The Motifs In Japanese Art Cultural Studies Essay

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Baird, in this book, writes about and describes a variety of motifs that are present throughout Japanese art. Some of the topics that are described are: plants and insects, land and sea animals, and demons, deities, and figural groups. Within these topics are motifs that are seen in the art of tattooing. Although this book has no direct contextual representation with tattooing, it still provides details of the symbols within tattoos like the koi and dragon. Furthermore, this book discusses the influences that China has with these symbols and motifs due to the fact that many of them originated in China. The information that this book provides is far more detailed with regards to motifs, which helps solidify the accuracy and significance of this book my research topic.

This book came from the Ignacio library stacks. This book will aid in my understanding of traditional symbols and motifs in Japanese art; although, I will have to cross-examine the information with my other sources to ensure that the meanings within both tattooing and traditional art are the same.

Fellman, Sandi and D.M. Thomas. The Japanese Tattoo. New York, NY: Abbeville Press,1986.

Fellman and Thomas provide a unique approach to understanding the Japanese body suit tattoo by providing a photographic display of various tattoos on Japanese individuals. The book gives a descriptive introduction that covers tattooing in the present (1986 for this book). Trends can be identified with regards to the decline of Yakuza personnel receiving tattoos. Much of the relevancy that this book has to my paper is the description of motifs as seen through the tattoos on the individuals presented in the book. The motifs take on a more spiritual meaning that Fellman and Thomas describe throughout each design. Furthermore, this work provides a more up and close visual approach to the tattooing that is represented in 1986. Compared to more recent resources, this book helps link together the longevity of the styles of tattoos and how there is little change to the design or make up of the tattoos.

I found this book through the Ignacio library stacks. The book was also mentioned and many of the current sources that I am using and very useful through the visual representations presented.

Hendry, Joy. "The Japanese Tattoo." Japan at Play: The Lucid and the Login of Power. Edited by Joy Hendry and Massimo Raveri, 22-33. New York, NY: Routledge, 2002.

In Hendry's chapter on Japanese tattooing, she describes the cultural aspects of tattooing and how tattooing came to be through historical analysis of tattooing and the interviewees that she describes. In regards to learning about motifs and symbols within Japanese tattoos, Hendry discusses the most common or popular traditional Japanese images that people get in present day Japan (1990's to the time this book was published). She also identifies individuals whom received these tattoos and their reasons for getting the artwork done. Hendry's discussion on the history of Japanese tattooing is also important to my research because she discusses the direction that tattooing took post World War II, which many of my other sources neglect. Furthermore, this work is moderately current and covers the contemporary notion of Tattooing through average citizens including the Horiyoshi family (famous Japanese tattoo artists).

This book is a compilation of a variety of works regarding Japanese culture as uncovered by many scholars. I acquired this book from the Ignacio library and the bibliography has uncovered many of the current resources that I am using in this research.

Kitamura, Takahiro and Katie Kitamura. Bushido: Legacies of The Japanese Tattoo. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2001.

The Kitamuras bring together a unique and detailed book on the way of the tattoo in Japan. The relevance that this book has to learning about motifs and symbolism within tattooing is represented in two ways: first, through the small explanations of the symbols that are commonly presented in Japanese tattoos; second, through the photographic images of these tattoos on individuals. This book provides a contemporary perspective of tattooing in Japan with regards to the single figure tattoo taking on more popularity amongst individuals getting tattooed; in addition to the comparison of western style tattoos to Japanese style tattoos with regards to advertising tattoo shops and the locality of these shops in both areas. Furthermore, this book discusses the Horiyoshi family and how the art of tattooing is something that is passed down from generation to generation as is described in this book through the "family tree" that represents generations of Horiyoshi tattoo masters. In addition, the present day concerns amongst the tattoo artists are expressed regarding the task of maintaining and preserving traditional Japanese tattooing.

I found this book at the Kinokuniya bookstore in Japan Town. This book is useful with the variety of visual images that are represented within the book.

Kitamura, Takahiro. Tattoos Of The Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in the Japanese Tattoo. The Netherlands: Brill Publishing, 2003.

In this book, Kitamura depicts a style of Japanese tattooing that is represented through ukiyo-e (woodblock prints created during the Edo period for the average person depicting recognizable figures). This book is useful in describing the motifs that are depicted in ukiyo-e artwork and how these motifs are directly translated into tattoos that were given during the Edo period and to some popularity today. Furthermore, this book helps develop the historical understanding of tattooing within Japan and the differences between the arts of ukiyo-e and irezumi (tattooing). The author's tattooing knowledge credibility is of the highest caliber due to his status as a member of the Horiyoshi III family (famous tattooing family within Japan), in addition to having this book forwarded by Donald Richie.

I acquired this book from the University of San Francisco library. This book is relevant and current to the topic of figures and motifs within Japanese tattoos. Additionally, this book is provides detailed photographs of the motifs both as part of ukiyo-e and as a tattoo.

Mandelbaum, Jill. Studying Horiyoshi III: A Westerner's Journey into Japanese Tattoo. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2008.

Through Mandelbaum's research into the art of Irezumi or Horimono (body suit tattooing), she is able to give a detailed account of the life of Horiyoshi III and how he views the world of Japanese tattooing today. This book has great significance in understanding the life behind the tattoo artists and how Japanese tattooing incorporates many traditions of the past. I feel that this book is not too relevant to my paper with regards to motifs and symbolism; yet, the book does allow me to understand the culture of tattooing as seen through a western perspective (referring to the author). Furthermore, this book describes the process of getting a tattoo with regards to the prep work involved in preparing the tattoo equipment, the artwork that will be tattooed, and the individual who will be receiving the tattoo.

I found this book through as I was looking for resources regarding tattooing in Japan. The appeal that it had was the fact that the author was a westerner who wanted to see Japanese tattooing in the present.

Mann, Charles. "The Gangster in My Tub." The Atlantic. (2008), 40-41. University of San Francisco, Ignacio Library. Retrieved: October 2010.

Mann, in this article, writes about the onsen experience in Japanese culture. This article describes the rules with regards to going to an onsen (bath house) and the way in which the experience of going to an onsen represents a purity and cleansing process. The relivance that this article has to my research is that it covers the negative connotation affiliated with tattoos due to the strict rules of being tattoo free in order to go an onsen. Mann also talks about the fact that it does not really matter where an individual is from, if an individual is tattooed then entrance most likely will be prohibited. Furthermore, the article discusses the transformation of natural onsens to hotels and resorts offering a private onsen experience in which tattooed individuals can attend to. Given that the article strictly focuses on the onsen rules and the tattoo stigma, the information within the article will help depict the negativity against tattoos in Japan.

This article is limited with what it has to offer for my paper but it does provide insight relevant to tattooing and the view of the practice. I found this article through the Ignacio library online resource catalog.

Mansfield, Stephen. "The Indelible Art of the Tattoo." Japan Quarterly. 46.1 (1999), 30-33. University of San Francisco, Ignacio Library. Retrieved: October 2010.

Mansfield's article on tattoos describes the historical Edo period elements of tattooing all the way to the present. This article continues to describe the reasoning behind individuals who received tattoos during the Edo period and how the criminalist stigma of the relationship with tattoos took place. Mansfield also expresses the how the ban on tattooing occurred at the start of the Meiji period with the opening of boarders to the West and the world and how westerners became customers of Japanese tattoo artists. In addition, Mansfield addressed the symbolic meaning of tattoos within working class individuals receiving tattoos during the Edo period. This research will aid in uncovering the past of tattooing within Japan and how symbolic figures are represented in the past, in comparison to other resources that talk about present day Japanese tattooing.

I found this article through EBSCO at the Ignacio online category database. I searched for terms referring to motifs and meanings with Japanese tattoos.

Poysden, Mark and Marco Bratt. A History of Japanese Body Suit Tattooing. The Netherlands: KIT Publishers, 2006.

Poysden and Bratt, through this book, write about the key elements of Japanese tattooing starting from the Edo period when traditional tattooing within Japan first originated. This book contributes to the topic of themes within the Japanese tattoo itself by exploring the variety of mythical and traditional figures that are seen within a traditional Japanese tattoo and the influence or relevance it has on an individual who receives a tattoo. Furthermore, this book describes the motifs within the tattoos and how traditional woodblock printed art pieces play a role within the style of tattooing. In addition, he authors touch on the history of when tattooing first was practiced in Japan (referring to the ancient Ainu practice of facial tattooing) and the terminologies behind the elements (i.e. tools used, process of tattooing, style of tattoos, and the different Japanese tattooing denotations) within Japanese tattooing.

I found this book through the San Francisco State University library. This book is the most current of the books that I am using and provides me with key information in terms of the motifs within Japanese tattoos. The bibliography within this book has led me to a few additional books that I am using for my research.

Yamada, Mieko. "Westernization and Cultural Resistance in Tattooing Practices in Contemporary Japan." International Journal of Cultural Studies. 12 (2009), 319-339. University of San Francisco, Ignacio Library. Retrieved: October 2010.

Mieko, through this article, offers a variety of example of contemporary Japanese tattooing and the western influences that have been adopted that have helped break negative trends within Japanese tattooing. This article discusses the shift and decline of Yakuza members getting tattoos after the 90's and how tattoo artists clientele are coming from the general populace. This article further discusses how western tattoos are becoming popular amongst the youth in Japan as more and more famous people are getting tattoos and having them be seen by the public through media. The usefulness of this article allows me to understand the present day perception and practice of tattooing as is recorded by Mieko's interviews and observations as this article was published in 2009. The globalization of culture aspect is also discussed in this article, which allows me to understand the possible struggles and reinventions in tattooing with Japan.

I found this article through the University of San Francisco database. This article is the most articulate of the articles in terms of the present day discussion cross culture tattoo phenomenon. Furthermore, this article introduced me to a book modern tattooing within Japan that I feel with prove to be significant in my final findings.

Yamada, Mieko. "Japanese Tattooing From the Past to the Present." 2000. Retrieved November 2010.

This article that Yamada writes gives a great look at tattooing from the start of the first tattoos by the Ainu's during the Jomon period all the way to present day tattooing in Japan. The significance of this article is the variety of historical dates and periods that she describes clearly and discusses regarding tattoos. Furthermore, the article covers the period that pictorial tattooing took place and how the developments of these types of tattoos have evolved in present day tattooing. In addition, she writes a small passage that covers the ethics involved in tattooing within Japan. This specific piece of information aids in my contemporary Japanese tattooing research regarding the trends in current tattooing.

I found this article through the google search engine typing in key words: Japanese, tattooing, modern day. I feel that this article will add to the addition resources that I will be using due to its clear structure and depth of information.

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