Tattoos have long occupied a place in Japanese society, generally in the shadows of the underworld and the realm of taboo.

Ornate to the point of beautiful, tattoos have a mystique, from the pain that comes from having them done, the courage to endure it, and their significance not only to the wearer but to the uninitiated.

More people in Japan, especially younger members of society, are electing to adorn themselves with the body art, and they're not necessarily keeping it under wraps. Some are meanwhile being inspired by famous figures who pursue what seems like a path of independence, such as pop singer Namie Amuro, who has not shied away from tattoos.