Explore Tradition with Our Japanese Sleeve Tattoo for Men

With its beautiful colours, outstanding linework designs, deep meanings, and larger-than-life motifs, the Japanese tattoo style can’t be denied as a form of art.

A sleeve tattoo design is the most common type of Japanese tattoo that various people get. In Japanese, there are variations of sleeve tattoos, depending on their coverage. 

The nagasode is a full-sleeve Japanese arm tattoo, the gobu is a half-sleeve tattoo that goes to just above the elbow, and the shichibusode looks like the shirt sleeve has been pulled up to the middle of the forearm.

A sleeve tattoo idea with a Japanese theme can have a lot of different meanings, patterns, and matching designs. And with the many options, Pearl Lemon Tattoos has taken the liberty of putting together some ideas for sleeve tattoo designs that you can choose from. Whether you want permanent ink or a temporary tattoo, you can work around Japanese style tattoos.

Set up a time to meet with us, and we’ll get started!

Tattoo Cover-up
Tattoo Cover-up, Tattoo And Piercing Studio Ashburton

What You Need To Know About Traditional Japanese Tattooing

Traditional Japanese tattoos are very different from what we usually see. Today, tattoo artists will use a modern machine with a special, sterile needle and deep, dark inks. 

This wasn’t always the case for the Japanese. As long ago as 10,000 years ago, Japanese folklore had permanent body art used for decoration. People used to think that people with traditional tattoos were strong and brave because they could handle the pain of getting a tattoo. 

For men in Japan who wanted to be seen as strong and determined, getting a tattoo was a kind of rite of passage. A new tattoo artist would spend decades learning the traditional art from their master, a horishi, starting as an apprentice and working their way up. The word “hori” means “to engrave,” and each of these tattoo masters has their own style and way of tattooing that makes them unique in their own way. 

Modern traditional artists are becoming very rare because of this and other things.

Some Badass Japanese Sleeve Tattoo For Men

Looking for Japanese tattoo designs? Check out this list below!

Japanese Tiger

Tigers symbolise power, physical strength, and courage in Japanese tattoos. They are also thought to bring good luck and are used as charms to keep evil spirits away.

A tiger in a tattoo can even mean different things depending on which way it is moving. When the tattoo is of a tiger climbing a mountain, it is often seen as calmer because it has reached its goal and is now resting on top of the mountain. On the other hand, a tattoo with a tiger descending is on the hunt and going down the mountain to meet challenges head-on.

Tigers are great additions to any Japanese full-sleeve tattoo because of their deep meaning and obvious fierceness.


Samurai were the best warriors in Japan, and they lived by a strict set of rules about loyalty and duty. So, it’s no surprise that Japanese samurai tattoos mean bravery, honour, respect, and being a noble person.

Black Panther Tattoo

Japanese Flower

People worldwide use flowers as an important symbol in their art and culture. Flowers have a lot of meaning, and you can see it in how they are used in ceremonies and rituals. For example, flowers are used at funerals, weddings, and graduations.

Japan has a very well-developed system of symbols based on flowers and their meaning when used in a tattoo. The cherry blossom, or sakura, is a common part of tattoos. In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, it is often associated with reflection, meditation, spring, and a fresh start.

Another common flower is the chrysanthemum, which shows autumn differently than the cherry blossom. These flowers also stand for long life and perfection, which is why they are used as the symbol of the Japanese Imperial Throne, often called the Chrysanthemum Throne

Flowers often used in Japanese tattoos include the lotus, which has a deep meaning in Buddhism, and peonies, which are signs of wealth and beauty. There is a flower for every mood and style, which is why they look great on Japanese sleeves.

Japanese Dragon

Dragons are mythical creatures that have been around for a long time in almost every culture on Earth. From the fire-breathing beasts of European legends to the coiling snakes of Chinese art, dragons have different meanings in each culture.

In Western stories and myths, dragons cause chaos by hoarding gold and causing trouble. In Asian cultures, on the other hand, dragons are seen as helpful creatures who have man’s best interests at heart. In Japan, dragons are considered wise and have strong ties to the forces of water and wind.

Dragons are an excellent choice for full-sleeve tattoos because they look great. The amount of detail that can be put into these tattoos is impressive. For example, a large dragon sleeve tattoo might have thousands of separate scales. Japanese-style dragons can wrap around the arm because they are long and flexible. This draws the eye up and down the whole tattoo. 

Back Tattoos
Sun and Moon Tattoo on arm

Japanese Symbol

Tattoos of Asian symbols, like koi fish and dragons, are trendy because they are both meaningful and beautiful. The Japanese influence is clear from the way the shading is done and the colours used, which are often very bright and saturated.

Japanese Art

Japanese art tattoos aren’t just irezumi. They can be anything from writing and symbols to anime characters that have become popular worldwide in the last thirty years.

Get Those Traditional Japanese Tattoos Tatted Today

The Japanese culture is rich with symbolism and other Japanese art, giving you many options if you’re vying for a Japanese tattoo.

Once you’ve chosen your very own unique tattoo, our professional tattoo artists can get those Japanese sleeve tattoos tatted on you!

Contact Pearl Lemon Tattoos, and let’s get started!

Chest Tattoo Cover up

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