year of the dragon

year of the dragon and Swen Losinsky tattooing a dragon sleeve

It’s 2024, the year of the dragon 辰 (Tatsu) 🐉. Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu! (Happy New Year!).

Are you thinking about where to get your next Japanese tattoos in Berlin? Well, you can be sure that here at Good Old Times Tattoo Berlin you will find the best quality tattoos and a service worthy of our name.

If you are still in brainstorming mode, then simply trust us: an Irezumi tattoo is always a fantastic idea that you won’t regret! Read more in our dragon blog post to get inspiration for your next Japanese tattoo.

West & East

The dragon has become an integral part of the world of Japanese tattoos. A Japanese backpiece or sleeve tattoo with a dragon not only looks impressive but can also tell a special story. So that you can pimp up your next tattoo, we’ll give you some background information in this blog post.

The western world regards dragons as cruel and fire-breathing creatures that heroes must exterminate and slain. The western world essentially sees dragons as a symbol of evil.

In Asia, however, the dragon is a positive creature, symbol of harmony and peace. Chinese and Japanese in fact consider dragons benevolent and auspicious creatures. They breathe water instead of fire and have the power to bring rain, an important attribute in an agricultural society such as the Japanese one.

japanese tattoo

“Ryu” and the Sea

Since Japan is an island and the sea is present in most of its geography, Japanese dragons, also called Ryū (龍) or Tatsu (竜), usually live in the deep sea. They indeed rule the sea and the water.

Ryū is originally from China and is one of the four celestial creatures in Japanese mythology (the other three are the phoenix, the turtle and the tiger). It has often been the symbol of the Emperor or a hero.

Japanese dragons look like Chinese dragons, but are actually slightly different. They have a more serpentine body, only three claws on each paw and fly less often. They have three claws because the Japanese claim that oriental dragons originated in Japan. As the dragons started leaving Japan, they started gaining more claws. The farther the dragons moved, the more claws they gained. Which explains why Chinese and Korean dragons have more.

This mythical creature, before becoming a dragon, goes through several stages of development that take thousands of years. It starts out as a snake, then transforms into a carp and then, a few centuries later, develops its signature goatee before growing its clawed feet and tail. At the end of this long metamorphosis, he will develop horns to discern sounds and a crest that will allow him to fly as an adult.

Ready to find out more about this majestic legendary animal and get some inspiration for your next tattoo in Berlin? 

irezumi in progress

Origin of the Japanese dragon

The Land of the Rising Sun considers the dragon a fascinating creature, a symbol of strength and power. The inhabitants of this land highly respect and honor this wonderful creature.

Japanese mythology makes use of Shinto, Buddhist and folklore beliefs for its creation story. The origin of the Japanese dragon is connected to the legend of the genesis of the universe. Shortly after the creation of heaven and earth, seven generations of Kami (Japanese gods) were born. They were collectively regarded as Kamiyo-nanayo, or “Seven Generations of the Age of the Gods“. Along with other creatures, dragons have appeared to protect them, as guardians of the celestial deities.

Symbolism of the Japanese dragon

The Japanese believe that dragons are the ancestors of the first emperor. For this reason they hold importance and significance as a symbol of the emperor and, therefore, are highly respected and honored in Japanese society.                                          

All in all, Japanese dragons are the benefactors and protectors of mankind. Powerful and wise guardians who protect us from universal dangers and transmit their wisdom. Symbol of good luck, they bring us happiness, offering us strength and courage at every important turn in our lives.

Come and book your slot

If our blog post has inspired you and now you want to start your Traditional Japanese tattoo, write us an email at 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐨@𝐠𝐨𝐨𝐝𝐨𝐥𝐝𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐨𝐨.𝐜𝐨𝐦 or use our contact form to book your consultation.

If you are now excited about the subject but don’t feel ready to get a tattoo yet, in the meantime delight yourself with our high quality Japanese prints you find in our online shop.

Your favourite tattoo studio Berlin is waiting for you!