8 tattoos which can get troubles to travelers

04 / 04 / 2019 Oleg Zarvsky
Yakuza's tattoo
Yakuza's tattoo / Source: google.com

In recent years the active popularization of tattoos has practically erased for a simple man the boundaries between simple tattoos and the symbolism in tattoo that meaning is rather serious in some cultures or nations. Modern youth sees in the culture of foreign gangs a new fashion trend, without thinking about how foreign people in the countries to which they will go in the future will react to their tattoos. Do not neglect the symbolism that many foreign cultures gives to tattoo!

Color tattoos in Japan

About the attitude of the Japanese to the tattoo has already been said many words, however, people still do not give them the proper meaning, until they meet the harsh Japanese reality. In the country where the art of tattooing has thousands of years of history, in modern society there is a negative attitude towards it. This is largely due to the fact that in this country, tattoos have become the main symbol of the criminal world, where until the 16th century servants of the law tattooed criminals. A few century after, members of the one of the most famous gang Yakuza started imprint on their bodies the history of their criminal life. Until 1950 in Japan, the tattoo was strictly prohibited and even now, after almost 70 years, it is persecuted. Tattoo studios and shops around the country are become the targets of raids by the authorities.

So, if you have colored tattoos on visible parts of the body - be prepared for judgmental looks and actions from the Japanese. For example, you may not be allowed into a public bath, restaurant or even into a hotel. For the rest, there are no serious laws prohibiting tattoos in Japan for foreign citizen.

Japanese traditional tattoo Yakuza

Tattoos with the image of Buddha

For many travelers, Asia is one of the most attractive places in the world. Buddhist temples, ancient traditions attract tourists from all over the world, enchanting their with its tranquility. After returning home many people wanting to capture the emotions they received in the tattoo and they choose as the plot the main religious symbol of those places - the Buddha. However, not that much people know that the such tattoo not only can look offensive to Buddhists, but also completely close a several of Asian countries for the unwary tourist. You know that for example in Sri Lanka - you can easily be deported from the country cause of wearing Budda's image in tattoo. We have already written about features that you should not forget, if you really decided to make a tattoo with the Buddha, however, we recall the main thing: The Buddha image should be placed as high as possible closer to the head. This may be the upper back, shoulder or neck. None of the tattoos depicting Buddhist sacred symbols can be placed below the waist. Be careful, because some images for ones are only a decoration, but for others they are sacred!

Budda's tattoo

Biker tattoos in Denmark

In Denmark it is forbidden in general to place tattoos on visible parts of the body: hands, wrists, neck, face. However, in 2010, the biker's tattoos received special attention of the authorities. They can not be placed also on the arms and shoulders. For non-compliance of this rule, the owner of such a tattoo faces a small, but still unpleasant penalty of 1,000 kroons. The presence of prohibitions does not mean at all that there is no tattoo culture in Denmark. It is simply hidden in the underground and uses all sorts of tricks to avoid problems with the law. For example, the famous tattoo artist Colin Dale often travels with his customers outside the country to make them a tattoo in the desired place and avoid problems with the law.

Biker tattoo

Nazi symbolism

Since the Second World War, Nazism is associating with the most terrible things and it will forever remain a scar on the body of human history. No one can forbid you to put Nazi symbols on your body, but the public demonstration of such tattoos in a number of countries is punishable by law. Nazi propaganda is officialy prohibited in Germany - where wearing such tattoos impose a penalty on the owner (during a public demonstration) or imprisonment for up to 3 years. In Russia and the CIS countries - for the propaganda of Nazism faces a real criminal sentence and jail.

Nazi symbolism tattoo

Russian prison tattoo

And since we have already mentioned Russia, let's talk about the peculiarities of the Russian tattoo culture. The Russian prison tattoo with its detailed description deserves a separate series of articles. Today we will focus only on a few examples: The cross on the chest - denoting the criminal authority and the stars on the shoulders - belonging to the “thieves in law”. Until now, a serious attitude to the symbols of prison tattoos, as well as the hierarchy they denote, remain very real in Russian prisons and some distant regions, so we would not recommend putting such pictures on your body without real reason. Due to the wide popularity of Russian prison tattoos in the USA and Europe in last years, the significance of these two symbols is known in almost all corners of the planet.

Russian prison tattoo


This tattoo is found in almost all cultures and on all continents has one well-established meaning. No matter how beautiful the drawing is, most people perceive the web tattoo as the mark of a person who came back from jail or become drug addicted. It will take many years before this tattoo loose it's meaning. And you must think twice before get it.

Web tattoo

Tear tattoo on face

We are moving on, across the Atlantic! In Western and Latin American prison culture, one of the most common symbols of the criminal world is the tear on the face, meaning that the tattoo carrier killed or attempted to kill some one. Now, in parallel with the increase in demand for Russian prison tattoos in the West, the demand for Latin American prison tattoos is growing among Russian young people. However, we must no forget that some images for us it's just a picture, for others it is a reason to get to you real problems. Therefore, if you have already “decorate” your faces with tears - be prepared for the cautious behavior of Western people, as well as possible aggression from members of local gangs.

Tear tattoo on face

Three leaf clover

Unfortunately, this is not only a symbol of the St. Patrick's Day so beloved by us, celebrated in all Irish pubs around the world, but it is also a sign of the largest criminal group of white racists in the United States - the Aryan Brotherhood, which has about 15,000 members inside and outside US federal prisons. This group has about 20% of all prison killings in the United States. So, if you are a "lucky" owner of the three leaf clover on the visible part of your body - it is better for you to try to not catch the eye of Americans, especially Afro-Americans.

Three leaf clover tattoo

As you can see, the variety of cultures and traditions gives born to many tattoos, the meaning of which can cardinally differ from the original image. You don't need to know everything, but if you travel a lot around the world, in order to avoid unpleasant situations, it is better to know about the meaning of the future tattoo BEFORE you get it.

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