Tattoos

Exploring The Tattoos Of The Yakuza Series – Cultured Vultures

Summary

The Yakuza series from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and Sega is an unabashed celebration of Japanese culture. The neon-lit district of Kamurocho is digital tourism at its finest, highlighting the nightlife, food, drink and activities that are all unique to Japan. The Yakuza series has also garnered a reputation for its gripping storytelling and memorable characters. It’s through these characters and their iconic back-piece tattoos – often on display when a jacket and shirt are ripped off in one …….

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The Yakuza series from Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio and Sega is an unabashed celebration of Japanese culture. The neon-lit district of Kamurocho is digital tourism at its finest, highlighting the nightlife, food, drink and activities that are all unique to Japan. The Yakuza series has also garnered a reputation for its gripping storytelling and memorable characters. It’s through these characters and their iconic back-piece tattoos – often on display when a jacket and shirt are ripped off in one fluid motion – that Yakuza is able to explore Japan’s rich mythology and folklore.

In Japan, tattoos are not necessarily a link to the yakuza in and of itself. Instead the tattoos are designed to reflect key moments in the individual’s life and their personality traits. Although not all yakuza can get a tattoo, as shown in a report from the BBC, a tattoo master must decide whether the person is worthy. The cost is an equivalent of £10,000 and can take up to a year to complete in weekly sessions. This is because tattoo artists use a technique known as Tebori or ‘hand carving’, which involves using bamboo sticks with a needle as opposed to a tattoo machine.

One such artist is Horitomo, who has been with the Yakuza series from the very beginning, and his work has since become an integral piece of the franchise’s identity. Horitomo collaborates closely with Sega and RGG Studio to establish the design of all tattoos in the series. The final design of each tattoo is centred around the character’s personality and their role in that narrative.

Below is some of Horitomo’s best work featured throughout the Yakuza franchise, boasting incredible designs and detail while paying homage to Japan’s mythological figures.

 

The Dragon

Yakuza Dragon Tattoo

Series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu earned his nickname “The Dragon of Dojima” partly through his striking dragon tattoo. Dragons are seen as rulers of the sky in Japanese culture, boasting extraordinary, unexplainable power and are generally viewed as protectors. Dragon tattoos can signify bravery, wisdom, strength and can vary in colour scheme. Black dragons represent knowledge and gold represents value, while a blue dragon can be attributed to timid personalities.

Kiryu’s dragon is a Nobori-Ryu (ascending dragon) and boasts a silver colour scheme. Silver dragons are used to represent purity of heart while the ascending dragon motifs are found near the top of the chain in Yakuza culture. Kiryu’s dragon tattoo is fairly traditional as it’s done in nukibori style, meaning that there’s no background design. The appeal of nukibori is that it can serve as a contrast for the design of the tattoo, allowing the initial design to appear more striking.

Kiryu’s dragon can also be seen clutching the Bonji symbol for the year of the monkey in the zodiac calendar. Interestingly, the Bonji references Dainichi Nyorai, a prominent deity in Buddhism. However, the …….

Source: https://culturedvultures.com/yakuza-games-tattoos/