If you would like to find out why tattooed people are not allowed in public baths in Japan, where did popular tattoo motifs come from and what do they mean, or just look for inspiration for a tattoo, reach for Japanese Tattoos.
The book begins with a concise (which does not mean that it is perfunctory!) introduction about the history of tattooing in Japan. You will read about who tattooed what and why, what are the beginnings of tattooing among yakuza members and what technique is used to create a traditional Japanese tattoo.
What is the most interesting in this album is its main part – descriptions of motifs, richly illustrated with examples and divided into eight groups: mythological creatures, animals, characters from legends, historical figures, flowers, shunga, yokai as well as amulets and talismans. You will find an explanation of the carp (koi) motif, a detailed analysis of how water and waves are depicted in tattoo art (!), but also chapters devoted to individual heroes, gods and animals with supernatural abilities. For those looking for inspiration: in addition to lots of reprinted scans of various works, the last 30 pages feaure patterns prepared by the author, ready to be transferred onto skin.
Definitely a book you want to show your tattoo artist.