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Variations and Meanings Japanese Dragon Tattoos

Variations and Meanings Japanese Dragon Tattoos

Japanese tattoo art is popular for its focus on detail, captivating mixtures of colors, distinctive graphical elements and wide range of available designs, but also for the deep symbolic meaning behind each individual representation. All these remarkable features characteristic to Japanese tattoo art are probably best reflected into Japanese dragon designs, nowadays highly popular among tattoo enthusiasts from all over the world.

Japanese dragon tattoos are deeply enrooted in the island’s ancient myths and local folklore, and are surrounded by a unique aura of mystery and mysticism. The perception of the dragon is completely different in Asian acceptation compared to that of Western culture. While the Japanese see the dragon as a benign, protective and luck-bringing mythological beast, westerners and many other cultures of the world believe it to be the incarnation of evil and bringer of sorrow and misfortune. These conflicting views are not surprising, however, as each culture has its unique mythological background and many other mythical beasts are being perceived differently depending on local tradition.

The symbolism behind the Japanese dragon tattoo attributes the giant serpent-like beast features like amazing wisdom, undeterred braveness, supernatural strength and capability to reestablish the vital balance between yin and yang energies. Sometimes dragon tattoos are used to express the idea of protection, good fortune, wellbeing and prosperity.

There are six well-known variations of beasts in Japanese dragon tattoo representations:

-Sui-Riu holds supremacy and bears the title of king among dragons. He is also capable of controlling rain;
-Han-Riu stands out as the largest dragon. Another distinctive feature are the stripe patterns on his body;
-Ri-Riu, which is known to possess extraordinary vision, comes from a rare lineage of dragons;
-Fuku-Riu is considered to be the bringer of good fortune;
-Ka-Riu, one of the smaller dragons, stands out through his vivid red color;
-Hai-Riyo or the dragon bird, defines itself from the rest through the history of its breed, thought to be the most advanced kind of all.

The colors used in dragon tattoo designs are also packed with meaning. Black dragons are associated with the idea of experience and great wisdom. Green dragons are generally smaller than other breeds, and symbolize nature and life. Gold dragons are highly respected and valued, as they encompass the largest number of qualities, such as wisdom, kindness and courage.

Yellow dragons are associated with the east and stand out as noble companions, glad to offer help whenever it is needed. Blue dragons come from the west and are characterized by being gentle, forgiving and benevolent.