Our most popular ever tee-shirt is now back in stock. A mosaic of 9 traditional Japanese masks on the front and our Authentink Tattoo logo on the back!
These types of traditional mask designs are used heavily in Japanese tattoo iconography, some are more recognisable than others…
The Hannya mask is a popular motif for Traditional Japanese tattoos (bottom right on tee). It depicts a woman so overcome with envy and vengeance that she takes on the form of a demon overcome with jealousy and anger. Although she has demonic characteristics, a few human traits still remain.
The Hannya Mask is commonly used in Shinto ceremonial practices and used in traditional Japanese theatre,known as Noh Kabuki or Noh theater. The plays will depicts acts based on folk stories that date back centuries, some as far back as the 14 century. It can come in neutral, bland colors or very vibrant, bold colors. If it uses more extreme colors, this portrays a deeper emotion of violence in that character. Her spiked horns and fang-like teeth are always prominent, as well as her stoned cold gleaming eyes.
The Kitsune Mask (top left on tee) is a mask of a fox. In Japanese culture, Fox has contradictory behavior. It can be benevolent (good) or malevolent (evil) depending on the situation. In Shinto religion, Fox is a messenger of the god Inari, who is the protector of rice, agriculture, and fertility. Fox brings rich harvest, and it is a symbol of wealth.
Lesser know ones are the Tengu mask (middle row right on tee) which represents a bird-like protector of sacred forests and mountains. It looks like a human with a big nose.
The Kappa Mask (bottom row left on tee) represents river monster that can attack swimmers. This creature can challenge a man to sumo wrestling match.
A personal favourite of mine is the Hyottoko Mask, (top row right on tee). This one is a comical Japanese character, portrayed through the use of a mask. His mouth is puckered and skewed to one side. He is often wearing a scarf around his head (usually white with blue dots). There is a similar character for women called Okame or Otafuku. The origin of the name comes from “fire” and “man,” because the character is blowing fire with a bamboo pipe, hence the shape of the mouth.
Pop by the shop to buy yours, or head to our webstore to get one delivered to your door step. Available in sizes S, M, L, XL, 2XL.