Namakubi tattoos are one of the most popular and recognizable motifs in Japanese tattooing.
More of a neo Japanese style hand namakubi, done by Alessandro Lauricella.
Very traditional lady namakubi done by Hide Ichibay at Three Tides Tattoo in Tokyo.
Namakubi chest piece done by Ichi Hatano at Ichi Tattoo in Tokyo.
Namakubi and snake done by Sergey Vaskevich in Warsaw, Poland.
Heavily stylized namakubi done by Zach Black at Akara Arts Tattoo in Wisconsin.
Namakubi are severed heads, usually fresh, and sometimes impaled on stakes, arrows, or swords/knives.
Blue and bloody namakubi done by Alex Rusty at Lighthouse Tattoo in Sydney, Australia.
Neo Japanese piece done by Horiei Shinshu in Matsumoto, Japan.
Broken katana through the head done by Jeremy Deboer in Adelaide.
Heavy black piece by Shinya at Studio Muscat in Tokyo, Japan.
Namakubi can have a number of different meanings including respect for the enemy, overcoming a fear, or accepting ones own fate with honour.
Three arrows through a head in a more American traditional style piece. Done by Andrew Nectar at Fine Tattooing in Lethbridge, Alberta.
Bleeding head done by Horihana at Kirin Tattoo in Brasil.
Ghastly namakubi done by Lango Oliveira at Black Heart Tattoo in San Francisco.
Blackwork namakubi with arrows done by Stephen Doan.
In ancient Japanese history, taking the head of ones enemy is the ultimate sign of respect and honour. It is also a representation of life’s full circle coming to an end.
Sword right through the cheeks by Ash Davies at Stronghold Tattoo in Cardiff Bay.
Japanese namakubi part of a bodysuit, done by Horishige in Osaka, Japan.
Half sleeve with maple leaves done by Matteo Ceccarini at Extreme Needle Tattoo Studio in London, England.
Crazy eyed namakubi done by Tamar Karp at The Black Lodge in Bristol.
Namakubi are almost always done in a traditional Japanese style, but can also be done in neo Japanese, neo traditional, and American traditional styles.
Rotting neo traditional namakubi done by Dan Arietti at Black Sails Tattoo in Brighton.
Sliced open namakubi done by Horiyoshi the third in Yokohama, Japan.
Matching legs done by Rich Handford at Kapala Tattoo in Winnipeg Manitoba.
Another neo Japanese piece done by Zach Black at Akara Arts Tattoo in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Which is your favourite?