Molly Skobba: In Japan With Horikiku (Part I)

By Molly Skobba 
I briefly met Horikiku at the Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts last October, and first got to witness him in action. I didn’t get to see a finished piece in person at the convention, the weekend was just too crazy, and so I was super stoked to get a chance to photograph some of his current clients in Japan.

We arrived to a sunny day in Yokohama where it is noticeably warmer than Kyoto, where we were coming from. Horikiku and his wife were kind enough to pick us up at the train station… His wife is so cute and funny, which made it a quick trip to their studio. Their studio is very cool looking. It is minimalist, mostly white with Horikiku’s workspace as the main focal point of the studio.

The energy in the studio was peaceful; I could see that it is a comfortable place for both the tattooer and customer. In this setting, the lucky customer could feel safe and the tattoo artist relaxed to create. I photographed 3 clients of Horikiku’s, each tattoo more amazing than the last. We tried to be as quick as possible as it looked as if they were taking a break from work to come out and get photographed.

Thank you Horikiku’s clients!! You can tell from the studio and looking at his clients how hard Horikiku has been working. After taking some amazing photos, we decided to get something to eat. We ended up at a katsu/grill spot. Katsu is usually pork or shrimp breaded in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. The breadcrumb coating was so delicate and crispy, something the States try to do but just can’t seem to replicate.

Japan is full of wonderful, tasty food!! I had a katsu pork cutlet stuffed with cheese and shiso leaf (Japanese mint), it was served with rice, shredded cabbage, and miso soup. Yumola!! After eating, talking and resting our exploding stomachs, we took off for Yokohama’s Landmark Tower.

Taki wanted to show us this beautiful building and I bought a wallet. We walked around for a bit, it was a beautiful place, connected to a really nice hotel. We needed to get going, so Horikiku and his wife graciously drove us to Yellow Blaze, Shige’s famed studio. After some small talk and greetings to Shige, Horikiku and his wife bade us adieu and left us at Yellow Blaze. It was a great first day in Yokohama with Horikiku and his wife. Thank you so much for letting me photograph your studio and clients, Horikiku, mata ne!

(Horikiku can be found here:

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