Japanese Flower Tattoo
Japanese flower tattoos have been a part of Japanese culture for over 5,000 years. In fact, scholars believe that the Japanese have been tattooing people since 10,000 BCE. In those days, artists would do tattoos manually by repeatedly dipping a sharp hard object into ink and then driving it into the skin. Only black ink was available and the designs were very simple.
Over the years, of course, the tattooing process was refined and people were able to do more elaborate designs in a wider range of colors. Since the Japanese love nature, it was inevitable that artists would be inspirited by the flora surrounding them and Japanese flower tattoos quickly became popular. Still, tattoos were mainly associated with geishas, outlaws, and as marks of punishment. Although tattoos have shaken off many of the stigmas that were attached to them, many conservative Japanese people consider them to be unseemly.
Popular Designs and Meanings
In the Victoria era, flowers were given symbolic meanings and a whole fad developed where people used a “Flower Language” to convey their feelings for each other. Sentiments, like love, were associated with certain flower types and colors. For example, many male suitors were friend zoned with yellow roses, which are the symbol of friendship. The Language of Flowers, as it was called, spread to other parts of the world and persists to this day.
This Flower Language caught on in Japan and, as such, Japanese flowers have symbolic meanings attached to them. To help you pick something that expresses your individuality, here are some of the most popular Japanese flower tattoos and their associated meanings.
Lotus Flower Tattoos
The lotus flower is connected to Buddhism. Buddha is frequently shown in artwork sitting in the middle of a blooming lotus flower. In Buddhism, the way the lotus flower grows symbolizes the soul’s progress. The mud it grows in symbolizes materialism while the sunshine that falls on its delicate petals symbolizes enlightenment. In general, lotuses represent purity and divine birth. However, different color lotuses have different meanings:
- White: Mental purity and spiritual perfection
- Red: Love, compassion, and passion
- Blue: Intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge
- Pink: This color is reserved for deities of the highest order
- Purple: Mysticism and the Noble Eightfold path
Cherry Blossom Tattoos
Cherry blossoms can be found throughout Japanese lore. The flower itself is very delicate and blooms at the end of winter as a harbinger of spring. The lifecycle of cherry blossoms is very short and the flower is frequently held up as a representation of the essence of life; that it is brief, transitory, and should be enjoyed while in bloom.
Historically, cherry blossoms have a deep connection to the Samurai warrior. Death could come to these fighters at any moment and, thus, they never made plans for the future. The cherry blossom served as a constant reminder of how fleeting life was and that the Samurai should always live in the moment. In the current day, cherry blossoms have become a symbol of Japanese nationalism.
You can get a cherry blossom tattoo by itself. However, these flowers are commonly paired with other images like dragons, koi fish, and tigers to tell a visual story. The color of these flowers varies between pale pink to dark pink.
Peony Flower Tattoos
The peony is not native to Japan. Rather it was introduced to the country in the eighth century by the Chinese. Since then, it has become one of the most favored flowers in gardens the world over. There are up to 40 varieties of peonies that are categorized into five groups by petal type: single, double, semi-double, anemone, and Japanese. The Japanese peony is a hybrid of the single and double petal type with five guard petals in the center. Overall, the flower looks like a feather and comes in a large variety of colors.
In Japanese culture, the peony is considered the King of Flowers and symbolizes bravery, honor, daring, good fortune, and wealth. As such, it is not unusual to see men walking around with peony tattoos as badges of male chutzpah, prosperity, and strength. However, women also have artwork containing peonies tattooed on their bodies.
There are many other Japanese flowers that you can incorporate into your body art. Before making an appointment to get inked, conduct research on the Internet to find the flower images that expresses your personality and ideology.