Because it embodies courage, loyalty, and the poetry of Japanese landscapes all at once, the samurai holds a special place in Western tattooing. Spotlight from our tattoo studio in Paris!
Samurai tattoo: what does it mean?
Getting a samurai tattoo on the arm, back, or any other part of the body means embracing a significant part of Japanese history—and, by extension, popular Japanese culture. This Japanese word, also encountered as "samurai", originates from the verb "samurau", which means "to serve". Indeed, a samurai is a Japanese warrior serving a daimyo, a local lord governing a domain or clan who was only nominally subservient to the emperor.
Samurai tattoo ideas
Whether rooted in the traditional, realistic, or graphic school, the samurai tattoo often comes with rigorously codified attributes. Thus, the valiant warrior is regularly depicted with:
- his weapon: akin to the knight's sword, the samurai's saber holds a sacred significance
- his armor (the ō-yoroi)
- facial protection comprised (either or both) of a helmet (the kabuto) and a mask (the menpō) bearing the likeness of deities or demons.
Beyond these classic adornments, a samurai tattoo can be enhanced with a dragon, a mythical creature prevalent in Japanese culture as "ryū", or with a Japanese cherry blossom tree. Let your imagination run wild—and that of your tattoo artist!