The Backpiece

Backpiece is tattooed area which occupies entire backside from neck till about 10 – 12 inches below the crease of the buttocks. This is the biggest area of the body that can be tattooed and viewed at one glimpse, that’s why traditionally a back piece normally done as a starting point and a central part of a Japanese bodysuit. The other parts of a body are just a kind of add-ons to support a main subject matter of the backpiece.

Japanese Tattoo Crane
Japanese Tattoo
Se-Wari. Full backpiece tattoo.


Traditionally there are 2 different kinds of a backpiece:

* SENAKA NUKI-BORI – A piece of tattoo which takes entire backside done as ‘nuki-bori’ -without any background frame. It said, that this type of tattoo is more feminine, though it is mostly used as a first step for SE-WARI, where all background elements added later.

* SENAKA GAKU-BORI or SE-WARI  – Traditional Japanese full back piece which is done as ‘Gaku-Bori’ -framed tattoo and includes buttocks and thighs. This type of tattoo is also called KAME NO KOU: THE TORTOISE SHELL.


Any large scale motif based on Japanese mythology and scenes from nature can be done as a backpiece tattoo. It can be done as a Gaku-Bori, with dark and vast backgrounds based on water, wind and clouds that encompasses the entire area around the main motif and completely fills the back side including buttocks. Or it can be done as a Nuki-Bori, tattoo motif without any background elements. In both cases central motif will take main part of the composition.

Such things like ‘half back’, ‘lower/upper back’, ‘[left or right]side of a back’ traditionally can NOT be done.

Technically yes, and this is called ‘one point tattoo’. In our studio we specialize in Gakubori – framed tattoo and do ONLY large scaled tattoos which take entire body part and naturally framed by that part of the body. If you gonna get your tattoo done in Irezumi but a backpiece is too much for you, we’d recommend you to get a short arm sleeve.

Other Body Parts
Leg Sleeve