Tengu are fantastic creatures from Japanese folk tradition, shown (and tattooed!) alone or in broader compositions.

They are generally depicted as bird-men, with a long, prominent nose or even a beak, wings on their head, a red face (which can also be green or black), human ears and hair, and a plumed tail. They live in the mountains of Japan and are often shown dressed as hermits.

Ata, On The Road, Indonesia
Ata, On The Road, Indonesia

These creatures fickle and capricious and though sometimes described in legend as benign, are also presented as evil. Proud, easily angered, and particularly intolerant of braggarts and blasphemers (as well as those who abuse their power or harm the forests in which they live!), it is said that at times they like to play tricks on humans, disguising themselves as wayfarers.

Dan Cameron, Ambassador Tattoo, Calgary, Canada
Dan Cameron, Ambassador Tattoo, Calgary, Canada

Like all the fascinating characters of Japanese tradition, throughout the ages, Tengu have been studies by artists and tattooists who have depicted them in the most varied ways.

Allow yourselves to be inspired by our gallery and choose your favourite Tengu tattoo!