Japanese tattoo art has several names – irezumi or horimono in the Japanese language. Irezumi is the word for the traditional visible tattoo that covers large parts of the body like the back. Japanese tattoo art has a very long history.
Archaeologists believe that the early settlers of Japan, the Ainu people, used facial tattoos. Chinese documents report about the Wa people – the Chinese name for their Japanese neighbors – and their habits of diving into water for fish and shells and decorating the whole body with tattoos. These reports are about 1700 years old.
For the higher developed Chinese culture, tattooing was a barbaric act. When Buddhism was brought from China to Japan and with it a strong influence of the Chinese culture, tattooing got negative connotations. Criminals were marked with tattoos to punish and identify them in society.
Early History of Japanese Tattoo Art
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