Japanese demon tattoo

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A Guide to The Mythological Creatures of Japanese Irezumi

A mainstay of the tattoo community and culture, Japanese tattoos are incredibly influential and illustrate a bevy of beautiful, terrifying, and downright mystifying creatures. Since there are so many characters within Japanese mythology and iconography, we figured we’d give you a list of the 50 top Japanese tattoo design motifs out there. Of course, there are literally thousands more but we hope this will be a primer for those of you are who interested in knowing more about the origins, characteristics, and meaning behind some of your favorite tattoo art.

Crane tattoo by Horikai Caio Pineiro #HorikaiCaioPineiro #crane #chrysanthemum #japanesetattoos #japanese #irezumi #japanesemythology #mythology
Dragon and geisha tattoo by Luca Ortis #LucaOrtis #geisha #dragon #ryu #bodysuit #japanesetattoos #japanese #irezumi #japanesemythology #mythology
Kintaro tattoo by Ichi Hatano #IchiHatano #kintaro #koi #japanesetattoos #japanese #irezumi #japanesemythology #mythology

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1. Ryu Tattoo aka Japanese Dragon Tattoo

Arguably the most recognizable creature in Japanese iconography is the Dragon. Ryu are seen as a symbol of profound blessing, wisdom, and strength — due to their ability to manipulate the elements for the benefit of the people. Dragons tend to differ from one another as they are said to take on the characteristics of many creatures — typically depending on the animals it will encounter on its journey. His head is usually that of a camel, with the neck and belly of a snake, the scales of a koi fish, the talons of a hawk, chicken, or eagle, and the horns of a stag.

Read more about Ryu:Tremendous Traditional Japanese Dragon Tattoos

2. Tengu Tattoo

Tengu are a form of yōkai (supernatural creatures or ghosts). They are generally associated with themes of destruction and war. Though they are humanoid nowadays, at one point, they were thought to take the form of birds of prey, hence the demonic creatures' long noses that evolved from their predecessors' beaks. Tengu are often illustrated looking wrathful, and are frequently colored red to draw out their militant symbolism.

Read more:12 Protective Tengu Tattoos

3. Kappa Tattoo aka Japanese Turtle Tattoo

The myth of this monstrous bipedal turtle derives from stories of giant salamanders who would reach out of shallow river beds to grab the unsuspecting with their powerful jaws. Kappa are notorious troublemakers and tricksters — who like peek up Kimonos, kidnap children, and assault young females when they're least expecting it (what the hell?).
The Kappa's defining characteristic is a small cavity (or plate) of water located in its skull. When this cavity is dry he is powerless, so the answer to defeating a Kappa is to bow before him. Kappa apparently have a certain penchant for politeness — and will be compelled to bow back, thus spilling the water plate.

Read more:Kappa Tattoos to Drag You into the Murky Water

4. Fujin Tattoo

Fujin is commonly recognized as the Japanese deity of wing. He is most often depicted as an oni (demon-like) figure with skin of glowing green or blue and is believed to have powers similar to that of a wizard. The tapesty behind him is the enchanted object with which he controls air currents.

5. Raijin Tattoo

While Fujin is the god of wind, Raijin — his rival brother — is the Shinto deity of lightning and thunder. He is often depicted beating on drums to roar throughout the skies as thunderbolts fly off of his extremities. According to legend, the two brothers are combative in nature and stormy weather is a result of their endless squabbling.

Get more inspiration:12 Thunderous Raijin Tattoos

6. Kirin Tattoo

The Kirin is another chimeral creature of Japanese folklore, and his rare appearance marks the passing of a sagely leader or ruler. Though its connotations of death seem like they would be sorrowful, this is not the case. The Kirin is seen as a good omen, signifying a better tomorrow achievable through the reflective process of mourning.
Kirin are traditionally rendered with the body of a deer, head of a dragon, the scales of a fish, hooves of a horse, mane of a lion, the tail of an ox, and a set of - or single horn.

See more Kirin tattoo ideas:Traditional Japanese Tattoos of the Unicorn of the East - the Kirin

7. Baku Tattoo

According to legend, Baku are mythical creatures who aid in devouring nightmares. In Japan it is still common-place to see a Baku talisman near the bed, especially in the child's room. They are typically depicted with the head of an elephant, the claws of a tiger, the body of a bear, and the tail of an ox.

Read more:Traditional Japanese Tattoos of the Baku - Devourer of Nightmares

8. Karajishi Tattoo aka Foo Dog Tattoo

Often referred to as the "King of Beasts," Karajishi or "guardian lions" are another popular image from traditional Japanese folklore. Statues of these lion-like mythological creatures have traditionally been placed at the entrances of palaces and temples to chase away evil spirits, hence them being well-known symbols of courage as well as guardianship.

Get more Foo Dog tattoo ideas: Foo Dogs - The Mythological Lions of Traditional Japanese Tattoos

9. Koi Tattoo aka Japanese Fish Tattoo

These fish are native to Japan and have been a part of Japanese artistic culture for a very long time. They are symbolic of numerous things, but given their extraordinary lifespans, they are most commonly associated with longevity, persistence, and overcoming the trails of life.

Get inspired:18 Killer Koi Fish Designs

10. Hou-ou Tattoo aka Japanese Phoenix Tattoo

In Japan, hou-ou or the phoenix is symbolic of the imperial household. This mythical bird represents a number of other things, including fidelity, fire, justice, obedience, and the sun. Interestingly, this fiery bird is both a figure of harmony and disharmony, descending from heaven at times of peace and fleeing back to its astral abode when strife inhabits the land. Because of this, it is seen as an emblem of new eras, whether they be better times or worse. In Irezumi, they are generally depicted as having avian physiology with particularly long necks and scales like snakes along with peacock tail-feathers.

Read more:A Sign from the Heavens - Tattoos of the Japanese Phoenix

11. Oni Tattoo aka Japanese Demon Tattoo

Oni are the the demons and devils of Japanese art. They are typically depicted as being largely humanoid minus their claws, fangs, horns, and often vibrantly colored skin. Oni are frequently illustrated as wearing loin cloths and wielding weapons such as katanas and kanabō — massive, studded clubs. These little demons are the harbingers of disaster, disease, and other things that plague humanity.

12. Kitsune Tattoo aka Japanese Fox Tattoo

Kitsune are revered as extremely intelligent creatures, rumored to be immortal as well as magical. According to some accounts they continue aging until they grow old enough to become Tenko — celestial foxes — and ascend into the heavens. They purportedly can shoot lightning and fire from their mouths, fly, and psychically will dreams into the minds of others. In other legends, they even have been reported as being shapeshifters that turn into humans to either find love or drain the life-force from unsuspecting mates.

See more designs of Japanese foxes:The Magical Folklore Behind Kitsune Tattoos

13. Hebi Tattoo aka Japanese Snake Tattoo

The hebi or snake have a wide range of symbolism in Japanese culture, but are often depicted as sharp-toothed guardian creatures that protect coveted riches and treasures. The snake can also symbolize rebirth, transformation, and the continual renewal of life.

14. Fudo Myoo Tattoo

Fudo Myoo, which in Japanese means "Wise King Acala," is a Buddhist deity that was imported into Irezumi's canon as the religion spread into the country. Though he has many interpretations, Fudo Myoo is generally seen as a wrathful protector, one who vanquishes spiritual impediments in order to help the faithful attain enlightenment. He is generally depicted as having an angry face with a wrinkled brow, pointy fangs, and squinted eyes. Traditionally, he holds numerous symbolic items, such as the three-pronged vajra sword and nooses.

15. Heikegani Tattoo aka Japanese Crab Tattoo

These disgruntled-looking crustaceans actually populate the beaches of Japan, and their backs really do look like scrunched-up angry faces. Though the Heikegani or "samurai crab" exists literally, their natural appearance has been borrowed into to Irezumi to figuratively represent the spirits of fallen warriors.

Read more:Traditional Japanese Tattoos of Heikegani, aka Samurai Crabs

16. Nue Tattoo

This chimeric creature is straight out of The Tale of the Heike — the nearly a millennium-old Japanese epic poem. It is most commonly depicted as having an ape's face, the body of a tiger, and a snake for a tail. In the text, it describes a mysterious cloud of black smoke and a haunting voice. After the arrival of this ominous figure, the emperor at the time, Nijō, becomes seriously ill. Since no medicinal or spiritual remedies have any effect on him, he and his advisers deem it a curse brought on by the supernatural figure of the Nue. Nijō commands his best archer, Minamoto no Yorimasa, to go slay the beast. The archer's apprentice, Ino Haya, then takes one of his master's arrows, hunts down the Nue, and kills it, saving the emperor in the process.

More inspiration:The Legend of the Nue as Told Through Traditional Japanese Tattoos

17. Namakubi Tattoos 

Not only a reminder of the impermanence of this life but an homage to the many great warriors and samurai of Japan’s history, namakubi tattoos are images of severed heads. Usually covered in spots of blood, other details can include daggers, rope, and arrows. These images have their roots in the history of feudal Japan when serious wars were being fought and many honorable rituals were in place including Seppuku, often called Hari Kari. Used as both a suicide ceremony and capital punishment, Seppuku involved self-disembowelment followed by beheading. Namakubi tattoos are a grisly reminder of honorable actions, respect, courage, and overcoming fear. 

Read more: Heads Will Roll - Namakubi Tattoos

18. Sakura: Cherry Blossom Tattoos

The Japanese have an immense respect for the natural world and the cycle of life it represents. Cherry blossom tattoos are a perfect embodiment of this. The Japanese have a history of practicing Buddhism and embracing impermanence is a large part of that. These beautiful flowers bloom and then wither usually in the space of 14 days. Cherry blossom tattoos usually capture them at their fullest, but they are still symbolic of the short, yet sweet, time we spend on Earth. 

Read more: Cherry Blossom Tattoos - The Legend of the Sakura

19. Hannya Tattoos 

Commonly used in Noh theater, Hannya masks are the faces of demonic females who have been cursed by their jealousy, obsession, and anger. Hannya tattoos are widely popular pieces to get not only because of their historical symbolism and depictions in Japanese culture but also because they’re visually captivating. Hannya’s can come in many different colors, but each one represents the social standing of the woman. A white Hannya tattoo illustrates a female of noble birth, while red denotes a provincial serf or peasant. The deepest shade of red, and black, is reserved for the darkest demons whose soul no longer remotely harks to the woman she used to be.

Read more: Never Cross a Jealous Female - Hannya Tattoos

20. Hitotsume-kozo Tattoos aka Tofu-kozo Tattoos 

They may look like a cute bald-headed monk, but Hitotsume-kozo, or Tofu-kozo tattoos, are actually depictions of a specific goblin-like yokai that comes in the form of a mischievous child or “kozo”: a monk in training. Like a cyclops, Hitotsume-kozo have one eye in the center of their head but they’re mostly known for popping up when you least expect it with a little block of tofu on a plate! Unlike some of the other yokai on this list, Hitotsume-kozo tattoos are illustrations of a generally harmless little guy who is just looking for some fun. 

Read more: Dishing Out Some Bean Curd with Tofu Boy Tattoos

21. Namazu Tattoo aka The Earthquake Catfish Tattoo

Namazu tattoos are inspired by the folktale of a giant catfish who hides under the mud waiting for the chance to cause earthquakes. Japan is frequented by earthquakes, so it makes sense that they would have a legend surrounding this horrific hazard. Namazu is guarded by Kashima, also known as Takemikazuchi, the god of thunder and swords. Often Namazu tattoos depict Kashima keeping the catfish under control with a giant stone but there are certainly other characters you’ll see swimming alongside this creature.

Read more: Traditional Tattoos of Namazu the Earthshaker

22. Botan Tattoos aka Peony Tattoos

Known as The King of Flowers, peony tattoos are, as you can imagine, highly regarded in Japanese mythology and culture. Known in Japan as “botan”, peonies have many metaphors surrounding them. Surprisingly enough, peony trees are not native to Japan and are thought to have been brought over from China by a Buddhist monk. A peony tattoo has many meanings that range from bravery, courage, honor, good fortune, romance, and prosperity. One of the most beautiful motifs of Japanese tattoos, a botan tattoo, or peony tattoo, is a wonderful addition to any Irezumi collection. 

Read more: The Imperial Peony - Traditional Japanese Tattoos of Botan

23. Geisha Tattoos

Although like some of the motifs in this list are taken from folklore, Geisha tattoos depict one of the most famous aspects of Japanese culture and they are, as you know, quite real. But that doesn’t mean they don’t show up in some famous fairy tales and legends. Geisha have been known to be muses; they are the perfect epitome of an artful existence, which is something very inherent to much of Japanese life. Geisha tattoos are perhaps some of the most popular designs to get and it’s not hard to see why.

Read more: Geisha Tattoos - An Epitome of Grace and Beauty

24. Koinobori Tattoos

Fish have heavily influenced all parts of Japanese culture. From savory sushi to legends of earthquake causing catfish, Koinobori tattoos are another example of just how important sea and ocean-faring creatures are in Japan. These pieces actually depict a windsock, which is much like a flag. Many families, long ago, started to fly these on poles attached to their homes in honor of Boy’s Day, a festival celebrating sons. Although Boy’s Day still exists it has since evolved into a national holiday called Children’s Day since Koinobori tattoos still represent the vitality of children since carp and koi have so much energy they have no problem swimming upstream!

25. The Great Wave off Kanagawa - Japanese Wave Tattoos

Based on the famed Ukiyo-e woodblock print created by Hokusai, Japanese wave tattoos depict the work of art called “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. Although this is, perhaps, the most well-known and reproduced image of his, there are actually 35 other images that are part of a series Hokusai created called “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji”. Many contemporary renditions that turn this print into a Japanese wave tattoo forego the detail of the mountain looming in the background. Mount Fuji is a source of national pride for many Japanese people, and the Great Wave framing it speaks to the majestic beauty and strength of nature.

Read more: Riding the Rip Tide - Hokusai’s Great Wave Tattoos

26. Kasa-obake Tattoos: The Umbrella Demon 

A perfect example of how traditional Japanese values and ideas develop into imagery, Kasa-obake tattoos are umbrellas that have turned into demons. In Shintoism, ordinary objects will gather what is called “kami” or spirit over time; these objects are then called Tsukumogami. Apparently, the legend goes that this happens on the household tools 100th birthday, wherein they have lived for so long that they are now endowed with awareness. Many Kasa-obake tattoos are actually taken from a famous film called “Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters” from 1968. Mostly a funny, quirky, and mischevious character, Kasa-obake tattoos are perfect for people who love the humorous bits of Japanese culture. 

Read more: A Most Infamous Yokai - Kasa-obake Tattoos

27. Jorogumo Tattoos - The Spider Woman

Jorogumo tattoos have a fascinating history that spans many different legends and stories; some are even specific to the location and geography of Japan. This particular Japanese icon is a demon that can morph from a Spider Woman into a beguiling lady who charms her victims with beauty. However, some Jorogumo tattoos are actually based on the scenic waterfall Kashikobuchi located in Sendai, Japan. The Spider Woman in the legend of Kashikobuchi is actually worshipped for her power to fend off water disasters...but be warned, she’ll still kill you if she gets the chance.

Read more: Binding Brides - Traditional Japanese Tattoos of Jorogumo

28. Japanese Toad Tattoos

If you haven’t already guessed, natural life is a very important aspect of Japanese life, as well as Japanese mythology, so much of the iconography within the folktales uses animals as a key character. Japanese toad tattoos are a great example of this, and an awesome addition to any Irezumi tattoo collection. Often, Japanese toad tattoos are symbols of prosperity, wealth, success, and good luck, which is why you may see a toad tattoo that includes gold coins.

29. Saru Tattoos aka Japanese Monkey Tattoos

Another animal that has become a key figure in many legends and stories, Saru tattoos, also known as Japanese monkey tattoos, depict the cunning creature that all of us know and love. Saru tattoos usually come in the form of Noh masks, but they can also be confused for Son-gyoja, the Japanese version of the Monkey King. The meaning and feeling about monkeys has changed over the years in Japan. In the 8th century, they were thought of as mediators between gods and humans but were later thought of as obnoxious little tricksters. 

Read more: Charismatic Japanese Saru Tattoos

30. Kabuki Theatre Tattoos

Dramatic musical theatre in Japan is much different than what you will experience in the west, but be assured, there’s still lavish costumes, make-up, and dramatic plots involved. In the 1600s women were the main performers and their exhibitions often involved risque scenarios. To make it even sexier, many of the performers in Kabuki theatre at that time were also prostitutes. The contemporary dance-drama has certainly evolved from its beginnings and many Kabuki Theatre tattoos concentrate on the elaborate costumes and make-up.

Read more: 10 Gorgeous Tattoos Inspired by Japanese Kabuki Theater

31. Other Japanese Mask Tattoos 

Japanese culture is actually filled with masks, so there is tons of inspiration out there if you’re looking to get your own Japanese mask tattoo. Although Hannya’s may be the most popular and well-known, there are many other characters that have been used to create costumes. From Kitsune to Okame, if you dig a little deep into Noh, Kabuki, legends, and folklore, there may be something in particular that can influence the design of your Japanese mask tattoo. 

Read more: 20 Theatrical Japanese Mask Tattoos

32. Maneki Neko Tattoos - Japanese Cat Tattoos

Almost as iconic as Hello Kitty herself, Maneki Neko tattoos are illustrations of the lucky cat. Maneki Neko actually means “beckoning cat”, and it’s cute little upraised paw is meant to bring in fortune, wealth, and luck. You’ve probably seen this little guy sitting in the corner of your favorite Japanese or Chinese restaurant holding a gold coin. Maneki Neko tattoos are actually just one of the many Japanese cat tattoos you can get. The Japanese love their cats, so kitties will often be characters in mythology, folklore, and children’s stories. 

Read more: 8 Lucky Maneki Neko Tattoos

33. Kintaro Tattoos

Directly translated as “Golden Boy” Kintaro tattoos are a nod to a famed legend of a young boy who became a hero by catching evil oni and more. There are many stories about this character, but perhaps the best origination story is the one where his mother was impregnated by a clap of thunder sent from a red dragon, which would explain his indefatigable strength, energy, and power. Many Kintaro tattoos show him with a giant carp, which comes from another folktale where he goes underwater to capture a trouble-making koi. 

Read more: Ride the Koi With These Kintaro Tattoos

34. Yokai Tattoos 

We’ve already mentioned many of them in this list, but Yokai tattoos are supernatural ghosts, demons, and spirits. They can range from deeply evil to kinda cute, but the great thing about yokai tattoos is that there are so many different ones to choose from. If you’re as in love with Japanese tattoos as we are, our advice is to dig in, read some fairytales, and choose a yokai tattoo that resonates with you. Each of them has their very own personality, specific powers, and they usually have a fascinating backstory, so make it fun and figure out which one is yours!

Read more: Supernatural Spirits and Spectres - Yokai Tattoos

35. Monmon Cat Tattoos

With over twenty years of experience, Horitomo is a highly respected Japanese tattooer who owns State of Grace Tattoos in San Jose, California. Because Horitomo is deeply in love with tattooing and cats, it made sense to bring the two together to create Monmon cat tattoos. Our favorites include one tattooed cat giving another kitty a tebori tattoo, but there are so many different lil kitties in his collection, and he’s always coming up with more! He’s even included some tatted up mice just in case your cat needs a friend...or a snack. 

Read more: A Chat with the Master of Monmon Cats

36. Hyottoko Tattoos

Hyottoko tattoos usually come in the form of masks. He’s a very popular character that is the comedian of the theatre biz, but his legend goes quite far back into history. Originally he is actually known as the god of fire, and at times you’ll see Hyottoko tattoos that have a bamboo pipe stuck into his skewed mouth that blows fire! This piece is definitely best for those who not only love aspects of Japanese mythology and folklore but who also may be a class clown. 

Read more: Hyottoko Tattoos - Homage to Humor

37. Bakeneko Tattoos and Nekomata Tattoos

Another cat within the insanely large and varied world of Japanese cat legends is that of Bakeneko, also known as Nekomata. Bakeneko tattoos and Nekomata tattoos are visual representations of yokai that have many different characteristics depending on the story your kitty comes from. Some of them can shapeshift into women, some drink blood, and others are just simply exactly like an ordinary house cat: difficult to control, very clever, and they have many nocturnal activities to keep them busy. Keep in mind that Bakeneko tattoos and Nekomata tattoos have one main difference: Nekomata have two tails, while Bakeneko only has one.

38. Shibari Tattoos

You may have seen images of women being tied into what look to be rather uncomfortable positions. These Japanese tattoos are based on the ancient art of rope tying. Recently shibari has exploded in popularity around the world resulting in a surge of clever shibari tattoos. We’ve seen lovely ladies, cats, and even roses depicted in knots, and although shibari isn’t directly related to mythology, there are many legends of evil demons torturing their victims by tying them to bamboo poles. Whether your shibari tattoo is beautiful or brutal, we’re sure this will resonate with some of the kinkier folk out there. 

Read more: Power Play is Sexier with Consent: Shibari Tattoos

39. Momotaro Tattoos

One of the cutest characters in Japanese mythology, Momotaro tattoos are portraits of the Peach Boy! There are actually a few different tales of children popping out of random things in order to give a childless couple the opportunity to be parents, including The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter which was remade into the Studio Ghibli film The Tale of Princess Kaguya. The story of Momotaro is similar but unlike Kaguya, Momotaro went on to become a hero who destroys a band of oni ravaging the surrounding lands of his home. Momotaro tattoos are a playful and colorful addition to any Japanese tattoo collection.

40. Daruma Tattoos

Although Daruma tattoos may not strike you as a depiction of a revered holy man, Daruma dolls are, in fact, modeled after Bodhidharma who founded the Zen Buddhism tradition in Japan. These hollow little round dolls are a favorite Japanese tattoo as well as a toy, talisman, and gift of encouragement. They symbolize good luck and perseverance partly because, legend has it, that Bodhidharma was so dedicated to his Buddhist lifestyle that once after falling asleep during meditation he cut off his own eyelids so that it would never happen again. There’s also a story that once he sat for nine years staring at a wall. After he was finished, he could no longer stand up because his legs had atrophied which is why Daruma dolls, and Daruma doll tattoos, do not have legs. 

Read more: 16 Awesome Daruma Doll Tattoos

41. Ushi-Oni Tattoos

Most Ushi-oni tattoos look a bit like a spider with the head of a very stoned or sleepy oxen. But don’t let that fool you. Ushi-oni are demonic yokai who prefer to snack on human flesh. It’s good to note that depending on the geographical location, the characteristics of this particular yokai actually change, but they all have bovine and oni features but pretty much every legend that includes a Ushi-oni agrees that they live in water and feed on unsuspecting humans lounging on beaches.

42. Chochin-obake Tattoos

Like Kasa-obake, Chochin-obake is an ordinary household item that has survived long enough to be endowed with ‘kami’ or spirit. The paper lantern is an extremely typical item in Japan, and you will see them swinging from many doors and roofs while walking around the prefectures. Most people believe that these particular yokai grew faces once the paper the lantern was made of split from years of use; a tear would become a mouth with a long tongue protruding from it. Chochin-obake tattoos are very popular, so if you’re interested in Japanese tattoos, you’ve probably seen one before.

43. Yurei Tattoos

Yurei tattoos are depictions of what a Westerner would consider most closely to resemble a ghost. Similar to Chinese and Western ideas of spirits, Yurei are thought to be the spirit of someone who is kept from a peaceful afterlife. This can happen if the person has committed suicide, has been murdered, or if the final rites of their burial were not properly carried out. Most often, Yurei tattoos will look exactly like what their name means: a faint spirit or a dim soul. 

Read more: 10 Haunting Yurei Tattoos

44. Crane Tattoos

Another extremely popular element of Japanese tattoos, crane tattoos hold an incredible amount of deep and sacred symbolism. They are highly revered in Japan and referred to as the “bird of happiness”. Crane tattoos are symbols of longevity, as well as good fortune, and are thought to live for thousands of years. Cranes are found in many different Japanese mythological stories and folktales, so adding one to your Irezumi collection may not be a bad idea.

Read more: Eternal Youth and Lasting Happiness - Crane Tattoo Symbolism 

45. Akkorokamui Tattoos

This gigantic octopus-like monster lurks in the shores of Hokkaido and is deeply respected by the Ainu, an indigenous people from Japan and Russia. Akkorokamui tattoos will usually look exactly like an octopus, but may have details denoting its great size. One interesting characteristic of this particular mythological creature is that it can, like many species of octopi, self-amputate limbs and then regrow them if needed. Because of this, the Ainu believe that Akkorokamui has healing powers, especially for those with broken, severed, or disfigured limbs.

46. Rokurokubi Tattoos

Like we mentioned before if you’re deeply interested in Japanese tattoos and the mythology behind them, it may be a great idea to check out the late 60s film “Yokai Monsters: 100 Monsters”. This is where you’ll meet many yokai including Rokurokubi. These yokai are usually beautiful women who are also demons that can make their neck stretch like a snake. Another type of Rokurokubi is a nukekubi, which can pop their head completely off so that it can freely fly around the room.

47. Shunga Tattoos

If you haven’t been introduced to Shunga by now, let us help you out. Shunga is ancient erotica...basically Japanese woodblock porn. Many Japanese tattoos are influenced by the many incredible works of Ukiyo-e and in this case, it’s no different. Shunga tattoos have become increasingly popular and, believe it or not, many of them are inspired by the famed artist Hokusai. One of the most famous myths was brought into visual art reality by that particular master and goes by the name of “The Dream of the Fishermans Wife”. Perhaps tentacle porn isn’t exactly your thing but in the world of Shunga, nothing is off limits.

48. Peach Tattoos

Like many other flora and fauna, the fruits of Japan also carry their own special symbolism. Peach tattoos, like the juicy food they depict, are associated with the elimination of evil and misfortune as well as long life. Unlike Western peaches, Japanese peaches are very large, about the size of a small grapefruit, and are usually white or light pink in color. But, beware, Japanese peaches should be peeled before eating them as their soft skin is slightly prickly. 

Read more: What’s Soft and Fuzzy and Round All Over? Peach Tattoos

49. Tanuki Tattoos

Ah, the clever and mischevious little Japanese raccoon dog. A Tanuki is a sub-species of Asian raccoon dogs that has had a long history within the annals of Japanese mythology. Most often a Tanuki tattoo is actually an illustration of a Bake-danuki, a yokai with supernatural powers, rather than the actual real-life animal. They are generally thought of as jolly, naughty, with a penchant for disguising themselves as teapots, monks, and a variety of other random things. But that’s okay because as much trouble as they may cause, they’re actually a bit slow and stupid. Tanuki tattoos are usually drawn up sporting a smile while playing with their gigantic balls. And, no, we’re not joking. 

Read more: 8 Cute Tanuki Tattoos

50. Torii Tattoos

Our last important Japanese mythological design icon is one that you can see all around Japan. Torii tattoos are visual representations of torii, gates that mark the entrance into a sacred or spiritual place. Usually, they are painted red which is a color symbolizing protection against evil. They are typically found directly in front of Shinto shrines, but you can also find them dotted amongst Japanese landscapes such as in forests or resting in water such as the famous Itsukushima Shrine “floating” torii. Perhaps the most well-known torii collection is that of Fushimi Inari which has a collection of over 30,000 torii gates. Getting a torii tattoo is an incredibly special piece to collect, especially if you are a spiritual person.

If you’ve read this far we assume you’re pretty interested in the monsters, spirits, and spectres of Japanese mythology. If you’d like to read more about this particular aspect of Japanese tattoos we’d suggest checking out “Dream Spectres” which is part of a series of books that highlights various Japanese artworks and the myths or characters within them. We also have an article about Ero Guro, which is a fascinating art movement that is also still influential to tattooing today. Another suggestion would be to peruse the images of the “He-Gassen”, which is a 200 year old, 34 foot long scroll with illustrations depicting “the fart wars”. 

If you’re less into reading and more into experiencing, then perhaps a Japanese monster movie night is the perfect thing. There are so many films out there but our favorites happen to be Kwaidan, Hausu, Kuroneko, Spirited Away, and A Letter to Momo. 

We hope this collection has inspired you and that you’ll think about adding one of these unique creatures to your own Japanese tattoo collection.


Justine Morrow

Written byJustine Morrow

Social Producer, Journalist, Editor, and Curator for Tattoodo I am here to support you 🌻 IG: @lathe.of.heaven

Sours: https://www.tattoodo.com/articles/a-guide-to-the-mythological-creatures-of-japanese-irezumi-10835

Hannya Mask tattoo designs are inspired by Japanese art. The Hannya Mask has a very important role in Japanese Theatre and arts. It represents a female demon who is jealous of his peers. This is a very common meaning of the Hannya mask tattoo but it can change according to the context.

For example, an angry Hannya mask can also represent hate while a relaxed-looking Hanya mask can represent calmness and wisdom.

Here we have chosen 250+ Hannya mask tattoo designs that will suit both men and women –

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oni mask tattoo meaning

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japanese demon mask tattoo

Japanese Hannya Masks Tattoos (3)


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Have you ever heard of the Oni mask as a concept? Have you ever considered it as a tattoo idea maybe? In this article, we will talk a lot about different tattoo ideas. We will also explain and tell you about the meaning of the Omni mask while emphasizing its deep true spiritual side. Keep on reading and browse through your options down below, we have 30 of them for you to consider.

What Does Oni Mask Tattoo Symbolize?

What Does Oni Mask Tattoo Symbolize

An Oni mask is used in the Japanese culture and is a common tattoo choice for those who believe in good and evil forces, as well as different power that surrounds us. This mask is a symbol of protection for those who believe in the spiritual world.

According to some people, the mask is used as a symbol of protection from the devil that can punish you or haunt you all over the globe and at any given time. If you’re a spiritual person you will enjoy this tattoo and its deep meaning.

10 Oni Mask Tattoos For Guys

1. Oni Mask Tattoo Designs

Oni Mask Tattoo Designs

If you live for chest tattoos and you’re someone who wants to stand out with scary yet masculine ideas you will go for this one. It is precise, grandiose, as well as beautiful.

This print screams and stands for your cool presence and dominance everywhere you go. If you’re someone who knows how to approach different aspects of beauty in your way you will enjoy this art.

2. Samurai Oni Mask Tattoo

Samurai Oni Mask Tattoo

Guys who enjoy shoulder or arm ideas will appreciate this beauty. If you’re not afraid of the needle and you want to try out a new tattoo, as well as a new tattooing concept – similar Oni prints are for you.

It will help you with any negative thoughts or negativity in general that you may experience or be going through.

3. Samurai Oni Mask Tattoo Over Chest

Samurai Oni Mask Tattoo Over Chest

Black tattoos and this type of shading is for anyone who appreciates a new approach yet a mesmerizing idea. If you’re a fan of chest ideas and you have a masculine chest yourself this print will suit you.

It symbolizes all good and wrong that you have experienced and encountered in your lifetime while successfully overcoming it and figuring out who to trust and who to avoid in your life and shaky journey.

Fun fact: Oni masks can come in any & every color!

Also Read: Top 30 Samurai Tattoo Design Ideas (2021 Updated)

4. Giant Red Geisha Oni Mask Tattoo

Giant Red Geisha Oni Mask Tattoo

If red is your favorite color you will enjoy this design. Red is a color of power and passion. It represents your true show-stopping and powerful determined personality.

The Oni masks are a symbol of protection for those who believe in the spiritual world. Are you one of those as well?!

Also Read: Red Tattoo: Everything You Need To Know (30+ Cool Design Ideas)

5. Oni Mask Tattoo Sleeve Red Design

Oni Mask Tattoo Sleeve Red Design

Oni Tattoos means the devil’s ability to punish any evil or unjust act. You can embrace that meaning and show that you’re a tough guy with this sleeve idea.

This tattoo will protect you from evil and it will represent your bold character as well as your journey or the life that is ahead or behind you.

6. Oni Mask Tattoo Traditional Idea

Oni Mask Tattoo Traditional Idea

This glorious and masculine design is for those who are brave enough to stand out. Make sure that you have enough money and patience before you commit to this tattoo.

Black ink is a powerful choice and this design will protect you from karma, as well as the bad influence of others around you.

Did you know that these were worn in theaters ages ago?

7. Oni Japanese Mask Tattoo Over Back

Oni Japanese Mask Tattoo Over Back

Giant back tattoos usually look amazing on those who work out and who have masculine back that stands out. Blue is also a common color combo, so why not stick to it?

This tattoo will suit anyone who loves Japanese or Chinese culture. It is a time-consuming tattoo that shows your brave and protective side.

8. Oni Mask Tattoo Design Thigh Idea

Oni Mask Tattoo Design Thigh Idea

Thigh or leg tattoos are not that common among guys. However, do you feel special and you want to stand out? This can be an amazing conversation starter piece when you’re at the beach!

This Oni mask shows that you believe in a higher power. If you believe that there are spirits surrounding you and you’re trying to protect yourself from them – consider adding this design over your thighs.

9. Black Ink Thigh Tattoo Oni Mask

Black Ink Thigh Tattoo Oni Mask

Make sure that you find an amazing tattoo artist who is skilled to do similar mask tattoos. This one can be a challenge for most people.

A giant leg tattoo symbolizes your will and hard work. If you’re trying to do all there is to protect yourself from evil forces you will easily achieve that look with this image.

Fun fact: Hannya & Oni are the most common Japanese masks.

10. Oni Mask Tattoo Hand Palm Idea

Oni Mask Tattoo Hand Palm Idea

How about a scary arm or palm tattoo? Not everyone can rock something as bold and bright as this. If you’re trying to stand out and your job allows you to wear noticeable and showy ideas – try this one.

It is a power-embracing tattoo that shows your masculine and energy-boosting personality. You will protect yourself from any bad signs with this tattoo as well.

10 Colorful Oni Mask Tattoos

1. Oni Mask Tattoo Sleeve Colorful Idea

Oni Mask Tattoo Sleeve Colorful Idea

Sleeve tattoos are only for those who are brave enough and crazy enough to get them. Are you one of those who wants to stand out?

This colorful piece will let the world see your colorful personality, as well as your side that has that cheerful variety. You will show that you’re also protecting yourself from bad influences and different layers of people.

2. Scary Oni Mask Japanese Tattoo

Scary Oni Mask Japanese Tattoo

Not all tattoos can look as crazy and as dramatic. If you’re a fan of unique and original ideas this Oni mask is for you.

It shows the world that you’re a creative soul who knows his or her ways. You will come off as someone who is always searching for perfection. Does this sound like you?

3. Blue Oni An Hannya Mask Tattoo

Blue Oni An Hannya Mask Tattoo

Are you someone who likes show-stopping prints and glorious designs? Do you want to stand out with your tattoo at all times? If you’re someone who appreciates drama and fame this image is for you.

Blue is a color of new positive changes. Good fortune and wealth will come your way if you stick to this Oni print.

Did you know that Oni represents good luck?

4. Small Blue Oni Mask Tattoo Simple

Small Blue Oni Mask Tattoo Simple

Smaller tattoos are for those who wish to quickly get it over with. If you want to stick to pop or color and you’re trying to get noticed without being way too much and overwhelmed with your Oni, consider this flawless design.

You will protect yourself from enemies and you will stay away from bad energy with this idea. It is great for anyone who has that idea of perfection and protection all in one!

5. Red Oni Mask Tattoo Drawing

Red Oni Mask Tattoo Drawing

Red forearm tattoo is for those who love to stick to color. Are you one of those guys who is always in the center of attention? Most individuals live for similar beauties!

Red stands for energy and new powerful life. If you’re ready to get away with your faith and avoid all roots of evil – this is the ultimate evil combating tattoo.

6. Arm Traditional Oni Mask Tattoo

Arm Traditional Oni Mask Tattoo

If you want combine black & red try doing it with this Oni mask. Playful, cute, as well as artsy – ideal for men and women.

This element will symbolize your resigned and closed personality. If you don’t want or need the world to know all of your layers, stick to this idea.

Fun fact: Oni masks are most-often colored in red.

7. Chest Oni Mask Blue Traditional Tattoo

Chest Oni Mask Blue Traditional Tattoo

Chest ink and dramatic chest tattoos are for those who are trying to show their proud physique at all times. Make sure that you have 5-8 hours before you start with your tattooing process.

This color combo will show your turbulent personality. You will also feel at peace from all evil won’t this Oni mask.

Read More: Best Chest Tattoos for Men: 70+ Design Ideas (2021 Updated)

8. Leg Japanese Oni Mask Tattoo

Leg Japanese Oni Mask Tattoo

How about you consider this leg tattoo? Black ink with a pop of yellow is so different and interesting. Make sure that you have your creative side and know how to rock it before you commit to it.

Yellow is a color of gold and purity. You will protect yourself from any haram and you will enjoy your peace during your lifetime with similar Oni tattoos.

9. Geisha Oni Mask Tattoo Idea

Geisha Oni Mask Tattoo Idea

This Oni mask tattoo is for those who know how to enjoy diversified ink. If you are proud of your presence and your side (emotional and physical presence) get this print.

It is a symbol of ever-lasting life while staying true to yourself. We are always battling some inner demons, wouldn’t you agree?!

Did you know that these masks are mostly-sold & highly wanted during the festival season?

10. Red Scary Oni Mask Tattoo

Red Scary Oni Mask Tattoo

Are you scared easily? If not, you will enjoy representing this image. It is the perfect Oni tattoo for those who know how to show their true face to their surroundings.

Black and red is a common go-to color combo. If you are someone who watches horror movies regularly and you also appreciate a fun story that you get to tell along with your tattoo – this Oni is perfect.

10 Black Oni Mask Tattoos

1. Oni Mask Tattoo Black And Grey

Oni Mask Tattoo Black And Grey

Some chains will look perfect with your Oni mask. If you have a mysterious side to yourself and you love scary tattoos why not give this one a chance?

It will show the world that you’re always seeking vengeance and honesty. If you have had some bad or scary interactions in your lifetime you can get this design to show it in your way.

2. Black Oni Mask Tattoo Print

Black Oni Mask Tattoo Print

Guys who work out and who know how to represent their tattoo will love this forearm piece. It is quite hard to tattoo so make sure that you book the best tattoo artist that is in your city.

The image itself will represent your true intentions as well as the journey and path that you’re willing to go through in order to have it all! Protect yourself from demons and bad energy while representing this ink and perfecting it with this realistic red-devil shade.

3. Split Face Oni Mask Tattoo Print

Split Face Oni Mask Tattoo Print

How about a half-split face? Not everyone will get this design, which is why it is up to you to try out this Oni mask tattoo!

It symbolizes your personality and your phases. If you have two different characters in you they are always trying to battle it out you will want this Oni mask.

Fun fact: another popular go-to choice can be a Tengu mask – a creature that protects the mountains.

4. Forearm Oni Mask Tattoo Black Idea

Forearm Oni Mask Tattoo Black Idea

Guys who are afraid of the tattooing process, as well as the needle itself, will want this simple ink. Oni mask doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or scary print, just take a look at this beauty!

It shows that you’re low-key and determined in your own way and approach. Anyone who is seeking the truth and is always fighting for what is right will love this minimalism.

5. Leg Oni Mask Traditional Tattoo

Leg Oni Mask Traditional Tattoo

Place this black Oni mask over your leg. If you are eager to get something cool that is not overpowering your body, consider this art.

It represents your true colors and your will to fight off bad energy. You will look like someone who always knows what is right and you approach life with your standards.

6. Chest Oni Half Mask Tattoo

Chest Oni Half Mask Tattoo

Do you enjoy chest tattoos? Are you someone who is into black print and black designs? Guys who work out and guys who love their masculine presence will need this art over their chest.

You can also get a snake print and combine it with your Oni mask. If you’re someone who is into outstanding ideas this one will represent your character. Snakes will also protect you from bad energy and bad omen.

Did you know that these masks are super expensive to get and purchase in stores?!

7. Thigh Oni Mask Tattoo For Men

Thigh Oni Mask Tattoo For Men

This thigh and leg tattoo is for those who love their powerful macho body. It is a wow and show-stopping print that you’ll enjoy rocking and proudly showing off when at the beach or by the pool. It is a pricey design as well as something that will suit perfectionists the best.

Black is a color of elegance. You will look like a spiritual person and someone who knows how to tell good from the bad. Everyone will see you as a fighter who loves to stand for right and proper moves.

8. Detailed Oni Mask Tattoo Over Leg

Detailed Oni Mask Tattoo Over Leg

Black ink design and black tattoos are effortless and forever beautiful. If you’re looking for a sensational tattoo you will enjoy it.

Inspired by simplicity and adrenaline-rushing prints, this image represents your catchy persona. Enjoy showing your tattoo to others and let it speak for itself due to its beauty.

9. Simple Oni Mask Tattoo Outlines

Simple Oni Mask Tattoo Outlines

This foot or leg tattoo is for anyone who prefers to tell stories whenever and wherever. If you love to look like a true tattoo fanatic stick to this Oni mask.

This design represents the chaos that is in you. It is a gorgeous tattoo that will let the world see you for who you are. We all have some downsides, wouldn’t you agree?

Fun fact: Most of these masks are created due to myths, ancient dances or Noh theater.

10. Half Oni Mask Tattoo Outline Idea

Half Oni Mask Tattoo Outline Idea

Lastly, how about this cool artsy forearm design? You will love exposing this tattoo to the world. If you believe that this print is one of a kind represent it and style asap!

Black lines mean that the world you live in is simple yet covered in mysterious paths. You will let everyone see the true you in a simple and smaller tattoo.

Omni Mask Tattoo: More FAQs

Omni Mask Tattoo More FAQs

1. Who Should Get An Omni Mask Tattoo?

Wondering if you’re a good candidate for an Oni mask tattoo? A lot of people are not too sure how to rock this design. However and luckily for you, this print is for everyone who wants a unique and breathtaking tattoo. It is suitable for men and women. However and for some reason, guys tend to get this tattoo more often than women. It might be due to its bright and loud colors, as well as a scary image, would you agree?

2. What Is The Best Placement For Your Omni Mask Tattoo?

The best placement for your Oni mask tattoo design is usually over your forearm or on your leg. A lot of people prefer larger spots and bigger body parts due to colors being used in the tattooing process. If you want to stand out you will enjoy getting a bigger tattoo and showing it over your calf or your bicep, for instance.

3. Are Oni Mask Tattoos Painful?

Unfortunately, this tattooing process is not convenient or pleasurable. It can get quite painful. This is due to the blend of different colors & patterns, as well as different techniques that are used. Make sure that you are thick-skinned (literally) before you commit to this tattoo.

4. How Pricey Are They?

They can get pretty pricey. You should prepare yourself mentally & financially for the process. Since they are so unique & colorful you can expect to pay $400+ for one medium-sized tattoo.

Which Mask Design Was Your Favorite?

Which Oni tattoo mask design was your favorite out of all of these? This idea is great for men and women, as long as you have the courage to rock similar tattoos. Let us know which one is your favorite tattoo out of these top 30 created and well-done tattoo jobs, we would love to know where you stand when it comes to these creative and colorful pieces.

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Categories DesignSours: https://www.savedtattoo.com/oni-mask-tattoo/

Top 53 Best Japanese Demon (Oni) Tattoo Ideas [2021 Inspiration Guide]

Far from a symbol of mere deviance, Japanese demon tattoos represent your unrestrained masculine power and strength. In esoteric Japanese culture, dragons and demons remain related, and both represent good fortune and generosity.

Far from simplistic fiends, these complex and majestic beasts epitomize body art in beautiful and intricate detail.

Whether you choose a fire-breathing demon or a ruling daemon from any of the key earthly elements, this tattoo imparts your ultimate control over any challenge that comes your way.

As a perennial reminder about the eternal struggle between good and evil, Japanese demon tattoos provide a solid foundation for understanding the struggle one has to overcome in the making of a man. Whether friend or foe, the demon tattoo reinforces how a strong man plays the game to win and can conquer it all.

Similar to the Japanese tradition of yin and yang, demons depict the balance of complex decisions that go beyond black and white. Just as angels and demons claim the same origin in Western traditions, you can show that you decision is too great for you to bear when you sport a debonair demon tattoo.

With enormous personalizing potential on any part of the body, demon tattoos can be as ably abstract or extensively intricate as you wish. What matters is your journey or quest, and regardless of any depth of hell, you can come out on top. Show the measure of the man you are made of with a Japanese demon tattoo.

1. Forearm Japanese Demon Tattoos

Clouds With Red Japanese Demon Hannya Mask Tattoo On Guys Forearm

Detailed Mens 3d Shaded Japanese Demon Forearm Sleeve Tattoo

Forearm Sleeve Tattoo Of Red Japanese Demon For Guys

Guy With Outer Forearm Japanese Demon And Snake Tattoo

 

2. Bicep Japanese Demon Tattoos

Cool Hannya Japanese Demon Mask Breathing Fire Tattoo On Guys Inner Arm Bicep

Masculine Inner Arm Bicep Male Japanese Tattoo Of Demon Mask

 

3. Arm Japanese Demon Tattoos

Colorful Modern Male Japanese Demon Mask With Flower Tattoo On Arm

Shaded Black And Grey Guys Japanese Upper Chest And Arm Tattoos

Shaded Japanese Demon Mask Black And Grey Mens Arm Tattoos

 

4. Sleeve Japanese Demon Tattoos

Incredible Blue Japanese Demon Mask Sleeve Tattoos For Men

Floral Demon Guys Japanese Sleeve Tattoos

Awesome Red Ink Oni Japanese Demon Sleeve Tattoos For Men

Half Sleeve Japanese Purple Demon Mask Floral Tattoo Design Inspiration

Awesome Guys Japanese Demon Half Sleeve Tattoo Ideas

Creative Leg Sleeve Male Japanese Demon Mask Hannya Tattoo Ideas

Dragon With Demon Oni Mens Japanese Chest And Half Sleeve Tattoos

Gentleman With 3d Cherry Blossom Flower And Demon Japanese Sleeve Tattoo

Guy With Japanese Demon Quarter Sleeve Tattoo

Heavily Shaded Japanese Demon Sleeve Tattoo On Gentleman

Man With Black Ink Outline Japanese Demon Mask Full Sleeve Tattoo

Shaded Leg Sleeve Guys Japanese Demon Themed Tattoo Ideas

Water With Red Demon Mask Guys Japanese Sleeve Tattoos

 

5. Chest Japanese Demon Tattoos

Cool Hannya Demon Mens Japanese Chest Tattoos

Hannya Demon Mens Snake Japanese Chest Tattoo

Mens Japanese Demons Upper Chest Tattoos

Shaded Chest And Arm Male Japanese Demon Tattoo Design Ideas

 

6. Back Japanese Demon Tattoos

Guys Shaded Japanese Black And Grey Giant Demon Mask Tattoo Design Ideas

Mens Yellow Demon Japanese Back Tattoo Ideas

Mens Japanese Demon Snake Full Back Tattoos

Giant Hannya Japanese Demon Mask Male Back Tattoo

Cool Japanese Demon With Samuari Helmet Mens Shaded Back Tattoos

Flying Dragon With Japanese Hannya Demon Mask Mens Back Tattoos

Guys Flaming Demon Japanese Back Tattoo Ideas

Manly Mens Japanese Demon Full Back Black And Grey Shaded Tattoo Design

Mens Negative Space Back Japanese Demon Maple Leaf Tattoo Designs

Red Japanese Mask With Green Snake Guys Traditional Back Tattoos

Teal Hannya Demon Mask Guys Japanese Back Tattoos

 

7. Stomach Japanese Demon Tattoos

Stomach Japanese Demon Tattoos For Men

 

8. Foot Japanese Demon Tattoos

Contrasting Mens Black Ink Japanese Demon Foot Tattoos

 

9. Hand Japanese Demon Tattoos

Male With Old School Japanese Demon Hand Tattoo

Unique Mens Japanese Hand Demon Tattoo Ideas

 

10. Traditional Japanese Demon Tattoos

Demon Mask With Snake Guys Traditional Japanese Back Tattoo Ideas

 

11. Knee Japanese Demon Tattoos

Manly Guys Japanese Demon Hannya Mask Knee Cap Tattoos

Knee Cap Mens Japanese Demon Hannya Tattoo Design

 

Sours: https://nextluxury.com/mens-style-and-fashion/japanese-demon-tattoo-designs-for-men/

Demon tattoo japanese

Oni Mask Tattoos

Oni mask

In monotheistic cultures, there are only so many figures we can turn to for examples of right and wrong.

There is a standard God-like figure with a legion of angels, and a mirror-image menacing figure with his teammates.

It’s rare to find much excitement outside of that when portraying legendary religious stories in art.

Polytheistic cultures, on the other hand, have a whole cast of interesting characters to choose from.

This is perhaps why the whole Western world has such a love affair with belief systems from faraway lands.

Japanese folklore is admired worldwide for its beautiful artwork, exciting imagery, and a variety of mystical figures to learn about.

In the tattoo world especially, these ancient belief systems provide an endless well of inspiration to draw from.

When worn respectfully and for the right reasons, the mythical creatures in Japanese folklore can make for some gorgeous pieces.

Oni Mask Origins

Speaking of respectfully wearing a tattoo, one of the more popular designs for Japanese tattoos is the Oni Mask tattoo.

If you are not from a Japanese background, you may understand the Oni best as “beasts”

It is important to respect and understand the Oni before you rush out and get a tattoo of one, for a couple of key reasons:

These characters are notoriously tricky and will think nothing of messing with someone they see as a gullible human.

Whether or not you believe in the things that go bump in the night, you may want to be on the safe side here.

Oni Masks have roots in the Hindu-Buddhist belief system.

While Eastern cultures may look different today than they did when the Oni was first written about, they are still widely practiced throughout the world.

Something that you see as a fun design may have deep meaning to someone else.

For someone to flippantly wear a sacred symbol without any regard for the people who practice that doctrine can be very hurtful.

But that doesn’t mean an Oni mask tattoo is off the table, it just means you need to do some careful research to decide if an Oni mask tattoo is right for you.

Who are the Oni?

Oni is part of a larger umbrella term known as the Yōkai.

Yōkai is a group of what westerners may call goblins and ghouls.

The word Yōkai is comprised of two parts: alluring chaos and apparition.

There are some members of the Yōkai that are mischievous at best, more like the pixies from the UK.

These characters may find it funny to mess with humans, but they aren’t going to cause any harm.

The Oni figures, on the other hand, don’t mind breaking a few eggs to make an omelet.

So much so that they pop up as villains in many Japanese folk tales- the same way stories from the UK tend to lean on witches as a source of bad.

Oni characters are often thought to be the cause of boutades and reversals.

What do the Oni Look Like?

The Oni figures have a very ogre-like appearance.

Though the origin of ogres is mysterious, it seems every culture has its version of these beastly giants.

The Oni are said to be large, lumbering characters with a stormy nature and slow movement patterns.

There are a few characteristics specific to Oni:

  • Horns on either side of their heads.
  • Red or blue skin, sometimes green or black.
  • Trusty Kanabo (large clubs, sometimes with spikes.)

Oni Masks

Typically when someone gets an Oni tattoo, they get an Oni mask.

These are traditionally carved out of wood and painted in striking colors.

Masks are still very present in Japanese traditions, and generally used in three contexts:

Noh is an ancient form of theatre where actors portray traditional folklore stories through movement.

There is very little dialogue in a Noh production, so actors must move their bodies in ways that make their masks seemingly come to life.

The Oni mask appears as a stock character in Noh theatre, meaning anyone familiar with the shows will recognize it when they see it.

This is similar to sitcoms, where we can pick out who will fall in love, who will have funny blunders, etc.

Oni masks may be worn during Japanese festivals.

The intent behind this is generally to protect yourself, or ward off any Oni who happen to be around!

Before the first day of Spring, there is a Japanese festival called Setsubun wherein children through soybeans out of their window.

They throw the soybeans, they yell “Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!” which roughly translates to “Oni out, blessings in.”

During this festival, parents may dress as Oni to scare the bad spirits away.

Small decorative Oni masks are sometimes sold as necklaces, talismans, or even cell phone charms for good luck and protection.

The Meaning of the Oni Mask Tattoos

Generally, someone who wears an Oni mask on their body has the same intent as someone who wears one on their face: they want to tell everyone not to mess with them!

Oni mask tattoos may be to ward off bad luck or protect you from unseen forces.

Also, an Oni mask tattoo may be a way of confronting your weaknesses or your “shadow side.”

Ask yourself why this tattoo is important to you, and what you hope to gain from wearing it on your body.

Oni Mask tattoos tend to be intricate in their designs and may take up a significant portion of your body.

This is going to be a commitment both financially and in how visible it will be on your body.

Ask yourself if you have personal ties to the Oni Mask, or if there is perhaps something more fitting in your own background.

Oni Mask Tattoo Ideas

In any case, Oni mask tattoos are pretty cool!

Trying to picture what your Oni mask tattoo will look like?

Check out our Oni mask tattoo gallery for some inspiration.

Oni Mask Tattoo
Oni Mask Tattoo
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Oni Mask Tattoo
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Oni - Mythical Creatures Bestiary

I wanted to go back to where it all started. In the distant eighties and to their homeland. He looked at his daughter Lenka running around in the bustle, collecting all the documents, and put the bills in his armored office safe, where there. Were still many documents and bundles of money.

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Men from their company, with envy and soreness, looked first at her, then at their wives. Fearing and respecting Roman, no one dared to dance slow dances with her. In the same room, at the next table, a company of young people from bank employees was walking. And one young lady invited Roman.



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