16 Samurai Tattoo Ideas And Designs

16 Samurai Tattoo Ideas And Designs

Prepare your kimono and katana. In this article you will learn more about one of the most symbolic and powerful motifs in Japanese culture: the samurai warrior. Sink into the Asian culture and enjoy the images of our samurai warrior tattoos.

Japanese Samurai Tattoo

Japanese Samurai History

First of all, let’s go to the 10th century in Japan. Samurais, or bushi, were elite warriors in ancient Japan whose goal was to protect the high-ranking nobles. They fought against injustice and had some important privileges. While the other warriors were allowed to carry only one weapon, the samurais were allowed to have two special swords – one long (katana) and one short (wakizashi). Samurai power grew so much that they were given their own seat in the government at that time. Throughout their lives, samurais followed an unwritten code of honor called Bushido (“The Way of the Warrior”). The seven virtues or principles of the Bushido code were: Justice, Courage, Kindness, Courtesy, Honesty, Honor and Loyalty. Nowadays, there are still certain martial arts and sports that are based on these rules. For the samurais, it was also very important to strengthen their body and mind so that they could fulfill their duties and conquer their fear of death.

samurai tattoo
samurai tattoo by inscribe tattoo

Traditional Japanese Samurai Tattoo

Samurais play an important role in Japanese culture, so it is not surprising that they are among the most popular Japanese tattoo motifs. In Japanese tattoos they are often depicted fighting a huge animal such as fish, octopus, fantastic animals, etc., which symbolizes their fearlessness. They usually wear heavy equipment, special weapons and an impressive helmet, which aims to show their strength as well as courage and scare their enemy. Samurai tattoos are usually large, colorful and very detailed, which makes them real eye-catchers.

Since samurais are also associated with death, you can often see them tattooed in combination with skulls. In Japan, it is mainly men who get a Samurai tattoo. However, they are also popular with some women. As tattoo motifs they usually choose female samurai. Samurai tattoo symbolizes love for Japanese culture, as well as respect for traditions, family and Bushido code. Having such a tattoo is a form of patriotism in Japan.

Besides the traditional images with samurais, katanas and samurai masks, the larger tattoos often include symbols from Japanese culture, such as dragons, which stand for strength, freedom and values, or koi fish, which stand for resilience, or famous geishas, symbolic of the feminine and decent side.

Many tattoos often depict the numerous traditional masks of the samurai. Originally, these masks served many different purposes. On the one hand, they protected the identity of the warrior in battle, on the other hand, the masks were meant to intimidate the opponent.
The tattoos with samurai motifs fascinate with wonderful bright colors and carry a deep symbolic meaning. They enjoy great popularity in Japan and are becoming more and more popular in other countries as well.

traditional samurai tattoo
samurai tattoo by kagura
traditional samurai tattoo
traditional samurai tattoo by spacemonkeytattoo

Samurai Tattoo Meaning

Like the other Japanese tattoos, the samurai tattoos are deeply symbolic. They represent the samurai’s philosophy of life, to protect the high ranking nobles. Thanks to this mission, samurais have instilled respect in every member of society. Such a tattoo means that its wearer has integrated the seven virtues of the Bushido code into his or her life. It symbolizes strength, courage, manliness, discipline, duty, protection, honor and fearlessness.

When you get a Samurai tattoo, it will always remind you to make the most of your life and enjoy every moment as if it were the last. The special symbolism of samurai tattoos as well as their attractive look make them the perfect tattoo motif for those who want to have a cool tattoo that also carries a deep symbolic meaning.

The Yakuza, Japanese mafia, associates the tattoos of Samurai with especially courage, honor, loyalty, hope and right action. The variety of samurai motifs is huge and the synergies and facets of samurai symbolism offer a wide spectrum to create your own personal warrior tattoo with other associated Japanese motifs.

samurai armor tattoo
samurai armor tattoo by DEFY tattoo
samurai tattoo
samurai tattoo by catclaw-tattoo-z

Samurai Tattoo Technique

The Samurai tattoo trend comes from Japan, of course, where the tattoos are stitched with a special technique called Irezumi. This traditional Japanese tattoo technique differs significantly from the usual tattoo methods. While the modern tattoos are stitched with the help of electric tattoo machines, the traditional Japanese samurai tattoos are made with a tool made of bamboo, to which from two to ten metal needles are tied. This method is more painful, takes a lot of time and is not recommended for people with a low pain threshold. Despite the difficult and painful process of tattooing, many men and women get a samurai tattoo. These tattoos look really stunning, especially if they are big. Suitable places for such a tattoo include the chest, back, thigh or the whole leg.

samurai tattoo
samurai tattoo by defytattoo

Samurai Tattoo Design

Samurai tattoos are rooted in Japanese culture and traditions, so they are naturally combined with typical Japanese elements. Apart from the already mentioned animals (fish, octopuses, dragons, etc.), they are often depicted with cherry blossoms, red sun, tigers and others. Another very popular tattoo motif is the yin-yang symbol, which stands for the harmony between opposites. Also in combinations with the Japanese Mount Fuji, a snake, samurai mask, waves and clouds these tattoos are often seen. Some samurai tattoos tell a whole story depicted thanks to many details, others explain the samurai’s philosophy of life.

A samurai tattoo is usually a real work of art. If you are inspired to get a samurai tattoo, do not choose it thoughtlessly. First, find out about the symbolism of each element you like and choose a tattoo artist with excellent skills in case the tattoo is very detailed. This way you will undoubtedly get a tattoo that not only looks stunning, but also has a personal meaning for you and is a true tattoo masterpiece.

Many of these tattoos represent battle scenes, conveying strength, honor and victory over opponents and the free spirit. The back is the perfect body part for such larger fight scene tattoos. Smaller motifs, in turn, can be tattooed on almost any part of the body.

samurai tattoo
samurai tattoo by horihaku
samurai tattoo
samurai tattoo by Genbu
Miyamoto Musashi sword tattoo
Miyamoto Musashi sword tattoo by Yamashita
samurai tattoo design
samurai tattoo by fanatictattoo

Samurai Swords Tattoo

For a truly unique tattoo design, ink lovers who appreciate weapons and honor should explore katana tattoos.
The possibilities for incorporating a katana sword into a tattoo design are absolutely endless. They can easily be incorporated into a large Japanese back piece or even a full body suit for the extremely dedicated ink addict, but they can also serve very well as an interesting smaller piece.

Considered one of the more civilized and elegant weapons of war, the sword has been used around the world for centuries. Especially in Japan, where the sword is considered the “soul of the samurai,” the combined power of forged steel and sheer human will has awed people for centuries.

Katanas are legendary swords that remind us of Japanese warriors. For centuries, mankind was fascinated by this image, the combination of this steel and its elegant representation. The swords of the samurai were a very important symbol for them, because they represented the power and strength of the fighters.

For those who are motivated to get a katana tattoo, it is because they are very attracted to weapons, honor and courage. When you carry with you a design of this sword, you virtually integrate the courage of a warrior. The designs of tattoos are uncountable, you can put both small or large images on your body. The tattoo enthusiasts can highlight the slim, sleek katana sword with other elements such as flowers, fire, water, animals, warriors, snakes, dragons, kimonos or geishas to create a more complete expression and fill more open skin.

A sword depicted with a snake symbolizes fertility, while a sword with a dragon symbolizes protection and good luck. To soften the harshness of the sword, a geisha can offer a delicate touch of beauty.
The designs you can admire can vary from simple tattoos to true works of art in which a fight is shown. The tattoo symbolizes victory in the face of opposition.

You can be especially attracted to these because of their spectacular shapes, dimensions and hues. Katana tattoos allow wearers to carry this truly beautiful symbol of protection, power and strength with them for the rest of their lives, wherever they go.

sword samurai tattoo
swords samurai tattoo
samurai tattoo with swords by stroker tattoo

Samurai Helmet Tattoo

In evoking a dominant bold attitude that consists of old-school dominance, nothing manages to compete with the brutal display of a samurai helmet tattoo. These ancient Japanese helmets and crests are symbols of self-contained power that can unleash instantaneously in a controlled raid against the enemy.

Samurai helmet tattoos are tributes to the most impressive brave culture on the planet. Each samurai helmet tattoo is based on the resemblance of a warrior who conquered the lands of Japan. Each fearsome icon contains massive layers of personality, and these headpieces were specifically designed to intimidate others on the battlefield. That’s why they were so strictly imposing.

Nothing is more masculine than samurai helmet ink, and these captivating creations are accented by other relics from the era like blades and horses. You can also have their allure maximized by yakuza style designs.

helmet samurai tattoo
helmet samurai tattoo by kado-fanatic
helmet samurai tattoo
helmet samurai tattoo by uprisetattoo

Seven Samurai Tattoo

Seven is considered to be a generally lucky or sacred number. There are many concepts that include the number seven: seven wonders of the world, seven deadly sins, seven virtues, the seven seas, seven days of the week, seven colors of the spectrum, the seven dwarfs and so on. “Seven Samurai” (Shichi-nin no Samurai) is a classic Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa, which was revised into “The Magnificent Seven”. Buddhists believe in seven reincarnations. The Japanese celebrate the seventh day after a baby is born and mourn the seventh day and week after death.

Proverb including number seven

“Nana-korobi Ya-oki” (七 転 び 八 起 き) literally means “seven falls, eight rises”. Life has its ups and downs; Therefore, it is an encouragement to keep going no matter how difficult.

seven samurai tattoo
seven samurai tattoo by uminoie777