Japanese-style tattoos have definitely become more popular in the US — all you have to do is look at the Don Ed Hardy prints to see that. But tebori, the traditional Japanese art of hand-created tattoos, is still a lesser known (though perhaps more respected) art. Tebori tattoos as we know them have a history dating back to at least the 18th century, and the various techniques used for creating them are complex and require years of apprenticeship.
Because it's a traditional art and not a sign of teenage rebellion, the attitudes surrounding these types of tattoos are more serious and personally reflective. Tebori tattoos also tend to be "bodysuit" style, so people who get them have usually worked with a tebori master or commissioned a design for their ink. Working with a tattoo master allows you to have a piece of art permanently engraved on your body, and indeed, tebori loosely translates to "hand carving." The wearer of the piece literally becomes a human sculpture. It's a refreshing view on body art, and many tebori tattoos, like these works from master tattoo artist Horimyo, are stunning in their beauty and scale.