They will sometimes live in the master's house, and may spend years cleaning the studio, observing, practicing on their own flesh, making the needles and other tools required, mixing inks, and painstakingly copying designs from the master's book before they are allowed to tattoo clients. They must master all the intricate skills—unique styles of shading, the techniques used for tattooing by hand—required to create the tattoos their clients will request. Some scholars say that it was the lower classes who wore—and flaunted—such tattoos. Tattooing was legalized by the occupation forces in ,  but has retained its image of criminality. Such designs were thought to have spiritual significance as well as functioning as a status symbol. The ancient tattoo style is still done by specialist tattooists, who might be difficult to find. For many years, traditional Japanese tattoos were associated with the yakuza , Japan's notorious mafia , and many businesses in Japan such as public baths, fitness centers and hot springs still ban customers with tattoos. After an initial consultation during which the client will discuss with the tattooist the designs they are interested in, the work begins with the tattooing of the outline. Nevertheless, fascinated foreigners went to Japan seeking the skills of tattoo artists, and traditional tattooing continued underground.
This in itself can be a daunting task though it has been made easier by advent of the Internet because such artists are often surprisingly secretive, and introductions are frequently made by word of mouth only. Many Japanese artists are well-versed in multiple styles besides traditional Japanese tattoos, giving customers the ability to select from a wide assortment of options, anywhere from tribal to new age styles. Some scholars say that it was the lower classes who wore—and flaunted—such tattoos. Rather than electric guns, wooden handles and metal needles attached via silk thread are utilized. When the outline is complete, the shading and colouring is done in weekly visits, whenever the client has money to spare. It is painful, time-consuming and expensive: The ancient tattoo style is still done by specialist tattooists, who might be difficult to find. Traditional tattoo artists train for many years under a master. Japanese artists are lauded for their quality of work, despite being a bit pricey, and are highly sought after. Also refers to the tattooing of hidden words, for example among the petals of flowers. This will usually be done in one sitting, often freehand without the use of a stencil , which may require several hours to complete. Unlike the US, even finding a tattoo shop in Japan may prove difficult, with tattoo shops primarily placed in areas that are very tourist or US military friendly. Ainu tattoos[ edit ] The Ainu people , an indigenous people of Japan, are known to have used tattoos for decorative and social purposes. They will usually be given a tattoo name by their master, most often incorporating the word "hori" to engrave and a syllable derived from the master's own name or some other significant word. Unlike traditional irezumi, where the majority of the tattoo decision making is left up to the artist, customers bring in a design of their choice or can decide on what they would like at the shop. Nevertheless, fascinated foreigners went to Japan seeking the skills of tattoo artists, and traditional tattooing continued underground. They will sometimes live in the master's house, and may spend years cleaning the studio, observing, practicing on their own flesh, making the needles and other tools required, mixing inks, and painstakingly copying designs from the master's book before they are allowed to tattoo clients. In the following Yayoi period c. Japanese tattoos in the Edo period[ edit ] A tattooed man's back, c. There is no known relation to the development of irezumi. Modern tattoos are done via an electric machine, in which the ink can be inserted into the machine or the needle tip can be dipped into ink for application. Tattoos in modern Japan[ edit ] At the beginning of the Meiji period the Japanese government , wanting to protect its image and make a good impression on the West and to avoid ridicule, outlawed tattoos, and irezumi took on connotations of criminality. Tattooed marks were still used as punishment, but minor fads for decorative tattoos, some featuring designs that would be completed only when lovers' hands were joined, also came and went. The ink used to tattoo , traditionally mixed by the apprentice Hikae: Many yakuza and other criminals themselves now avoid tattoos for this very reason. If they have them, they should remove them—or find work elsewhere.
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