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The intimate relationship of Japanese tattooing with the dark worldof the yakuza has helped cover this form of artistic expression withan aura of mystery. But the culture of irezumi is deep and rich inmeanings, shapes and motifs that have gone from color woodblockprints to being applied to the skin to beautify and protect theirbearers. This book reveals the meaning and the secrets behind themost significant motifs from traditional Japanese tattooing-such asmythological and supernatural creatures, animals, Buddhist deities,flowers and historical characters-and turns this art form into a pathtoward personal knowledge and individual expression. Japanese Tattoosbegins with a brief review of the history of Japanese tattoo art andthen examines each subject (water, mythological animals, realanimals, mythological characters, historical characters, flowers,shunga and yokai) through images and descriptive texts, it alsoincludes a gal- lery of original designs by the author and aglossary.,Discover the rich meanings hidden in the enigmatic world ofirezumi, traditional Japanese tattoos.