It’s pretty much whatever kind of tattoo you love, and the style and art that you prefer. And Japanese styles are just as varied. For example, the most popular Japanese style, known as the bakufu (literally, “handcuffed”) is based on a traditional Japanese tattoo technique called takai-waza.
Bakufu is the art of tucking a small needle into the skin in between the toes and under the nail. It’s a traditional technique for capturing the appearance of a certain person or animals in a particular tattoo — or for adding to something familiar.
Bakufu tattoos are commonly tattooed on the cheeks, the stomach, and the back of the hands.
How Japanese tattoo style translates to different cultures
But it’s not just the tattoos that vary from culture to culture. Like it or not, a lot of what makes Japanese tattoos different is how they’re presented.
To be truly Japanese, a Japanese tattoo must be unique. In the same way that a New Yorker may have unique ideas on what a “chrysanthemum” or “pikachu” should look like, many Japanese tattoos can be thought of as a collection of images or shapes representing the different aspects of their identity. Sometimes it can happen that the style of an image reflects its original culture, but most of the time it is a stylization of a specific piece of culture.
Here’s what it’s like to have an actual Japanese tattoo, and what other types you might see a Japanese tattoo of.
A bakufu tattoo of an anime character.
A bakufu tattoo of Hello Kitty, or even of the character’s anime counterpart, Mimi (and also her anime counterpart Mimi-chan).
Japanese style tattoos are sometimes applied to the torso and arms. But there are also other styles that are seen as less formal as a more modern (and more “trendy”) style.
The art for this type of tattoo is more abstract. It’s called ‘Kaijirashii no Uta’ (meaning, it’s art that expresses a feeling of desire, but is also not for everyone), and it’s a style that is popular in Japan but is not common elsewhere.
An example is the style made popular by Miki (Mimi) Chan.
Another style would be a character with a bionic, robotic body, where a new mechanical limb is placed over the
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