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Japanese Frog Tattoo, the complete guide!

One of the key elements for Japanese Tattoo are frogs, and we do love frogs, you know.

In this article, I’m going to tell you more about:

  • All the meanings of frogs in Japanese Culture.
  • Some about the historical and cultural background.
  • Some about Kappa figures, the frog-like creatures from Japanese folklore.
  • And, of course, a lot of different frog tattoos in Japanese style so you can get inspired!

Let’s go!

Some About Frogs in Japanese Culture

Just a few things about frogs in Japanese Culture, not much, I promise.

Frogs are a thing in Japanese Culture, in fact, they have been there for thousands of years, primarily because frogs were important for agriculture, and, you know, 95% of the world’s people were farmers and ranchers until 100 years ago.

The first time frogs appeared in Japanese literature was in the Heian Period (from 794 to 1185), and, from this time to nowadays, frogs were from poetry to manga or anime.

Japanese Frog Tattoo Meaning

Of course, frogs have a strong meaning in Japanese culture, and I want you to know that, because I know a lot of tattoos are done for ceremonial reasons, not only aesthetic.

The main meaning for frog in Japanese culture is about good luck, in fact, in Japanese frog is “kaeru”, and this word is used to say “to return ” to, so is good luck for travelers so they can come back home.

Another nice meaning for a frog tattoo in Japanese style is protection, because in Japanese folklore usually frogs protects travelers.

And, finally, the third one should be rebirth. You know, frogs do metamorphosis, and this is quite a transformation, or a rebirth.

Nice, isn’t it?

Let’s talk a little bit more about Kappa figure

Kappa, in Japanese, 河童 are a very strange creatures from the Japanese tradition, with a lot of symbolism.

First, these creatures are like a very weird frog (sometimes, a turtle) with human features and a head dish.

This head dish is their “source of power”, if the water spills, they just die.

The point here is that the Kappa figure is not “a good one”, is more the bad guy in the film.

Kappa Tattoo Meaning

Because of this, a Kappa tattoo is something different from a frog one.

Here, the first one is a sign of warning.

The Kappa figure is the main reason to have caution on what you are doing, being cautious and prudent.

The second meaning is about respect and protocol. Kappa creatures have to  be on this way because, if the water spills, they die, you know.

And, of course, you can find Kappa creatures all around manga, anima, and traditional art too.

In fact, in some places in Japan like Tokyo, Ushiku, Komaki and Misawa there are Kappa Festivals, called Kappa Matsuri!

Some Frog Tattoos in Japanese Style for you!

And now, a list for you about Frog and Kappa Japanese style tattoos:

Traditional Frog Tattoo


The first one is a simple, very traditional and beautiful tattoo, isn’t it?

Just the frog tattoo, with no background, with a bōjutsu, the traditional long stick in almost every martial art in Asia.

It is very usual to represent frogs in Japanese style doing people stuff, you know, eating, running, doing war, etc.

This tattoo is done by Lennard Schuurmans, tattooing in Amsterdam in Tattoo Joris & Co and in The White Rabbit.

Angry Frog Tattoo


This one is something different, because it is not done in 100% traditional style, it has a lot of cartoon stuff, you know, but we think it’s beautiful in the same way.

As you can see, black and gray, an angry samurai war frog, and tons of personality.

The tattoo is done by Philipe, working at Alfred Street Tattoo, in Mermaid Beach, Australia.

New Traditional Japanese Frog Tattoo


I do love this style, because it mixes very traditional elements with a very new tattoo style, very nice color palette and something like 3D illustration that makes me really happy.

This time, there is another Japanese frog tattoo, eating ramen with the traditional hat.

The tattoo is done by Devon Plopper, another nice tattoo artist you may follow, of course.

Another Traditional Japanese Frog, this time, a War One


Let’s move back to the most traditional part of the Japanese frog tattoo, what do you think about this?

One more time, a frog doing “people stuff” like doing war, with a couple of swords (surely wakizashi, also named shōtō), all in very vibrant traditional colors like black, red or orange.

This fantastic work is done by Shodai Horibaño, a wonderful tattoo artist working in Senna Tattoo NYC, of course, in New York City.

Traditional Frog Tattoo with a Bow


I want to show you this one because of the different pose and arm, this time, a bow.

I think the position of the frog is very defined, this time from the back, and you can see the humanoid parts like the hands very, very well.

This tattoo is done by Magic Mirror Tattoo, in Millersville, Maryland, and we do love the green tone, the skull detail in the back on the frog, and the white spaces.

Nice work there!

Black and Gray Neo Traditional Frog Tattoo


Nice one, isn’t it?

This could be named as a Neo Traditional tattoo, because you have all the ingredients for this.

You know, you have a very well finished tattoo in black and gray, with a very high level dotwork, and a nice illustration style.

Moreover, we do love the design and the linework.

Talking about the frog, one more time, a war one, with a kimono and the wakizashi again, and we do love the two skulls in detail.

This artwork is done by JoseZ Inferno, she is a fantastic tattoo artist usually tattooing in Barcelona and Granada, both in Spain.

Neo Traditional Japanese Frog Tattoo with Human Head


Yes, Japanese frog tattoos can be like this one too…

As you can see, this neo-traditional tattoo is another war frog too! This time, picking the head of another very traditional human head design.

We have included this on the list so you can see different options, and this tattoo done by Carlos, a wonderful tattoo artist based in Santiago de Chile with a very personal style, we think deserves to be seen.

Traditional Kappa Tattoo


As in the Japanese Frog Tattoo, we started with something very traditional, now, in the Kappa part, too.

This tattoo is maybe the most traditional way to get inked with a Kappa, because of the design, the colors and the malevolent pose.

This tattoo is from Three Tides Tattoo, a very nice tattoo studio in Osaka, Japan, you may follow.

Another nice Traditional Kappa Tattoo


Another nice example of real traditional Kappa tattoo is this one, one more time, because of the designs, the lines and the expression, like if it were in an ancient book before getting inked.

This time, the tattoo was done by Taymon, in Seoul, South Korea.

Orange and Yellow Kappa Tattoo


And, finally, I want to show you this Kappa tattoo, fully colored and very, very traditional too, like in the old books.

I do like the design and the color palette, I think it has a lot of personality.

This one is done by Raphael Tiraf, from Mulhouse, in France, and he has a lot of nice designs on his Instagram account.

I hope you have enjoyed this list about frogs in Japanese Style and, of course, our beloved Kappas!

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