While reading Mullowney's article, I found it interesting how Japanese tattoos were at first art of the common people from printing blocks and then evolved into a higher status of yakuza culture through tattoos. There is also deeper meaning behind these tattoos as Mullowney mentioned that it was a badge of the working class and it was about becoming the artwork. Now, these tattoos have become fashionable for the new generation of working class youths who want to "touch their Japanese-ness," for those who have their own interpretation of their heroes, and for those who just love the exoticism within this artwork (like American culture).
It's interesting how yakuza tattoos have become popular and appeared in popular media. I believe that it's due to Western influence that these images of Yakuza tattoos have shown up in popular media, such as movies, shows, and video games. I believe that these tattoos are popular among individuals of this generation because of the exoticism these tattoos express and the Western idea of being an individual for Scrase states that, "Unlike the yakuza world, which employs tattoo as a statement of collective identity, newer wearers appear to regard tattoos as statements of individual identity (Scrase 163). Yakuza tattoos appear to be very unique and have many symbolic meanings so it's possible that people today want to express that in their own individuality by getting yakuza-like tattoos. Influence from the popular media portraying these tattoos may also play a major role in these tattoos among today's inviduals.
There is a video game series called Yakuza that features some of the characters having tattoos.
[image source: http://www.gameguru.in/action/2007/15/yakuza-3-confirmed-for-the-ps3/ ]
The movie, American Yakuza also features yakuza tattoos.
[image source: http://www.flash-bang-movie-reviews.com/American-Yakuza.html ]
Although Japanese yakuza tattoos are getting popular today, there is that possibility that the tattoo culture in the yakuza may slowly die out.
[Compact Challenge update]
I haven't bought anything since my last blog post... just food. haha.
- Hope (Hyeon) Nam
[inside source: Paul Mullowney Ed. “Wood Skin Ink: The Japanese Aesthetic in Modern Tattooing” reader. ]
Scrase, Timothy J., Todd Holden, and Scott Baum. Globalization, Culture and Inequality in Asia. Rosanna, Melbourne: Trans Pacific, 2003. Print.