Hoju Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

Hoju Tattoos: Symbolism, Meanings & More

If you’ve ever seen a Hoju and you aren’t familiar with them, they can seem a bit odd. A small sphere with an odd-shaped, but distinctive base, which is often wreathed in fire. What you are looking at is the Hoju and this wish-fulfilling gem has a long history in Japanese culture.

Today we’ll take a closer look at Hoju tattoos and the meanings of Hojus themselves, so that you can get a better idea of the stories and meanings behind them. These magical gems are said to give blessings to those who have suffered and the gift of understanding reality itself – read on and we’ll tell you why!


What is the History of Hoju Tattoos?

If you love Japanese culture, Hoju tattoos are definitely an appealing choice. Depicted most commonly as fiery orbs, Hojus are essentially wish-fulfilling jewels, which are there to bring blessings upon those who have suffered greatly in life.

It’s a legend that has been around awhile, with some of the oldest Hoju depictions being much like the modern depictions you see in Hoju tattoos today. In them, the jewel, called a ‘kuurin’ is set upon a very basic sort of pedestal called a ‘gorinto.

Hojus are quite integrated in Japanese culture, often seen decorating temples and shrines, and it was believed that Hojus also helped their owners to gain an understanding of the cosmic law of Dharma, that they might truly understand reality itself!

As far as how long people have been getting Hoju tattoos is hard to say, but it’s worth mentioning that Japan has a history with tattooing that stretches back close to 5000 years. As colorful and often cartoonish as Hojus sometimes look, they definitely have some serious and rich history behind them.


What Do Hoju Tattoos Symbolize?

Hoju tattoos can symbolize something as simple as a love of Japanese culture, but they can also be quite a lot more than that. Their wish-power, for instance, is said to come from Buddha, and so Hoju tattoos might simply be an expression of their owner’s Buddhist beliefs.

One who has suffered greatly but made a change for the good in their life might wear a Hoju tattoo in order to communicate their suffering and blessings to the world – a symbol of hope, if you will, or simply a synopsis of their life so far.

Others with a more mystical bent might want to wear one as a way to attract the mysteries associated with the symbol. After all, if it is said to teach Dharma and this belief is an ancient one, might there not something to it?

Finally, a Hoju could just be a nod towards aesthetics as the look and popular depictions are certainly pleasing to the eye.  The actual symbolism behind any tattoo really depends on the owner, but now you  know what it is traditionally and that should give you a head-start on your own designs!

What Do Hoju Tattoos Mean?

Hoju tattoos can mean a lot of things. They can be a choice that was made for aesthetics alone or if the owner is from Japan, a way to express an interesting story from one’s own culture. For those who aren’t from Japan, but find the culture fascinating, Hoju tattoos are a means of expressing this fascination.

For Buddhists or those who like the philosophy, Hoju tattoos can even help as a meditative focus or an affirmation that one is seeking to embrace and fully comprehend the Dharma. With it’s reputation for granting wishes to those who have suffered, this might also simply be a tattoo choice meant to bring peace and good fortune.


Where Do Hoju Tattoos Usually Go?

While tattooing has been around in Japan for a long time, it’s a bit of a social taboo to show one’s tattoos in public. As such, Hoju tattoos are traditionally hidden.

 You might put one on your ankle or on the upper arm where clothing can easily conceal it and as decorative and lovely as they are, they are also a popular back piece option.

It’s really going to depend on you, of course, and if you don’t live in Japan yourself then you don’t have to worry about a social stigma if you put it somewhere visible. Many of the examples that we have seen have actually been quite bold, as well, with forearm and even hand-Hojus displayed proudly in amazing colors.

Now that you know where they usually go, you can follow suit or get creative with your placement as you like – it’s your ink, after all, and no one can tell you otherwise!


Characteristics and Styles of Hoju Tattoos

As Hoju tattoos are traditionally Japanese, then this is the most popular tattoo style for them, but other styles such as New School or even photorealistic renderings from shrine-Hojus are also quite beautiful and striking in the exaggeration or stark detail which they provide.

As it is a very old subject, you can get quite creative and see what comes of it – you might just be amazed. Geometric Hojus or even electronic Hoju designs might give you a look and a personalization that really shakes up the tradition or honors it in your own personal way, depending on what you are going for.

As long as you’ve got the kuurin and the gorinto, you’ve got a Hoju, and they even make a profound statement rendered in a Minimalistic way, so think long and hard on it and see what happens. Your Hoju is all about you, after all, so make sure that the world knows it.


Some closing words on Hoju tattoos

Hojus have a lot of history to them and pleasing aesthetics that lend well to all sort of creative interpretations and ranges of color – or even it’s lack, as it’s an old and well-recognized symbol in Japan.

As such, you’ve got a lot of options for customizing a Hoju tattoo of your own that you’ll be sure to enjoy for the years to come. If the Buddhist legends are correct, you might even spend those years a much wiser person than you began!

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