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The Fudo-myoo is a popular choice amongst those looking for a tattoo that has an artistic as well as cultural impact. If you want to know more about one of the most prominent, powerful and mysterious figures in Japanese tattoo culture and Buddhism, then you’ve come to the right place.

This guide will take you on an exploratory adventure into the history, symbolism and the best way to rock a Fudo-myoo tattoo.

Tony Hu - Fudo-myoo tattoo in progress

What Is The Fudo-myoo?

Originating as a Hindi deity, and later adopted into Japanese Buddhism, the Myōō are protective deities whose job is to encourage people to follow the Buddhist path or way of life. They are also known as the ‘Immoveable ones’ and are particularly recognised in the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. In Sanskrit, they are named Akala (or Acala), which means literally, ‘unmoveable’.

The Fudo-myoo is the ultimate protector. He is the physical manifestation of Dainichi Nyorai, which is one of the best-known of the Myōō. Fudo-myoo is the central deity and the most recognisable myōō. The Fudo-myoo may look angry but his purpose is to change anger into salvation.

Given its popularity, it is not uncommon to see his statue around many places in Japan, especially in nature along a mountain path or near a waterfall.

Red Fudo

What is The Meaning Behind the Fudo-myoo?

Despite the badass appearance, Fudo-myoo is considered to be a good guy, subduing evil forces and convincing unbelievers into following the Buddhist law. He is often pictured sitting or standing on a rock, depicting his unmoveable faith. A great representation of your own solidarity, strength, and unwavering principles.

According to Japanese Buddhist belief, the Fudo-myoo can also bring monetary fortune, and as such is also a symbol of good luck and prosperity. He is also the patron of people born in the zodiac year of the Rooster.

What Does The Fudo-myoo Look Like?

The Fudo-myoo has had his image preserved in some of the most incredible and astounding Japanese artworks. Fierce, wise and protective, the Fudo-myoo is one of the ‘five wisdom kings’, which are deities revered in Vajrayana Buddhism. The wisdom kings are a group of warlike deities and they usually appear in aggressive and threatening postures. The Fudo-myoo is always pictured in the centre of the group of deities.

The Fudo-myoo is usually pictured with a very angry facial expression, with a very wrinkled brow, squinted eyes and bared teeth. He is often pictured with braided hair on the left side of his head. The Fudo-myoo has a round belly and is usually pictured engulfed in flames and seated or stood on a large rock. He usually holds a sword in one hand and a lariat (a type of rope) in the other. The sword is sometimes pictured flaming or with a dragon curled around it. The Fudo-myoo is usually surrounded by a flaming nimbus (dark cloud) which is known as the ‘Kakura flame’.

The Fudo-myoo is sometimes flanked by two attendants, named Kongara Dōji and Seitaka Dōji.

Tristen Fudo Myoo Hand Tattoo

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Types of Fudo-myoo Tattoos

There are many ways to wear the Fudo-myoo tattoo. In the Irezumi tradition, the Fudo-myoo is usually used to cover a large area, and as such, works really well as a back or front tattoo. The larger space allows the work to detail all of the different features of the image.

Given that his image has so many important features, the Fudo-myoo is the perfect custom tattoo for anyone considering large tattoos to cover a substantial area of the body and one that will entail a good amount of detail.

Ready to Get your Own Fudo-myoo Tattoo?

The talented team at Chronic Ink in Toronto, Mississauga and Vancouver are ready to help you get the perfect tattoo you’ve always wanted. Their team is highly experienced, professional and friendly, having helped countless individuals bring their vision of Asian style tattoos into reality.

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