Irezumi refers to various styles of Japanese tattooing. For the most part Irezumi is known for traditional Japanese tattoo art, however there have been many types of modern interpretations that have been emerging. Many individuals recognize Irezumi as Japanese Style Tattoo Body Suits portrayed on Yakuza memebers.
The word Irezumi itself has many meanings. The most known is its translation in Chinese characters 入れ墨 or 入墨, meaning "Insert Ink". Irezumi could also be translated to 紋身(Bunshin) meaning "Decorating the Body". These are only some of the many meanings that Irezumi can be translated to.
The art of Irezumi or Japanese tattooing has been around since approximately 10,000 BC. Tattoos signified numerous things at that time, from punishments to marking new marital relationships. It wasn't until the 1600s (known as the Edo Period) that Japanese tattoos were used for decorative purposes. Since then Irezumi has been adopted by many as an art form and means of depicting and displaying Japanese history.
The process of Irezumi is as unique as its art. A traditional Irezumi artist usually trains under a Master for several years learning not only how to perform the art, but also life long skills. The disciple often lives in the home of master and performs duties such as cleaning, observing and constructing tools. Through this time the disciple will also practice on themselves before taking on any clients. Once the student has learned the intricate practices of Irezumi in most cases the artist will be given a name from the Master with the "Hori" meaning "To Engrave". An example of this would be Horimouja.