BODYSUIT TATTOO AND THE ART OF TATTOOING YOUR WHOLE BODY

Male bodysuit tattoo.

Japanese tattoos are known for their beauty, detail, and deep cultural significance. If you’re interested in immersing yourself in Japanese tradition and aesthetics, considering a full-body tattoo, also known as a “full-body suit,” can be an exciting choice! In this blog post, we’ll explore the art of Japanese full-body tattooing and how you can build your bodysuit tattoo 😉

Japanese style tattooing

The primary objective of traditional Japanese tattooing, also known as ‘Irezumi,’ is to create an authentic Japanese bodysuit, which typically includes a backpiece or other components that form the complete bodysuit associated with the Traditional Japanese Flower Tattoo.

At the core of a Japanese bodysuit lies the backpiece, often with a full background or “nukibori/kame-no-koh,” which spans the entire back region, extending from the neck down to approximately 20–30 centimeters below the buttock crease. This expansive area represents the largest canvas on the body, visible in its entirety with a single glance. Complementing the backpiece are additional tattoos that contribute to the narrative intended by the wearer.

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The subject of the tattoos is further accentuated by a background composed of traditional elements such as spiral clouds, clouds, rocks, water, fire, waves, and wind bars. These elements serve to enhance the overall visual impact and storytelling of the bodysuit.

Additional elements can be incorporated into the Japanese bodysuit to depict specific seasons or create a desired atmosphere. This can include motifs like cherry blossoms, peonies, chrysanthemums, or maple leaves, which become recurring themes throughout the bodysuit, adding depth and visual continuity.

Body-suit tattoo: Steps

1. The Backpiece

The initiation and progression of a Japanese bodysuit can be approached in various ways, with considerations for gender playing a role. It’s important to note that the tattooing process differs for men and women.

For instance, when starting a bodysuit, particularly for men, a common approach involves creating a backpiece with a background (nukibori). This choice amplifies its impact, making it more robust and prominent. 

On the other hand, for women, it is common, though not always the case, to initially omit the background (gakubori) to infuse a more feminine touch. As the tattooing progresses and sleeves or additional bodywork are desired, a background can be introduced to connect all the elements cohesively. However, it’s entirely up to the individual woman to decide whether she wants to incorporate a background from the outset, as it can convey a strong and determined appearance!

It’s essential to consult with a skilled tattoo artist who specializes in Japanese bodysuit tattoos to discuss the desired aesthetic, storytelling, and personal preferences. This collaborative process ensures that the tattoo design aligns with the individual’s vision and captures the essence of Japanese tattoo artistry.

2. Arms and chest tattoos

The next stage involves tattooing the arms and chest. For men, the chest plate, known as ‘hikae,’ covers a significant portion of the pectoral area. It extends approximately 2–4 centimeters from the center of the chest to 2 centimeters above the nipple, following the contour of the collarbone. A well-executed chest plate can greatly enhance the overall appearance of a sleeve tattoo, adding a strong and striking element to the design.

On the other hand, women’s chest tattoos typically extend slightly further onto the shoulder but do not fully cover the chest muscles. This approach creates a graceful and feminine look while staying true to traditional elements and providing a suitable conclusion to the sleeve design.

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3. Side panels

The next step involves tattooing the side panels, which extend from the backpiece to approximately 3-5 centimeters above the knee. Adding these side panels to your backpiece results in a “short suit” that provides a cohesive and visually appealing look. For a short suit, 3/4 or half sleeves complement the overall design the best.

If you want full sleeves, it makes sense to extend the tattoo coverage to create a full bodysuit. This involves getting tattoos that cover the entire body from ankle to neck to wrist on both sides. 

There are two options for the front: one with a “river” of open space (munewari soushinboro) and the other with a solid design without any empty spaces (donburi soushinbori). As a finishing touch, it is customary to include a “Shunga,” which is a small erotic and humorous design, in the armpits or between the thighs.

It’s important to consult with a skilled and experienced tattoo artist who specializes in bodysuit tattoos. They will guide you through the process, taking into account your preferences, cultural traditions, and storytelling objectives to create a unique and meaningful tattoo masterpiece!

Examples of Bodysuit tattoo

Check out this example of bodysuit tattoo.
Design of bodysuit tattoo.

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