Japanese dragons make for very beautiful and colorful designs and are symbolic with their origin in the myths and the folklore attached to them. It is the mysticism attached to them which is very appealing. In a number of cultures, dragons have represented good as well as evil. However, in Japan, the dragon stands for good luck and is also seen as a source of wealth.
There are many meanings attached to these designs. One of the meanings is freedom and being fearless. Both these qualities are very attractive for most people. It also stands for a guardian, just like a guardian angel, who provides protection to people who are associated with it. Strength and power are the other meanings which are represented by these designs. In Japan, dragons are also said to symbolize supernatural powers as well as amazing wisdom. There are six main types and each one of them stands for something special.
- There is a King Dragon, who is said to control the rain. Hence, he is the most powerful.
- The Han-Riu is one of the biggest and is up to forty feet in length. This dragon has stripes on its body.
- Ri-Riu is said to have amazing eyesight, although there are not many attributes known about it.
- If you like the color red and want to get yourself a brilliant red colored tattoo which is also petite, then you can opt for the Ka-Riu.
- If you are looking for good luck, then the Fuku-Riu is the right choice for you.
- For people who are fond of birds and want to get inked, then they can opt for the Hai-Riyo. It is an advanced dragon, which has evolved from Chinese mythology.
There are a number of traditional Japanese dragon tattoos. Some of them are depicted as wingless, heavily scaled, snake-like creatures with small, clawed legs. They can also be depicted as having either horned or antlered camel heads. It is often associated with the sea, clouds, or the heavens. You can have clouds, fire, or rain along with the dragon, as the breath of the dragon changes into clouds from which come either rain or fire. The tattoo can appear with sea wave or clouds or pearls.
You will have to differentiate between Japanese and Chinese designs. The Japanese dragons are often more slender and fly less as compared to their Chinese counterparts. The other difference between the Chinese and the Japanese versions is that the Japanese oness have only three claws, while Chinese ones have five claws.
These can be made as a full-back or half-sleeve design. They are also made to cover the shoulders and/or the chest. Some people also choose to wrap the entire torso and flatter the contours of the body. A tribal dragon wrapped around the upper arm is also a very popular design. In this, you can have the dragon's head extend out to the chest, just above the heart. Since the design is long in shape, it can also be made on the arms or legs. They can either be made black and white like tribal ones or also can be colorful. These days colorful tattoos are in rage.
It is recommended that you talk to your artist before you decide upon any of these motifs. If you know how to draw well, you can also ensure the design is a unique one. A word of caution though - tattoos are permanent marks on the body and much thought should go into choosing the design and the anatomical location before actually getting one.