Reviewed & updated: December 1, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA
Do you feel a strong affinity for traditional Japanese tattoos? Aim for a Japanese bodysuit tattoo idea and watch your skin be embellished with oriental motifs.
Traditional Japanese tattoos date back centuries when the art form was honoured and celebrated by both men and women of the society.
But did you know that the numerous oriental tokens you see around are, in reality, a part of a bigger picture? The practice of traditional Japanese tattooing also called Irezumi is a practice of creating wholesome tattoo art in the form of body suits.
In simple terms, bodysuit tattoos are the full canvas of a composite design spread throughout the entire body. A bodysuit tattoo is comprised of a number of elements that contribute to the overarching theme and are often distinguished based on their placements on the body. The back, sleeves, and legs are some of the crucial sites that often partake in a bodysuit tattoo. But what made people so keen on getting inked from head to toe?
In the Edo period, the body suits gained much importance with more and more people associating body art with symbolic protection. Japanese people belonging to the middle and working classes adopted a full body suits to adorn themselves and showcase their status and wealth. This practice of ancient times is still alive for modern people as they attempt to honour Japanese culture and its traditions through body art. Excited to see what a full-body tattoo might look like? Keep reading to find fascinating artefacts from the history of Japan.
Japanese Bodysuit Tattoos With A Split
One of the most popular body suits, the Munewari, is a vividly detailed design that runs from the shoulder to the legs covering the arms, chest, back, and legs. The unique identifier of this style of the body suit is the split that runs through the middle of the chest and all the way to the end. Here the artist adheres to the styles adopted by Japanese tattoo artists with conflicting mythical creatures on the two sides of the design.
This one captures the length that the design can extend up to. Here the artist draws up to the thighs and gains a semi-bodysuit if not a full-fledged one. Unlike the previous one, this Munewari suit is further accentuated in black ink with a foo dog and dragon tattoos. However, the continuity of the background in both these designs is a quintessential feature of tattooing a body suit on men.
Half Sleeve Japanese Style Bodysuit Tattoo
This is another body suit inspiration from the Japanese culture if you are not willing to sign up for a full-body suit already. Originally called a ‘Hikae’, these tattoos cover the chest plates and extend to the arms. A Hikae can be either deep, covering around the nipple, or shallow restricted above the concerned area.
This ‘deep’ Hikae rightly displays the contrasting game with black and brown shades and with two different dragons hinting at the duality. The half sleeve design, called ‘Gobu’, also enhances the look of the ripped physique with barely any effort. A Hikae is a great choice for men with firm pectoral muscles to show off their chest game.
Traditional Japanese Tattoo Bodysuit On The Front
Another special body suit inspired by Japanese pop culture, this design is called a ‘Donburi’. A Donburi typically stretches all over the chest and front body and further reaches the sleeves for a comprehensive look at the upper body. This one exhibits a raging design with a Hannya mask and other traditional elements like cherry blossom and foo dog. What makes the design more appealing is the use of colours and shading that make a striking visual.
Similarly, this Donburi showcases a vivid scene centring on creatures that battle against the backdrop of a thundering black sky. The full sleeve, usually called a ‘Nagasode’, helps to fit the image better, maintaining the continuity of the theme.
Bold Japanese Bodysuit Tattoo With Hannya Mask
If you are talking about Japanese tattoos, you will see that the Hannya mask is everywhere. Mostly because it tells the story of different emotions. Initially used as a theatrical prop, the mask was used to represent a number of emotions on stage. If looked at directly, it looks like a dangerous demon, but if tiled, the mask showcases a sorrowful face.
Thus, getting a Hannya mask tattoo on the front of your body suit is a great choice if you are someone who wants to portray the many facets of your persona. Here, the bold mask and the images of women hint at the theatrical practice that often involved women. This tattoo looks even more attractive owing to the black and red contrast that runs throughout the design.
Japanese Style Tattoo Body Suit Background
As we said, a body suit relies heavily upon its background. Traditionally, Japanese tattooing for men begins with setting up the backdrop, known as Mikiri, and gradually proceeding with the main elements. But what to ink the back with if you are leading with a heavily detailed front?
The most common backdrops are that of the wind or waves that defy the vacant space on your skin. The oriental curves and the inclusion of bright flowers bring out the theme of nature and help to tie the body suit without much hassle and keep your body art clutterless.
Unique Japanese Tattoo Designs On The Back
Speaking of designs on the back, it is important to know the utility of the largest canvas of your body. A Japanese body suit involving the back is known as a Senaka and typically starts below the neck and can extend down to the buttocks and thighs.
Here, the artist sways away from the common elements that are seen in Irezumi and banks on the scenic beauty of Japan to construct this style. The mountain peak, waves, and floral frame highlight the importance of nature in Japanese culture.
Traditional Japanese Tattoo Body Suits
There are many ways to construct a Senaka, but the best choice is definitely to go with a traditional theme in mind. For instance, this tattoo design shows a Japanese warrior in a full bodysuit of ancient times. The colours and detailing is remarkably etched to bring about the complete look of the warrior.
You can use this theme and add some opponents against the warrior and utilise the canvas to its fullest!
Half Japanese Bodysuit Tattoo Designs
The beauty of traditional Japanese body suit tattoos is that you do not need to sit down with the whole thing at once. The purpose of Irezumi is to tell a story of culture on the bodies. And it is meant to be a very long time until you are remotely close to getting a finished body suit. This is why you might see sleeve tattoos or shoulder tattoos that are crafted on a common theme.
Another way to gradually proceed with this style is brilliantly shown here. Often the themes capture the duality of life and the world at large, and the person here has embodied the half containing a Hannya mask and a foo dog. The left side is generally kept for the feminine counterpart and is suggestive of the same by the positioning of the dog. Even though it might take longer to have a whole body suit tattooed, this half style is a great way to honour Japanese tattoos.
Female Japanese Bodysuit Tattoo
Japanese history accounts for the many women who had adopted the practice of getting a body suit tattooed. However, traditional artists followed a different method while inking a woman. Mostly etched as a Senaka, the main piece was inked first and without the background to avoid overcrowding the entire back. This method generated more feminine designs that looked stunning on a woman.
However, it could be easily altered as per their preference. This tattoo design showcases a body suit on a woman with as much detailing as on a man. The background envelops the snake and the mask, without having to compromise with the femininity of the idea. You can try this body suit with an Oni mask or koi fishes for a unique take on this historical tattoo style.
Full Body Yakuza Japanese Bodysuit Tattoo
Though a full-body suit looks absolutely menacing, history tells a different tale of the infamous Japanese mafia called Yakuza. Members of this association had popularized the practice of wearing a full-body suit that ran from the neck to the ankles. A Yakuza tattoo, thus, will comprise ink on every part of the body except the genitals, armpits, neck, hands and feet.
Now known as a ‘Shoushinbori’, these full-body suit tattoos can house any and every kind of element of your liking. Here, the artist uses a Hannya mask and some chrysanthemums as the main piece but is usually left to the wearer to decide. Until you keep the theme in check, include as many allusions as you like!
Japanese bodysuits are as cool as they can get! Filled with a fair share of history and culture, these tattoos carry the pour the Japanese way of life in every design. However, everything comes with a cost and this one is no exception. The cost of a bodysuit is high and will increase if you are into intricacies. But it is worth every penny when done by tattoo artists with a great skill set. So, what are you waiting for? Get started with Irezumi with the suggestions from the list below:
- Bodysuit tattoo with Oni mask
- Japanese bodysuit with serpents and dragon
- Bodysuit tattoos in blackwork
- Bodysuit tattoos with Japanese samurai
- Neo-traditional bodysuit tattoos
Feature Image from Pinterest
What is a Japanese bodysuit tattoo?
A Japanese bodysuit tattoo is a form of body art that covers the entire body with extensive and intricate designs. This form of tattooing dates back to the Edo period in Japan, where it was used as a type of status symbol or for special occasions like weddings. With its bold lines and vibrant colors, Japanese bodysuit tattoos are some of the most recognizable and impressive tattoos out there. The designs are usually symmetrical, with a focus on nature-inspired artwork such as koi fish, cherry blossoms, dragons, and tigers. They can be done in black ink or full color. In addition to being unique and eye-catching, Japanese bodysuit tattoos also have symbolic meaning, with each image representing certain values or beliefs.
How much does a Japanese bodysuit tattoo cost?
The cost of a Japanese bodysuit tattoo depends on the size and complexity of the design. Generally, these types of tattoos can range anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000. Factors such as the artist’s skill level, how many sessions it takes to complete the tattoo, and whether or not there is any color work involved can also affect the final price. The cost of this type of tattoo is usually worth it since it will be one of a kind and take many hours to complete. Additionally, many artists offer payment plans or discounts if you plan on getting more than one bodysuit tattoo in the future.
Are Japanese bodysuit tattoos painful?
Like any other kind of tattoo, Japanese bodysuit tattoos can be painful. It’s important to remember that everyone has a different pain threshold and tolerance level. Some people report feeling only minor discomfort while others experience more intense sensations. Factors like location on the body, size of the design, and whether or not it involves color work all play a role in how much pain is involved. It’s also important to remember that your tattoo artist will do their best to ensure you are as comfortable as possible throughout the process.