Japanese Crane Tattoo Meaning

Animals have emerged as a fantastic tattoo theme for many people. They are used to symbolize different things and the wearer’s character.

The Japanese Crane is a mystical animal in the Asian culture, alongside dragons and tortoises. It was believed to be the “bird of happiness” as it brought about good things. The Japanese crane tattoo meaning is often associated with hope and optimism.

This article looks at what this tattoo means and its symbolism to different people rocking it.

Japanese Crane Tattoo Meaning

The crane is a bird with a long neck and long legs, closely resembling the heron. Different species of crane can be found in various parts of the world. The Japanese cranes, locally known as Tsuru, mostly live in Hokkaido, Japan. Its population has slowly declined over the years, with habitat loss being the primary cause.

Throughout Asian and specifically Japanese cultures, cranes have formed a significant part of the art and traditions. They have been featured in the Samurai’s crests. They are considered birds of peace and happiness due to their link with harmony, good luck, and longevity. A Japanese crane image engraved on the skin could symbolize any of the following:


A crane tattoo symbolizes unmatched grace and beauty in the wearer. If you have seen these birds flying or standing, you may have noticed the elegance they possess. They put no effort to appear graceful. They look poised and elegant, even as they go on with their hunting activities.

Hope, Optimism, and Prosperity

After World War II, the crane became a popular traditional image in Japan. At that time, people were praying for peace to prevail after a long time of war and suffering. They were hopeful that everything would finally get back to normal. It was through this hope that cranes became famous around the world. Today, people tattoo it to show optimism and hope for a bright future in the wake of suffering and adversities.

Health/ Longevity

In the Japanese culture, cranes were regarded as the oldest birds since they could live for more than 1000 years. Its lifespan makes it one of the best symbols to show longevity for tattoo lovers. It shows how long you can live on earth while doing good things in return and positively impacting the world.


Japanese cranes are primarily white colored with a red crown, black neck, and black end of wings. Other species could be grey or brown colored. White has always been a color of divinity and purity. This tattoo, therefore, means the purity of the person who has inked it. It could mean their heart and intentions are pure. 

Loyalty and Faithfulness

The popular symbolic meaning of the Japanese crane is loyalty and fidelity. Cranes are among the animals with fidelity and faithful mating rituals when it comes to love. When cranes mate, they stick to one partner for their entire life. When their partner dies, they get into so much agony and pain and would wish to die too. That’s a high level of loyalty. Inking this image represents a happy and lasting marriage for some people. It can also show that you’re faithful to your goals or decisions. In most cases, you will notice two cranes depicted in the tattoo.

Why Japanese Crane Tattoos Are Popular

The crane is a significant bird in many cultures all over the world. They have appeared in mythologies, folk tales, poetry, artwork, and historical events. Its grace and impressive posture has made it “The King of Birds.” Many people tattoo this image to relate to the crane’s qualities and symbolism.

It is a national treasure in Japan, contributing to its popularity among body art lovers. Crane tattoos are simple, elegant pieces that can be paired with other symbols to enhance their meaning. For instance, combining it with trees, bamboo or stones could also show longevity, while drawing it beside the sun signifies ambition.

The crane is a magical bird that has taken the center of human imagination. Its beauty, elegance, and loyalty make many people want to associate with it. There is no better way to do this than to have it on your skin, where you can constantly see it.

Christians associate this bird with spirituality and grace. This can be traced back to the Bible, where cranes hunted snakes, which were a sort of a devil.

What’s more, Japanese cranes are famous for their simplistic presentation, which is always on-point. These designs require minimal work to make them perfect. You can easily interpret their meaning from a simple design.

Who is the Japanese Crane Tattoo For?

From its mating rituals, a crane tattoo could show a successful marriage where fidelity and love reside. That makes it an excellent tattoo idea for couples. You and your partner can draw identical crane images to signify your love and loyalty.

This tattoo is synonymous with young entrepreneurs and professionals who hope for good luck to come their way. They’re optimistic about securing a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones. Done mainly by men to show their strength, women can have it for a couple of reasons, especially those willing to leave their comfort zone and fight for their benefits.

They could be a perfect choice for you if you have or can relate to the characteristics of grace, purity, and elegance.

Best Placement for Japanese Crane Tattoo

After understanding what Japanese crane tattoos represent and still want to ink one, you need to select an ideal location for the image. The back, breast, neck, shoulder, leg, and arm are the preferred places.

The simplest images can be placed anywhere, like the wrist or the tiniest location. In contrast, sophisticated images can cover the whole sleeve, back, or neck depending on its dimension and complexity.


A tattoo with a crane is an incredible art piece with varied meanings according to cultures and societies. While the European use it to show eternal life, the Chinese link it to represent death and fatality. The Japanese crane tattoo is a great icon to signify persistence, divinity, hope, and loyalty. Its importance can be traced back to numerous societies and faiths.

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About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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