The Meaning Behind Japanese Letter Tattoos


Japanese tattoos are renowned for conveying complex ideas and messages within a single image. They were also used as charms for protection and to show devotion, much like modern religious tattoos. In the past, they served as societal status symbols and spiritual icons.

Koi fish symbolize masculinity, motherhood, strength, determination, success, wealth, and desire. They are often found on full-arm tattoos called “sleeves.”

Koi Fish

Koi Fishes is a typical Japanese letter tattoos motif because they represent perseverance, strength, and tenacity. They represent good fortune as well. The koi fish is usually colored red to symbolize masculinity. Red is also associated with courage and decisiveness.

In Chinese culture, the koi carp is a cultural icon because it is said to swim upstream against the yellow river currents and eventually transform into a dragon. It represents a person’s journey to reach their goals despite many obstacles.

The koi fish is also associated with the yin-yang symbol, which signifies balance and duality. Having a koi in the shape of a yin-yang can help you think about your life and how to employ opposing forces to achieve harmony. You can add fire or water to intensify the meaning and energy of your koi tattoo.

Lotus and Peonies

lotus is a common motif for Japanese tattoos. This flower symbolizes purity and serenity. It represents power and renewal. A lotus and peony tattoo could express your desire to remain rooted in your principles even during hard times.

Peonies are another popular tattoo motif for Japanese designs. They are a symbol of wealth and good fortune. They may be depicted with a row of broad petals carrying pollen and visible carpels.

Other motifs often found in Japanese tattoos include the koi fish and dragons. Oni are marauding ogres in Japanese folklore, grouped with yokai. However, Oni is a protector and can protect your life from evil spirits. It is especially true that a monk dies and becomes an oni to defend his temple.

Oni Masks

Throughout history, Oni has been depicted as devils or monsters with gruesome features such as messy hair, horns, and knife-like claws. They typically wear loincloths made of tiger skin and carry an iron club, or “Kanab?” which can be used to inflict great harm.

In more recent times, however, Oni has mellowed down in their depiction as evil creatures and has instead been portrayed as protective beings. For example, some buildings are covered with Oni masks to ward off bad luck.

This beautiful half-sleeve tattoo features an Oni mask with a fiery wrathful gaze and is shaded in a vibrant red. The snake print accentuates the dramatic look and adds a touch of sexiness to this design. Blue symbolizes good luck and fortune, so you’ll be lucky to have this one on your body. It’ll also symbolize your power and strength. If you love show-stopping patterns and designs, this piece is definitely for you!


Dragons are a representation of strength, power, and prosperity. They appear in mythologies and folktales across Asia. Dragons were known for their brute physical prowess, mental acuity, and nobility of spirit. They can manipulate the forces of nature for good or evil.

In the West, dragons are portrayed as destructive, but in Japan and the East, they are seen as generous and benevolent. They are considered guardians and are a powerful element in Japanese irezumi.

One of the most famous dragon tattoos is a rkurokubi. It is a yokai monster often depicted with its neck stretching like a snake. It is thought this is a way for the creature to warn people of an earthquake. It is also believed that the rkurokubi can spit fire. It is essential to consider those getting a rkurokubi, as earthquakes frequently hit Japan.