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A Japanese Samurai tattoo is one of the most popular styles of tattoos, and the design itself has a long history. The ink used to create a Samurai tattoo has been traced back to China, where it was used as a form of body art as early as the 4th century BCE.
The Samurai warrior class conquered Japan in the 12th century CE, ushering in their own style of art and culture that influenced all aspects of life—including tattoos. The Samurai were known for their strict adherence to honor and loyalty; they were expected to live by strict moral codes and to be prepared to die at any moment in service of their lord or family.
Often paired with other Japanese tattoos, such as cloud or octopus tattoos, the samurai is an iconic symbol in Japanese culture. Check out some of our favorites for tattoo inspiration.
What does a Japanese Samurai Tattoo symbolize?
The samurai tattoo is a symbol of strength and honor. It represents the wearer’s loyalty to their lord, family, and country, as well as their willingness to die for their beliefs. The samurai’s sword is also included in the design to represent the warrior’s skill with a blade.
The samurai tattoo is also often used to commemorate a death or achievement in battle.
Best Samurai Tattoos
Live by a Code of Honor
The Samurai were the elite warriors of Japan, and they were admired for their dedication to the art of war. They lived by a strict code of honor and loyalty, which included living by the sword, dying by the sword (or at least choosing suicide over surrender), and never showing fear in battle. A Samurai tattoo represents these qualities: strength, bravery, and honor.
What is a Japanese Samurai called?
Samurai is the term for a Japanese warrior who followed the Bushido, or “way of the warrior.” It was part of their culture, and it meant that they were expected to be loyal to their master and die for them if necessary.
The word samurai comes from two Chinese characters: ‘’sai’’ which means “serving” and “bu” which means “warrior.”