In March of last year, Sega sponsored a contest for one lucky winner to get Kazuma Kiryu's badass dragon tattoo from the Yakuza series. For anyone who doesn't know, tattoos in the yakuza are much more important than those in a typical gang; the tattoo artist is meant to see into the person's soul before choosing a design to represent that person's ultimate destiny. It's the art of spiritual permanence.
The lucky winner was Fari Salievski, who just happens to be a 46-year-old full-time MMA trainer and martial arts instructor in Liverpool, Australia. As a 7th degree martial arts master with over 29 years of experience in Hapkido, Brazilian Jiujitsu, and Kickboxing, as well as the owner of Sydney's only American Top Team affiliate where he trains Cage Fighters, he is probably one of the few people appropriate enough and worthy enough to receive the back tattoo.
The artist Josh Roelink from Tatudharma Studios in Sydney applied the tattoo on Fari's back once every three weeks for four hours, taking six months to complete. Fari was not prepared for how taxing a tattoo of that size can be:
The first day was a big learning curve. Although I have had two tattoos previously, they are very small compared to the kakozza tat. After four hours, I thought, hey, this is not too bad, it was 2pm when we were done. By 6:30pm I had to take a class and I had developed a fever and the body was shivering. In summary, it had gone into shock mode which was freaky as I was not in pain and mentally I was feeling great… there are just some things that you cannot control and after the body being traumatized this was the reaction…
You can see the full process below.
When asked how his life has changed, he was surprised by the reaction:
Well, my nickname is now "The Dragon"… Whilst in Thailand, I had people coming up to me and taking photos, other cam round wondering what all the fuss was about thinking I am some kind of celebrity. I could not stop laughing! my Facebook page gets a lot of comments too.