65 Shogun Inspired Samurai Tattoos Pictures


If you would be one of the fans of James Clavell’s epic novel “Shogun”, you might recall that in XVII century the English pilot John Blackthorne just by chance visited Japan; managed to get in the eye of a devastating political storm; got married; became a trusted advisor of the Japanese supreme commander – a.k.a. Shogun – and neither looked nor ever got back home. By the way, John’s prototype was a real person named William Adams – an English navigator who somehow made it to Japan and became the first Western Samurai (again in XVII century).

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Blackthorne’s first encounter with samurai – the fearsome medieval Japanese warriors and landlords – was unintentional and hard to forget. Most of the following encounters were not any better or even worse. Samurai turned out to be extremely loyal, highly-trained, berserk and cruel warriors with taste for life, philosophy and science. John discovered that some other famous hobbies of theirs had been creative torturing and efficient interrogations.

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Samurai used to live according to “The Way of the Warrior” or Bushido – they “felt that the path of the warrior was one of honor, emphasizing duty to one’s master, and loyalty unto death”. They wore 2 swords – a large Katana and a helper one. These blades were signs of great authority and there were quite some rules what a samurai would need to do with them on different occasions (when visiting a friend’s place or an enemies’ stronghold, for example). It was also a subject of mutual understanding that unless under some very specific circumstances the owner could have used them with any living creature that he would not like (even at this very moment and not in general). Katana is extremely sharp so it cuts logs and heads and limbs equally well. In short, it was not easy to be a samurai. Perhaps it was only harder to be a villain of theirs…

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The Japanese tattoo art style was well-developed much earlier than the Western one, but samurai did not have any tattoos. Back then, our favorite permanent body art was only accessible to the Japanese criminals and outlaws. Nowadays the samurai topic has been vastly explored. Movies, books, comic books, martial arts dojos and low-cost airlines made it possible for “Gai-Jin” (Japanese, foreigner) to get to know about all of this first hand. It is no wonder why the Japanese samurai tattoos actually conquered the world.

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What could you expect from a samurai tattoo? First and foremost, a true masterpiece. You would be really amazed with the level of detail, vivid colors and dynamics. In addition, we have never stumbled upon a samurai tattoo which was not totally epic. The samurai theme encourages really large pieces – gorgeous fairy-tales inked. Such a tattoo would always describe its owner’s personality. If you had a samurai inked, you would most likely feel like a modern follower of Bushido, i.e. one of the very, very last samurai warriors left. Last but not least, each tattoo imposes its own unique and easy to distinguish storyline as well as strong and heroic characters.

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We picked up an extraordinary collection of stunning Shogun-inspired samurai tattoos which will give you a great idea for your next feat.

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As already mentioned, the whole heroic theme allows for some of the largest tattoo pieces imaginable. In this particular case the tattooing method is a traditional one – Irezumi.


In this case size definitely matters, but the emphasis would be on the dynamics of the colorful scene. A heroic samurai is just stabbing a huge and disgusting snake through its head. We could only hope that the reptile would die with honor.


A red-faced samurai is a person you would not really like to meet alone in the dark. It may be because of a severe sunburn or he could be just angry. Either way, try to stay away from frustrated and heavily armed samurai warriors.


Samurai warriors used to wear masks as part of their helmets – a.k.a. “kabuto”. The ultimate goal would be to frighten all of their enemies to death or at least make them think twice before fighting back. Considering this kabuto tattoo, you could bet on these guys knowing a thing or two about basic human psychology.


Okay, after a number of battle scenes we think it is time to explain that the faith of a samurai does not mean a constant fight with other samurai. In general, it does, but in times of peace the noble warriors lived as aristocrats – meditating and recollecting.


Independent of your intentions for future samurai tattoos, you would probably admit that the Samurai tattoos are really, really cool. A great mixture of story, characters, scenery, exclusive dynamics, incredibly deep details and vivid colors makes a samurai tattoo a real novel in ink. Apart from your personal determination, the major challenge would be to find a great tattoo artist to make your dream come true. Wish you luck!