A bodysuit is the ultimate way for a tattoo collector to show their dedication to the craft. A bodysuit is most often done as one cohesive piece, usually in one style. But some people do start getting tattooed without the intention of having a bodysuit, then end up growing into it.
Japanese is the most well known style for creating bodysuits. Done by one artist, tied together with background work such waves, clouds, and other nature themes.
More recently black work is becoming more popular for full bodysuits. Either heavy black work or smaller pieces.
Similarly people get bodysuits of American traditional pieces. Hundreds of small pieces filling up a body to make it look more or less like one huge suit.
Black and grey, neo traditional, and realism styles are also being used for bodysuits now, making for eye popping artwork.
The word bodysuit may make you think of really a full body covered in tattoos, but it also refers to torso pieces that lead onto the arms, and/or legs.
NSFW. Shibari is the ancient Japanese artistic form of rope bondage. In Japanese, Shibari simply means “to tie.”
Shibari dates back to the 1400’s when police and samurai would use Hojo-jutsu, the martial art of restraining captives. This was used to both imprison captives as well as torture.
By the late 1800’s and early 1900’s this evolved into a new kind of erotic rope tying called Kinbaku. Today, this erotic art form is generally just called Shibari.
The knots used in Shibari accentuate characteristics in the models body, and show sensuality, vulnerability, as well as strength. The ropes create geometric patterns on the models body that contrast the bodies natural curves.
Shibari tattoos are erotic and sensual, showing off the human form in all its beauty. They are often done in black work, black and grey, realism, and neo traditional styles.
To see some live Shibari art please check out shibari.jp to see my favourite Shibari artist, Hajime Kinoko.
Getting tattooed in another country can be a daunting experience. Where do you even start? This post is designed to walk you through the steps of getting a tattoo while visiting Japan and make it a little less stressful.
I was tattooed in Japan on June 2nd, 2018, by Hide Ichibay at Three Tides Tattoo in Tokyo.
If you’re getting a tattoo in Japan, i’m going to assume you’re wanting some sort of Japanese tattoo, whether it’s traditional or just something to remember your trip by. Traditional Japanese tattoos are their own style, but Japanese themed pieces can be done in a few different styles. Such as traditional Japanese, neo Japanese, realistic Japanese, black and grey, and black work.
Once you know what style you want you can start looking for artists. The best way to do this I find, is to look in a specific city. So for myself I started with a simple google search of traditional Japanese artists in Tokyo. I sifted through the first three pages on google, looking at some websites and portfolios and chose my top three shops and a few different artists. Once I had those I looked more at their sites and checked out more portfolios, pricing, and most importantly their hygiene. Lots of artists will also have Instagram accounts, such as my artist, making it easy to see their work.
Tattoo shops in Japan aren’t regulated like shops are in Western countries since in Japan only someone with a medical degree can legally tattoo. Therefore the shops you’re seeing aren’t regulated by the government, so you want to make sure they aren’t re-using any tattooing instruments that touch blood, and that the shop is clean. Most sites will have a section on this, and if the site is in Japanese and you can’t read it, such as myself; you can always use google translate to get the gist of it. If you’re still questioning it you can also send an email, or just pick another shop.
Once you have a shop and artist picked out you can send an email. Some shops, such as Three Tides, will have a receptionist that you will deal with, rather than the actual artist. You’ll want to email at least a few months in advance (some artists will require more time than that, even up to a year in advance), and request an artist, and give a few different days that would work for you. You should also include some reference pictures for what you would like, include any needed information like if the tattoo will be in colour or not, and how big you would like it and where it’s going on your body. Once that is set up you may also have to include a picture of where on your body it’s going, especially if you have other tattoos in that area that the artist has to work around.
You may also be required to send a deposit to hold your spot. This is normal and most shops will use PayPal, though if you don’t have PayPal and don’t want to get it you may be able to work something else out such as a direct deposit.
The next step is getting your tattoo finally! If you have tattoos then you know what to do and you’re all set. The only difference may be that you’re used to having a consultation first, and for this tattoo you’ll spend the first thirty minutes to an hour basically doing that. If it’s your first tattoo then you’ll want to make sure you eat something before your appointment, and maybe have a juice box with you incase your blood sugar gets low.
This was my first time getting tattooed in a country that is so hot and humid, but I had gotten some tips from other people who had been tattooed in Japan as well. Most people have their favourite cream or gel that they like to use for healing (mine is vitamin E gel or a cucumber cream) and you can still use that, but for dealing with the heat I recommend using a chilled coconut oil. You can keep it in the fridge (it will harden quite a bit) and use a tiny amount when it’s dry. The coolness feels fantastic in the heat of Japan. Thanks to my new friend off of Reddit for that tip!
Finally you can enjoy your new tattoo! Have fun being tattooed in Japan and on your trip.
If you have any questions about getting tattooed in Japan feel free to leave a comment.
Don Ritson is the owner of Rebel Waltz in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Don works in mainly in American traditional style, as well as Japanese and some black work. When doing American traditional style, his pieces are heavy on black and red.
Don has done two of my own tattoos, both of my forearms which are a gramophone and a design based off of the rose of no mans land. Don is a very friendly guy who makes getting tattooed a genuinely pleasant experience.
You’ll find Don taking walk ins on Saturdays, though starting earlier this month (April 2018) the shop will rotate the main artist doing walk ins. You can find Don’s contact info on the Rebel Waltz website.
Don is a must see artist if you are in Winnipeg. He also does guest spots in Canada so watch his Instagram for that as well.
Brando Chiesa is a “pastel gore” artist based out of Florence, Italy.
Brando’s work features a whole lot of pink, yet still manages to be terrifying.
He mixes graphic imagery, mainly from anime shows and movies, with pastel colours. Along with anime (some hentai) and manga, Brando also takes inspiration from Japanese mythology and folklore.
His designs are mainly either sexy or terrifying. Featuring lots of anime women in tight clothing, and creatures and monsters you wouldn’t want to meet in real life.
Brando does do some darker colour work but the vast majority of it is pastel. His darker work has more of a neo traditional look to it, while the pastel pieces are a bit of a mix of neo traditional and hyperrealism.
Brando is a must see artist for your anime/manga needs!