150 Brave Samurai Tattoo Designs & Meanings

Want some ideas for a samurai tattoo? Don’t miss these designs and the meanings behind them.

samurai with sword in forest

The word “Samurai” refers to a special social class of people in ancient Japan, who were also called the “men of weapons” as they were supposed to provide protection to the high ranked nobles in those times.

These men were brave and noble and fought battles in what was a matter of honor for them. They carried special weapons like sabers, wakizashi, and katanas.

samurai skull tattoo on arm

Samurais not only occupy a key position in Japanese culture but are also revered in the form of Japanese Samurai tattoo art, with special designs celebrating the honor and bravery of the Samurais.

These special tattoos have become incredibly popular not only in Japan but also in Asia and other parts of the world, where people appreciate the Samurai designs for their grace and honor.

samurai wearing mask tattoo

These tattoos are really eye-catching because they feature a great deal of detailing and use lots of vibrant colors.

Also, they are larger in size in comparison to conventional tattoos as the intricate detail can only be effectively depicted in larger tattoos which cover a wider surface area.

back tattoo of samurai

Samurai art is one type of body art that is getting more and more popular throughout the world. A lot of men and women tattoo lovers are engraving this intensely stunning body art on their bodies.

Such body adornment has a very important role in Japanese culture, especially during ancient times.

samurai tattoo on upper arm of man

Samurai was the general term used for these special warriors in Japan during Medieval times. These warriors were the ones who were tasked in protecting the very important people in ancient Japan.

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Such a position could be achieved easily though. You needed to be a son of a samurai before you could become one, or you could simply get married into the samurai tradition.

samurai tattoos

Samurai Tattoo Meanings

Samurai body art will not only enhance your physical appearance but also help you to build a very intriguing personality. More and more people will become curious about you, especially your very unique personality.

Here are some of the meanings and symbolism that you must know about this type of body art:

  • Honor – One very significant thing that is being symbolized by the samurai is honor. What’s the reason for this? Well, it is simply because being one of the samurais in ancient Japan was a great honor for those ancient Japanese people. This was the main reason why there were lots of Japanese in the past years who did their best just to become a member of those elite Japanese warriors.
  • Respect – Just in case you don’t know, the common Japanese people had enormous respect for these elite warriors. Samurais were recognized by their strength and dutiful nature. For this reason, it’s surprising that samurai arts are still commanding respect to this day.
  • Service – Being a samurai in ancient Japan was actually more of a service than an achievement. These elite warriors never became arrogant or boastful when they became a highly respected samurai. Instead, they focused their energies on serving their masters in an effective way.
  • Bravery – Bravery is another important thing that samurai art represents. They never cared that their lives might be put into danger when protecting those Japanese nobles.
  • Loyalty – Samurais were known to be extremely loyal to their masters. They always followed the ancient Japanese nobles to whom where they were serving. They were more than willing to die just to protect their privileged masters.

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samurai with flag tattoo

Samurai tattoo designs

In case you’re considering getting tattooed with samurai arts, then you should be very happy to know that these body adornments can offer you a lot of options when it comes to design.

All of these designs are assured to be very gorgeous. You might be thinking these tattoos only involve plain samurai images of weapons and armor but there’s a whole lot more to it. Here’s a brief run-through of what’s on offer:

  • Samurai Weapon Design – In the 15th century, the ancient Japanese samurais were already using firearms when protecting ancient Japanese nobles. Even so, you should know that samurais were very popular because of their very sharp and beautifully designed Japanese swords. If you are one of those people in the world who are captivated with these Japanese swords, then wearing a samurai weapon tattoo would be a great way to celebrate this.
  • Women Samurai Design – If you were married to a samurai man, then you automatically became a samurai woman. This is something that you could not change in the future years. If you were not ready for the responsibilities of a samurai woman, then you would not dare to get married to a samurai man. A lot of very brave women tattoo lovers in the world are choosing this particular design.
  • Samurai Armor Design – Another design worth considering is the samurai armor design. Samurais were known to have a very sturdy and heavy armor, which was very intricately detailed. This design is a common choice of male tattoo lovers across the world since it symbolizes masculinity.
  • Samurai in Full Regalia Design – The most popular design is the samurai in full regalia. This design depicts a samurai ready to do his noble duties and defend the honor of his masters.

samurai tattoo on side


Traditional samurai tattoos come from Japan and use a special technique to create them, which is a bit different from the techniques used in conventional tattoo art.

The traditional Japanese technique used for creating body tattoos is called Irezumi, which refers to the insertion of tattoo ink in the body of the tattoo bearer.

vintage samurai tattoo

While modern tattoo art makes use of advanced machines for inking tattoos, the traditional Japanese Samurai arts are done with the old fashioned technique of Tebori. The Tebori technique makes use of bamboo sticks fitted with lined needles to create these tattoos

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The method is far more painful than the mechanical method and should not be tried out by the weak-hearted. Despite being a difficult and painful process, both male and female tattoo lovers are not dissuaded from getting traditional samurai designs done on themselves.

traditional samurai back tattoo

These tattoos look stunning when done on large surface areas such as the back, chest, thigh, and the whole sleeve or full leg, which can be utilized to feature a whole story related to the life of a Samurai warrior, such as a fight against an enemy, an animal or for protection of a noble or a woman.

whole back samurai tattoo

When one decides to get Samurai art inked on oneself, the design of the tattoo should be carefully considered, along with its symbolic meaning as it involves a great deal of expense as well as pain to have such a tattoo done.

Also, only an expert designer should be trusted to deliver Samurai tattoo designs as these tattoos are large in size and very intricate.

Zen and Samurai Tattoo

Well-Detailed Samurai Tattoo on Entire Back

Strong Samurai Tattoo

Smoke and Samurai Tattoo on Arm

Skull Samurai Tattoo with Red Sun

Skull Samurai Tattoo

Scary Samurai Tattoo During Dawn

Samurai Winning a Battle Tattoo

Samurai Wearing Mask Tattoo

Samurai Warrior Mask Tattoo

Samurai Tattoo with Red Sun

Samurai with Red Flowers Side Tattoo

Samurai Tattoo with Castle, Flowers and Writing

Samurai Tattoo on Scalp

Samurai Tattoo on Entire Leg

Being the elite warrior class, the Samurais occupy a place of honor in Japan and were known for their special code of conduct called the bushido, literally translated as the way of the warriors.

The code defines seven main virtues as a part of the life of a samurai warrior, which included courage, kindness, honor, loyalty, sincerity, rectitude and politeness, all to be an integral part of the personality of the Samurai.

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They focused on strengthening their bodies and mind so that they could fulfill their duties well. The Samurais were supposed to conquer the fear of death, living life to the fullest.

A woman who married a Samurai warrior was also bound by the same code and was supposed to incorporate all the virtues of the code in her life. They wore armor which bore intricate designs, which stood as a symbol of power.

Additionally, they are shown wearing impressive helmets and masks and using skulls, which depict that they were fearless against death. These designs also present them along with their weapons and signify bravery, strength, and power.

These tattoos are masculine and represent the mission of the Samurai, to serve and protect the nobility and the upper class, due to which they command a great deal of respect and honor in society.

They are mostly favored by men, but even women can have them inked. The main aim of Japanese samurai style art is to represent honor and respect of the family, culture, tradition and the special code of conduct lay down by the bushido.

Symbolically, these tattoos remind the bearer about things that are sacred to the Samurais and incorporate all of them in their lives.

The symbolic meaning, as well as great visual appeal, makes them an excellent choice for tattoo lovers who are looking for something different to adorn their bodies, than the conventional flowers, arrows, anchors, hearts and tribal designs.

Samurai Tattoo on Back

Unfinished Samurai Tattoo

Samurai Tattoo on Arm

Samurai with Dragon Tattoo

Samurai Tattoo for Men

Samurai Skull Tattoo with Cherry Blossoms

Samurai Skull Tattoo

Samurai Saving the Kingdom Tattoo on Upper Back and Arm

Samurai Ready for War Tattoo

Samurai and Skull Tattoo

Sad Samurai Tattoo with Falling Leaves

Moon at the Back of Samurai Tattoo

Lonely Samurai Tattoo

Lady Samurai Tattoo

Japanese Samurai with Mask Tattoo

Another popular design element commonly seen in Samurai designs is the symbol of yin and yang, which complement each other as a single complete whole.

Some other common designs include other objects from the Japanese culture such as the Fuji Mountain, koi fish, snake, Samurai mask, waves and clouds, Japanese fan and many more designs and patterns.

Certain Samurai designs feature special tales and stories, which are depicted through these detailed designs, making them even more popular. These can define the real purpose of the lives of the Samurais, such as protecting the elite and fighting the evil forces.

Many tattoo designs are done in single colors like black or grey, while some are done in an array of bright colors, but both look equally great.

Final Words

A samurai tattoo is definitely one of the most beautiful and most meaningful tattoos that you can have on your body. This will certainly make you look awesome in the eyes of many people.

Just be careful to choose the best design that perfectly fits your physical appearance and unique personality.

Japanese Samurai Tattoo on Back

Japanese Half Sleeve Samuurai Tattoo

japanese Culture Samurai Tattoo

Handsome Samurai Tattoo on Sleeve

Geisha Loves a Samurai Full Sleeve Tattoo

Geisha and Samurai Full Sleeve Tattoo

Samurai Wearing a Mask Tattoo

Samurai Side Tattoo

Eagle with Samurai Tattoo

Detailed Samurai Tattoo

Cross Covered with Samurai tattoo

Colorful Samurai Tattoo

Samurai Riding Horse Tattoo

Colorful Battle of Japanese Samurai Tattoo

Cherry Blossoms with Brave Samurai Tattoo

Cherry Blossom and Samurai Tattoo

Brave Samurai Tattoo

Black Samurai Tattoo on Chest

Grey Ink Samurai Tattoo on Right Shoulder

Badass Sleeve Samurai Tattoo

Angry Samurai Tattoo with Red Sun

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