How to Get a Yakuza Tattoo
by H.J. Brues
- Call it by its name. You may know them as “yakuza tattoos,” or “these-cool-tattoos-with-dragons” but they are neither an exclusive yakuza thing nor are dragons always depicted in them—sorry to burst your bubble, but one of the most common creatures inked in traditional Japanese tattoos is the mighty… carp. So, the proper name of this style of tattoo is irezumi, which means “ink insertion,” duh. If you are feeling highfalutin, though, you can always call it horimono,“carved or engraved stuff.”
- Choose your motif well. And I don’t mean because tattoos are for life. If you tell an irezumi master that you want something to reflect, say, your outstanding stealth in combat, you may end up with the gorgeous design of a… rat. For life.
- Give the artist free reign. Don’t insult Sensei by showing him the exact design you’ve envisioned drawn in stickman style on a paper napkin. Let the master be masterful, and you’ll end up with a work of art on your body. The only drawback is that you can’t pass this collector’s piece on to your heirs, or sell it in a pinch, or donate it to a museum—unless you’re okay with flaying, that is.
- Be explicit about your no-no’s. Let the artist be creative, but don’t forget to politely mention you’d rather not have whole Buddhist prayers running the length of your arms, entire schools of fish swimming across your chest, peonies blossoming from your nipples, or chubby kids riding your back–I mention this last one because you may be familiar with Kintarō as a cool character from Mortal Kombat, but as the Japanese folk hero that he is, a tattoo master is more likely to depict him as a big red roly-poly toddler hugging a giant carp. You get the picture—literally too.
- Learn to meditate. That’s the traditional Japanese way of dealing with pain. Because, yeah, there will pain. Lots of pain. Japanese tattoo artists are very fond of tebori, which means, um, “hand carving.” If you’ve ever started sweating after taking one look at that awkward contraption called a tattoo machine or have ran for your life when someone called it a tattoo gun, you might faint at the sight of the irezumi master’s tools of the trade. They will look rather minimalist, but I doubt you’ll appreciate the aesthetic value of a row of steel needles attached to pretty bamboo or bone handles. So, ifs you’re not feeling your usual samurai-stoic self, don’t hesitate to get a prescription for Tylenol—or anything stronger short of cocaine. Sensei will politely ignore your weakness while he carves away with his pretty needles.
I hope this advice will help you if you ever decide to get an irezumi tattoo—even if it helps you decide not to get it.
About Yakuza Courage
Ex-Navy SEAL Brendan O’Farrihy enrolls in kendo classes to investigate a Honolulu dojo acting as a front for a yakuza syndicate. Or at least that’s what Brendan’s client, Senator Harris, believes. Through his kendo instructor, the cocky, short-fused, gorgeous Kinosuke Yonekawa, Brendan learns the criminals who are supposedly using the senator’s son, Kenneth, to expand their activities into the US, seem to have severed any yakuza connections. The jaded, soul-scarred former soldier is captivated by the loyalty these gangsters show each other and the way they protect Ken like a tight military unit. Brendan wonders why the senator lied to him, and what the yakuza are shielding Ken from.
When Ken disappears, Brendan suspects foul play and decides to help the man he is falling for, Kinosuke, and his friends, find Ken. But when Kinosuke discovers Brendan has been on the senator’s payroll, all bets are off.
An Excerpt from Yakuza Courage
Brendan would have groaned when he saw that Kinosuke’s jacket effectively covered him to midthigh, but he was too busy keeping his mouth from hanging open at the sight of the intricate swirls of ink reaching down to the slender knees.
Why hadn’t he expected it? He knew yakuza usually had tattoos—he’d seen Matsunaga’s and even Harrris’s through Big B’s camera—but somehow, he hadn’t imagined Kinosuke with one of those full-body frescoes. Maybe it was because the kid Kotarō had mentioned Kinosuke sported a tattoo under his hair, and it had sounded so extreme at the time that Brendan hadn’t thought there’d be more ink in any other parts of this gorgeous body.
But there it was, ink in extraordinary hues fanning out to Kinosuke’s inner thighs where it ended abruptly in thick, round-tipped bands of dark blue that made a stunning background for the storm that raged over the rest of Kinosuke’s skin.
There were clouds of white and blue, strokes of intense red lightning, and the masterful shading that almost allowed Brendan to feel the strength of the winds blowing everywhere in that vibrant scenery.
Kinosuke groaned and tore at the strings of his jacket, Brendan’s hands helping to pull the white garment open right until the moment when he got the first glimpse of what lay underneath.
“Fuck me raw,” he cursed, his eyes roaming about in an effort to capture all there was to see—the long, flushed cock that stood out proudly from a nest of black curls, the blue dragon that sprung from behind turbulent clouds, one claw hovering over Kinosuke’s pubes while the other stretched upward as if to thwart the advance of a mighty red dragon descending on him from across Kinosuke’s chest, a ball of red fire preceding his advance, the movement of the magnificent beasts creating the storm that raged all over Kinosuke’s body.
About H. J. Brues
H.J. Brues lives in Spain, enjoying the hot weather, the brisk language, the warm-hearted people, and the thousands of books of the library she works in. She has a degree in medieval history and loves castles, knights in shining armor, and barbarian warriors with no armor at all. She practiced fencing until her knees started complaining, took archery until her elbow almost fell off, and then, wisely, switched to the less martial of the martial arts, tai chi.
You can contact H.J. Brues at firstname.lastname@example.org.
H.J. has graciously offered up an eBook copy of Yakuza Courage to one lucky winner!! The giveaway starts now and ends September 28, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. To enter, just click the link below!
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Don’t forget to check out Nikyta’s review of Yakuza Courage to see what she thought of it!