In some form or the other demons have always been popular themes with regards to the art of tattooing. From ancient times to modern trends demons have been depicted in many different ways through tattoos and have been a part of many different cultures. As tattoo designs the image of a demon is considered to carry innate meaning and symbolism.
The image of the demon was in some ways associated with divinity in certain cultures. In other cultures it represented the struggle between good and evil. The later monotheistic religions considered demons to be the most negative of all images.
Regardless of the particular meaning attached to the image of demons one thing is for sure, that they have inspired countless fairy tales through out history. In these fairy tales demons have played both positive and negative roles. Hence you will find demon tattoos to vary from positive to negative.
On the one hand you had demons that were known to be sly and cause suffering to mankind. On the other hand you had demons that were considered to ward of evil. Nonetheless demons have been a common element in various forms of art. The most popular images of the demon display a creature with long sharp fangs with claws and horns on its head.
Demons in Japanese Culture
In Japanese culture demon tattoos have a wide variety of meaning based on cultural influences. You have the good demons that are helpful to humanity and the bad ones that are a bane on the people. The Japanese would actually use demon tattoos as a means of warding off the evil and safeguarding themselves.
Japanese demon tattoos have actually been part of the ancient traditions of Japan. Some of the first tribes that settled down in the region were known for possessing demon tattoo designs. One must however understand the transition that these tattoos underwent through changing times.
In the early years of tribal life in Japan the demon tattoos had an almost religious significance. The tribesmen were known to have face tattoos as well as full body tattoos. As time progressed the art of tattooing especially the demon tattoos became something that was considered to be barbaric. A revolution of thought towards the end of the Edo period got these tattoos back into fashion.
Amongst the most popular demons found in Japanese tattoo designs is Inuyasha who is known as the dog demon. Shape-shifters and tricksters like the raccoon and fox demons are also commonly featured in tattoo designs. Another interesting demon that is known for its romantic streak is the wolf demon which can also be seen in the demon tattoo design library of the Japanese.
Other popular demon tattoos are that of the weasel, centipede and the toad. The ogre monster known as Oni is popular amongst the Japanese even today. This particular demon is known for its human eating habits. The demon tattoo culture of Japan is full of horns and fangs with images ranging from being absurdly funny to seriously scary.