Just about any style Japanese tattoo seems to currently be hot. Tattooing trends sure change from year to year and in the past few years that has been a real rise in the popularity of Japanese tattoos. Along with the rise of tattoos for women these seem to be two of the biggest trends in the market and two trends that are starting to combine. There are many women, girls and females out there that are getting some pretty pink Japanese tattoo designs inked on themselves including big Japanese sleeve tattoos, large back pieces and even more delicate and cute leg, hip and rib designs. So what do these designs mean and what is the symbolism behind them anyway?
While the symbolism behind any tattoo is not a hard or fast science that the symbol always means just one thing there are some common understandings that can be used. Symbols mean different things at different times and to different people. So what once was a symbol of something that is bad might now be worn as a badge of courage and so on. However these are some of the more common Japanese tattoo meaning for popular designs that women would be most interested in.
Koi Fish Tattoos Symbolism
Koi fish have been a very deep part of the Japanese psyche for thousands of years. Even today there is hardly a temple that does not have a small koi pond filled with these majestic fish. The original lore probably came from China but has been handed down for so many thousands of years that Japanese now believe that it is always been there own. Anyway the koi fish is believe to be a powerful, strong and independent fish. The story goes that this fish swims up stream against the current (thus is why there are often drawing splashing) and if they are strong enough and have enough power they eventually reach the highest gate and once they pass through it they become a dragon and fly up powerfully into the sky.
The symbolism for most Japanese is one of strength, power and being true to one self. This is something that works well with many women today who want to strike out on their own and feel their own power and independence.
Cherry Blossom Tattoos
The cherry blossom has always been a very deeply symbolic and important flower for the Japanese also. In fact it is probably one of the most important symbols within the culture. The samurai warriors used to write poems and dedicated works of art to capturing the essence of the cherry blossom. In fact in many ways the samurai thought of the cherry blossom as a symbolic of their own life. The cherry blossom comes out early in the year when it is cold. It is very beautiful but also short lived and will soon fall from the tree. So the samurai also believe and felt about their lives they has to live there life everyday like it was their last without any fear of death. Thus many have heard the popular saying that a samurai would wake up in the morning and say to himself quietly today is a good day to die. This was not meant as a death with but as a life wish to live life to the fullest. This has carried into the symbolism of tattooing also and is equally popular along with the koi fish design.
Lotus Flower Tattoos
Another popular symbol in Japan and actually throughout Asian is the lotus flower. Religiously speaking the lotus flower held great significance historically in India. The power, symbolism and influence of this flower travelled to Asian along with the religious system known as Buddhism. Many believe that the lotus flower best represents the journey of life. The flower starts as a delicate bud down in the bottom muddy part of the water. It slowly pushes to the surface reaching for the sun and then once it hits the top is blossoms into a beautiful flower. This has been symbolic of the journey that every person must go through as they gain enlightenment. Thus you will often see lotus flowers in many religious art works but also it has become a very popular symbol for living life to it's fullest and striving.
By Chris Ryerson