Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World
MARCH 8 – SEPTEMBER 14, 2014
About the Exhibition
Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World explores the artistry of traditional Japanese tattoos along with its rich history and influence on modern tattoo practices in this groundbreaking photographic exhibition.
As Japanese tattoos have moved into the mainstream, the artistry and legacy of Japanese tattooing remain both enigmatic and misunderstood. Often copied by practitioners and aficionados in the West without regard to its rich history, symbolism, or tradition, the art form is commonly reduced to a visual or exotic caricature. Conversely, mainstream Japanese culture still dismisses the subject itself as underground, associating it more with some of its clientele than with the artists practicing it. Both of these mindsets ignore the vast artistry and rich history of the practice.
Although tattooing is largely seen as an underground activity in Japan, Japanese tattoo artists have pursued their passions, applied their skills, and have risen to become internationally acclaimed artists. Through the endurance and dedication of these tattoo artists, Japanese tattooing has also persevered and is now internationally renowned for its artistry, lineage, historical symbolism, and skill.
Curated by Takahiro Kitamura and photographed and designed by Kip Fulbeck, Perseverance is a groundbreaking exhibition and the first of its kind. Perseverance will explore Japanese tattooing as an art form by acknowledging its roots in ukiyo-e prints. This exhibition will also examine current practices and offshoots of Japanese tattooing in the U.S. and Japan.
Perseverance features the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Horitaka, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Through the display of a variety of photographs, including life-sized pictures of full body tattoos, these artists will cover a broad spectrum of the current world of Japanese tattooing.
Mariko Gordon and Hugh Cosman
UCSB Academic Senate
UCSB Department of Art
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Arts Commission
Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation
SHIGE (Shigenori Iwasaki) is a famous tattoo artist, born in 1970 in Hiroshima.
After being a mechanic for Harley-Davidson in Yokohama, he taught himself how to tattoo since 1995 and pursues original Japanese Style with a traditional inspiration.
Courtesy of Gomineko Books: Gomineko Books is proud to announce our newest publication, Adam Kitamoto’s Myths, Gods & Legends. This is a brilliant collection of Kitamoto’s illustrations and tattoo work, highlighting his keen eye for Japanese nuances and aesthetic… (more…)
By Dave Allen
Last year’s devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan deeply affected everyone in our industry. It would be hard not to be. More than 20,000 dead and 100,000’s left rebuilding. As a community we banded together and raised money for relief efforts. After a full year it is still apparent that people in Japan could use our help… (more…)
By Chris Crooks
It has been a really busy few months at White Dragon Tattoo in Belfast. It has been an honor to have Ching from East Tattoo and Takami from Japan guesting at the studio. We decided that it was a great opportunity to work together on something. It is rare to have three japanese style tattooists in the same studio, and most definitely the first time something like this has happen in my country… (more…)
Up and at ‘em! We hit our local ramen spot and jumped on the train. Today we were going to see the Great Buddha! As we exited the train and made our way through the tiny village, Crystal brought our attention to a vending machine that dispenses fortune poos. Yes, little piles of colored plastic poo complete with faces depicting their moods, each with an accompanying fortune! We had to have them… (more…)
By Josh Egnew
A while back some friends from around the globe and I decided that we should all converge in Tokyo to take one of Gomineko’s tours. Crystal Morey is a good friend and fellow tiger, so I knew that we would be in good hands. She’s extremely knowledgeable about Japanese art and culture and speaks fluent Japanese. How could we go wrong? We can’t sir.
Read on my friends…
Courtesy of Gomineko Books: Our new Japanese Mythical Creatures book is finally in the works. Illustrations of Kappa, Kirin, Baku, Nue, Kitsune and Tsuchigumo from over 120 different artists world wide. Reserve your copy today through the website: www.gominekobooks.com.
By Crystal Morey
There are a million differences between the Kanto (Tokyo) region and the Kansai (Osaka/Kyoto) region of Japan. The ramen tastes different. They use different words and expressions. They stand on the opposite sides of the escalator. There are more tacoyaki (fried octopus fritters) shops down in Kansai than convenient stores. In Kansai people just forget to sleep. They go to work, then go out, then walk outside the club or karaoke bar at 5 a.m. and say, “Oops! It’s daytime!” go home, take a shower and do it all over again. It’s insane. Kansai is also home to some off the hook tattooers and is the birthplace of Japanese new school tattooing. 21st century wabori. Strongly influenced by manga, graffiti and graphic design these pioneers have taken Japanese tattooing a whole different direction and the results are incredible. One of my favorite shops in Kansai is Harizanmai in Kyoto – home of Gotch, the owner and Gakkin. These guys have been consistently putting out unique, mind-blowing tattoos for years now and their work continues to evolve. I snagged Gakkin this weekend for an interview…
By Crystal Morey
Additional Photos By Hiro Hata
I recently had the opportunity to go out to Horiren’s studio in Saitama. Self-taught tebori (hand-poke) artist and student of legendary Ozuma Kaname. Horiren discusses the disappearing art of Shamisen Bori.
I love going out to Horiren’s, her studio is standard for a traditional Japanese tebori artist, a secluded house with no street signs, traditional tatami mats and a low kotatsu table. Her client today was an older gentleman with an amazing black and grey koi backpiece, laid out on the mats in fundoshi, the diaper-like attire seen in photos… (more…)
By Chris Crooks
First off, I would like to say how much of an honor and pleasure it is to contribute to such an important blog, in the company of some of the best tattooists in the world, and it is also exciting to track one of my backpieces from start to finish as even I forget how much work goes into the planning and preparation…
[Pictures and full story on expanded page]
The biggest earthquake to shake Japan, since records began almost 150 years ago, hit the country’s northeast coast. That and the tsunami that followed has devastated the island nation of Japan. Japanese influence on modern-day tattooing is undeniably vast. The least we can do is some tattooing in return… (more…)