150 Classic Geisha Tattoo Designs And Meanings

Tattoo art traces its roots back into many different cultures around the world, with the Japanese culture being one of these. One of the most amazing tattoos in this culture is the Geisha tattoo, which depicts the geisha, the beautiful woman who was regarded as the ultimate entertainer and performing artist in the Japanese culture. Many people have a negative outlook towards Geishas, relating them with prostitution and calling them the women of the night. But she is more of an artist, who is trained in the art of entertaining people with music, dance and poetry, all of which are regarded as an integral part of the Japanese culture. Geishas were also known to be expert in flower arrangement and the art of calligraphy. There was also something seductive about these beautiful and well dressed women, who aimed to entertain warriors and noblemen with their charm and alluring conversation. Perhaps, the misconception of relation of Geisha with prostitution comes from the stories of Japanese prostitutes getting dresses as geisha to attract the attention of the American soldiers during the World War II. Geisha tattoos make a unique and appealing part of the Japanese tattoo art and are inked on both men as well as women.

Significance of Geisha in Japanese Culture

Geisha occupied a place of significance in the Japanese culture because these elegant women worked to entertain and please men, with their good looks as well as art of entertainment, but at the same time they were not reputable women and men did not consider then fit to get married to. Symbolically speaking, geisha have special meaning in the Japanese culture. They are related to fertility as red is the color of fertility and most of the time, the geisha is featured wearing red garments and inner wear. Additionally, they depict power because they entertain powerful people, and exercise control over them. Perfection and leadership are the qualities developed in the geisha by training her to allure people with her exceptional talent in the arts of music, dance and even, conversation. She also symbolized beauty, femininity, grace and mystery, which makes her all the more fascination. Also, the geisha represents the traditional values of Japanese culture. Over a period of time, the popularity of the geisha has transcended boundaries and has reached the Western countries too as she has been featured in a number of movies, books and animation series too.

Appearance of the Geisha

In the Japanese tradition, the geisha has been depicted as a sensuous woman with great sex appeal, which gave her ability to allure noblemen. She was featured wearing a white mask and had jet black hair and usually wore red colored clothes, as a symbol of passion and sensuality. A geisha was not only about physical attraction and giving pleasure to men in bed. She was a true intellectual, trained in arts, polished in etiquette and possessing knowledge about just anything, so that she could hold intelligent conversations with men besides giving them company in the physical sense. Geishas in Japanese culture, were considered as the chief entertainers for men in cultural events as well as tea ceremonies and their primary aim was to provide wholesome entertainment to men with their physical beauty and great knowledge.


Just like the other kinds of tattoos, a geisha tattoo also has a number of common body placements. It is common in a way that this is where a lot of people prefer to place their tattoos. Here are some of these body placements that you might want to take into account:

  • Tattoo on Shoulders – Shoulders are great locations for this tattoo. In fact, a lot of people in the past preferred having this tattoo on their shoulders.
  • Tattoo on Back – There are some cases that this tattoo will involve bigger designs. This is the main reason why you also need to have a wider body part where you will place it. This is where your back part comes into play.
  • Tattoo on Chest – Chest is also a good location. It is also the perfect placement if you don’t want your tattoos to be very obvious to many people around you.
  • Tattoo on Legs – Legs can also be great for the location of this tattoo. You can decide whether you want to place the tattoo in the right leg, left leg, or in both legs.

Popular Geisha Tattoo Designs

Geishas not only have a position of importance in Japanese tradition but also are used as a popular design element in the Japanese tattoo art, with its alluring design attracting attention of just anybody. Though the geisha design is primarily feminine in nature, it is inked on men too, thanks to its fascinating beauty and vivid designs. The geisha features as the main element in these amazing designs, but some other elements can be added to the design to make it complete and meaningful. These include popular elements of Japanese tattoo art, such as dragons, flowers, umbrellas, koi fish and Japanese fans.

Some tattoo artists may create interesting variations in the basic geisha designs by depicting them as zombies and ghosts. While creating a typical geisha art, the expertise and experience of the tattoo artist plays a key role because it is really hard to capture the right kind of expression to be depicted on the face of the geisha and only an expert can do it right. It needs to combine sensuality, softness, elegance and attraction, with just the right proportion of each and a little more or a little less of anything can actually tamper with the actual look desired in a geisha. Another special feature of geisha is the vivid colors and patterns used in the outfit of the geisha. The most preferred color of her dress is red, though some other vibrant color may also be used depending upon the choice of the bearer. It may also feature some floral patterns to make the tattoo more eye catching.

Some tattoo artists can be more experimental with geisha designs and combine them with some unique elements such as some Japanese text, scene of a tea ceremony or even a Samurai warrior. A tattoo which includes geisha protected by Samurai warrior has a story to narrate. The designs may differ for men and women, though both are equally fascinating. While men get them to represent their eternal desire for these beautiful women, ladies get the tattoos for the sheer aesthetic value of them. Since they are quite expressive and intricate, most of them come in large size. This is the reason why need a large surface area to be inked, so they are usually seen on the legs, arms, chest and back areas.

Final Words

One thing to keep in mind while opting for a geisha tattoo is the fact that they are quite complicated and need detailed attention as well as expertise. So you must look for such a tattoo artist who has plenty of experience in inking these tattoos and can handle the job to perfection. It is his ability to bring out the beauty and grace of the tattoo which can make a real difference in its quality and appeal.

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