<![CDATA[刺青芸術工房 龍元洞 TRADITIONAL JAPANESE TEBORI TATTOOING - column]]>Sun, 27 Mar 2022 04:16:39 +0900Weebly<![CDATA[6. nine tailed fox (kyubi no kitsune)]]>Thu, 03 Jun 2021 07:15:46 GMThttp://ryugendo.jp/column/6-nine-tailed-fox-kyubi-no-kitsuneThere are three types (or more) of kitsune in Japanese myths and legends.

1. Kitsune
In old days people believed that kitsune (fox) and tanuki (Japanese raccoon) had a supernatural power and often tricked and confused people. They could turn into anything. When they do it they wear a leaf (in rare cases skull) on the head.
Painted by Ohara Koson
2. O-Inari-san
Foxes in Inari Shrines are messengers from one of Shinto gods, Ukanomitama. They are usually white and sometimes hold a key, ear of rice or scroll in their mouth.
Kitsune holding a key at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto
Kitsune holding an ear of rice at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto
They can transform into anything but don’t trick people.
Sanjo Kokaji Munechika
Kitsune helping swordsmith Munechika making a treasure sword, drawn by Ryugen
3. Kyubi no Kitsune (Nine tailed fox)
Nine tailed fox was an evil monster (some people believed it was a god). It had been trying to destroy the world by tempting and manipulating emperors. 
It could turn into a beauty and had turned into Dakki in ancient China, Mrs. Kayo in ancient India and Tamamonomae in Japan. they say it was slain by Kazusanosuke Hirotsune in the early 12th century.
Dakki and Emperor Chu in the 11th Century B.C in China
Dakki, painted by Kuniyoshi
Mrs. Kayo in the 3rd Century B.C in India, painted by Kuniyoshi
Mrs.Kayo, painted by Kuniyoshi
Tamamo-no-Mae in the 12th Century in Japan, painted by Toyokuni
Kazusa no Suke Hirotsune killed the fox and it turned into a stone. It belched poisonous air and all birds and animals died that came near it.  People called it Sesshoseki (killing stone) and kept away from it.

Kazusanosuke Hirotsune slaying Nine Tailed Fox
Kazusanosuke Hirotsune slaying Nine Tailed Fox, drawn by Ryugen
Even now it still belches poisonous air in Nasu (a district in Kanto area) and the area surrounding it is off limits.

​Tattooist Ryugen
<![CDATA[5. Hannya mask]]>Fri, 23 Apr 2021 01:29:51 GMThttp://ryugendo.jp/column/5-hannya-maskThey say hannya has four expressions, anger, sorrow, jealousy and agony.

Hannya looks like an Oni, but it wasn’t originally an Oni. It used to be a human, a girl who went mad with jealousy and anger.
hannya tattoo
hannya mask tattooed by Ryugen
Hannya mask is a mask used in Noh, one of traditional Japanese plays, for female Oni. For example, “Dojo-ji temple (Anchin and Kiyohime)” is a very popular Noh story that a hanna mask is used.
hannya mask in Noh play
hannya mask in Dojo-ji temple
The summary. Anchin is a traveling monk. Kiyohime fell in love with him though she should have known it was not allowed. He ran away from her. She ran after him. She started to hate him while she was chasing, but still loved him. Finally she turned into a snake with distorted emotions and burnt him to death.
Kiyohime by Yoshitoshi
The thing is that Hannya is still in progress. There are four phases, normal, Namanari, Chunari (Hannya) and Honnari (snake). 
Which stage is your girlfriend/wife at?
hannya mask
tattooed by Ryugen
by Tattooist Ryugen
<![CDATA[4. A koi swims the waterfall up to be a dragon]]>Sat, 27 Mar 2021 23:47:29 GMThttp://ryugendo.jp/column/4-a-koi-swims-the-waterfall-up-to-be-a-dragonAs you know koi fish is thought to be a symbol of success in Japan.

An ancient tale says there is a vigorous upstream somewhere on the Yellow River. The waterfall at the end of the upstream is called the Ryumon-Gate (literal translation is Dragon Gate).

Many koi gather around the basin of the Ryumon-Gate. If a koi swims the waterfall up it’ll become a dragon and fly away.
Bakegoi (Dragon fish)
The koi gets spiky in progress. Single/double horns grow and the fins get bigger.
The fins turn into wings.
Ouryu (Hiryu)
Legs grow. It's called Ouryu in this phase. 
The tail gets longer.
Finally it swam the waterfall up and turned into a dragon.
by Tattooist Ryugen
<![CDATA[3.kirin]]>Wed, 24 Feb 2021 01:51:41 GMThttp://ryugendo.jp/column/kirinKirin is a mythological sacred creature known in East Asian cultures. It appears when the king governs in perfect virtues called Jin 仁. 
It’s a sign of peace and tranquillity.
It looks like a deer and has a head like a dragon, one-three horns, cloven hoofs like a cow and scales on its body. 
Old books say “Ki” is a male, “Rin” female, but it depends on the book.
The birth of Sage Confucius  麟吐玉書

It is said that right before Confucius was born a Kirin appeared and an auspicious scroll came out from its mouth. The scroll said that child of water spirit would become a person who had a virtue of king. His mother put a string on its neck. It left after two nights.
The capture of Kirin  西狩獲麟

One day when Sage Confucius was 72, a Kirin was captured. People were afraid of the weird creature and killed it. Confucius noticed it had the string around its neck and found he wouldn’t be long before he died. He sighed deeply “what have I been doing? I got stuck”. He stopped writing "Spring and Autumn" that was one of five Confucian books.
by Tattooist Ryugen
<![CDATA[2. A-gyo and Un-gyo]]>Fri, 29 Jan 2021 10:45:09 GMThttp://ryugendo.jp/column/2-a-gyo-and-un-gyoAt shrines and temples you often see a pair of Shishi (foodog), one is with mouth open the other with mouth shut. This rule is not only for Shishi but also for gate keepers, dragons, tigers… Many pairs have mouth open and shut.
Karajishi Un-gyo
Karajishi in Un-gyo below the pent roof
Karajishi A-gyo
Karajishi in A-gyo below the pent roof
This is originally from Ommyo-do (Japanese Yin Yang, based on Taoist theory and mixed with Shinto and Buddhism).
Oni mask Un-gyo
Oni mask in Un-gyo on top of the roof
Oni mask A-gyo
Oni mask in A-gyo on top of the roof
Opened mouth is called A-gyo (pronounced ahh-gyō), means “the beginning”.
Closed mouth is called Un-gyo, means “the end”.
Dragon Un-gyo
Dragon in Un-gyo of the beam
Dragon A-gyo
Dragon in A-gyo of the beam
If you put a dragon with mouth open on your one side you need to put another one with mouth shut on the other side. This is one of the traditional ways of Japanese tattoos.
Rikijin (power god) Un-gyo
Rikijin (power god) in Un-gyo on the beam
Rikijin (power god) Un-gyo
Rikijin (power god) in A-gyo on the beam
Gate keepers in A and Un
Gate keepers in A and Un at the gate
by Tattooist Ryugen
<![CDATA[1. karajishi]]>Thu, 24 Dec 2020 07:22:27 GMThttp://ryugendo.jp/column/karajishiThe literal meaning is Chinese lion. Another name is Komainu. Komainu used to have a horn. Nowadays they are mixed and have no deference. And originally they were the same lion from Mesopotamia.
You often see them as a pair of guardians at temples and shrines, one is with mouth open, the other with mouth shut. 
Only Botan (peony) can go with Karajishi, no cherry blossoms, no maple leaves or no chrysanthemums.

Karajishi is the king of animals, symbolizes strong man. Peony is the queen of flowers, symbolizes beauty. Karajishi-Botan is for a man among men, king of kings.

Inside themselves they often have bugs that destroy them, called “Shishi shinchu no mushi” that means “betrayers”. They sleep under peonies. Because the morning-dew on the peonies kills the bugs.

by Tattooist Ryugen