Tattoos 刺青

The tradition of sporting large, elaborate tattoos in Japan is said to have begun in the late 1700s of the Edo Period. Bandits were probably the first to wear them, and the tradition was cemented by the success of Kuniyoshi's best selling Suikoden (Water Margin) series that was published in the late 1820s. Tattoos were famously favored by firemen and palanquin bearers as well as others of the laboring class. Kuniyoshi, Yoshitoshi, Kunichika, Kunisada all created many designs featuring Japanese tattoos, irezumi.