Otokodate - chivalrous men (男伊達) (genre )



Otokodate are often referred to as 'chivalrous men'. Willem R. van Gulik and Robert Schaap refer to them as 'street knights'.

Van Gulik in his book on tattoos, Irezumi, gives some background to otokodate and tattoos on page 29:

"Aside from tattooing figuring as a vow or pledge between two individuals, there also was the kind of vow tattoo that existed in one's relation to the gods or simply tattooings reflecting one's personal thoughts or whims. Examples of these categories confirm the fact that incidentally the tattooing of short phrases was also practiced by males. Around the Empō-Tenna period (1673-1681) it is recorded that a certain street knight (otokodate) named Tsurigane Mizaemon had a tattoo consisting of six characters on his back, reading Namu Amida Butsu, 'I sincerely believe in Amitābha Buddha'."