The Japanese mafia also known as the Yakuza hold within their skin some of the most detailed, vibrantly colored tattoos known to this world! But because of the Yakuza tattooing tradition, prejudice towards people with tattoos has developed in Japan, Yakuza or not. Even though this prejudice is slowly subsiding due to western influence such as celebrities in the United States rocking tattoos, it can still be seen. Some public bath houses and stores do not allow tattooed persons inside.

Tattoos have also been banned in Japan more than once in it’s history, so the Yakuza always stop their tattoos at the ankle, wrist and neck as their ancestors did, so the tattoo can easily be hidden by their clothing, just in case they become banned again even though this is very unlikely.

The method the Yakuza use for their tattoos is not a modern one, they use a method called “horimono” it’s done manually by hand with a stick with needles at the end usually in a bundle. This method is very painful, time consuming, and expensive, since the Yakuza cover most of their body with the tattoo it can actually take years to finish using this method and can cost up to fifty thousand dollars!

Why do Yakuza get tattoos in the first place? They get it for more than reason, for one they get the tattoo to show their determination, strength and willpower. They also get it to show their loyalty to their Yakuza clan and it’s lifestyle, and sometimes get a black ring around their arm for every crime they have committed. You might think the Yakuza get tattoos for the intimidation factor, but they don’t they rarely show their tattoos in public unless absolutely necessary.

Here’s a small clip from a documentary about horimono and the Yakuza that you may find interesting it probably explains it a little better than I do.

Credit For This Video Goes To – echotoeternity and National Geographic if you would like to watch the rest of the documentary please either purchase it or find it on your National Geographic channel.

Popular designs for horimono can include, dragons, tigers, koi fish, plants, gods, geisha, samurai, and many more.

Read more about horimono/irezumi here –

Here’s a second video quite a bit longer but it has lots of examples of horimono tattoos.

Credit For This Video Goes To – HeisW140

Thanks for reading if you would like to know more about the Yakuza check out the wiki page for them at –

Disclaimer: I do not own or claim to own the videos within this post and have added credit links to the posters on youtube under each video.