intertwined with the yakuza since their inception. In the Edo period (1603 to 1868), criminals were tattooed by authorities in a practice known as bokkei, making it hard for them to reenter society and find work. The tattoo culture of the yakuza evolved in protest to this branding.

The meaning of yakuza tattoos are usually related to imagery and symbolism in Japanese art, culture, and religion. The full body suit tattoo, in particular, is a product of yakuza culture. In the past, it was obligatory in many yakuza clans for members to get tattoos. In modern times, the practice is not as common; many yakuza in the 21st century maintain clean skin to better blend in with society. Conversely, more and more non-yakuza in Japan are getting tattoos. Despite these changes, being tattooed is considered a rite of passage for the yakuza.

1 comment:

  1. Only photos that are not yakuza.
    Mostly photos of tattoo artists and tattoo lovers.
    There is also a photo of the famous Horiyoshi III.




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