Recommended Posts

Over the past few months we've had some awesome conversations in the various tattoo forum threads on Japanese tattoo designs/tattooers, Japanese tattoo politics, and much much more around Japanese culture both historical and present day. Plus seen some great tattoo pictures from smaller tattoos to larger Japanese inspired body suits. Through all of this I noticed a thread solely dedicated to Japanese Tattoos was never started so the time has come....

For me I have been watching Stewart Robson's work on his blog as well as some of his work that has been posted on this site for some time now. I love the fact that he does works in progress pictures so as a fan of tattoos you can watch the process unfold on larger japanese tattoos. What stands out to me right now other than the attention to details and dedication by both tattooers and tattoo collectors to invest so much time into the piece but also the limited colors. The use of so much black with only a few colors if any really make a Japanese inspired tattoo standout to me. For one of the pictures below by Stewart I mentioned this I think in the Full Back Piece Thread is the carp on the upper right leg....so sick! From the tail to the face, the shading and colors matching how you'd potentially see one in a koi pond.

I have more tattooers whose Japanese tattoos I follow regularly but will start there. Look forward to hearing everyone else's stories/opinions and seeing your pictures.

Stewart Robson Blog (The photos I grabbed are recent ones but often times scroll all the way through all the pages and am never disappointed as it is time well spent!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread, Lochlan. A while back, I started this thread about Brian Kaneko. He's doing a full suit on a client and has been posting progress pics. Fantastic stuff!

I have a full Japanese backpiece and one full Japanese sleeve, so I obviously have an appreciation of that style, but at the same time, I'm glad that I have the partial suit that I do. I admire people who get ONE suit in a cohesive style, but that just ain't me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To me, unless you are from Japan, and a member of a Japanese "business" family, the Japanese suit is out of place. The more you learn about the culture and the history of Japanese tattooing, the "mystery " and fantasy of the work dissolves. What's left is a very rigid culture that is out of synch with western ways. The work is no doubt beautiful when done properly. But think of this, those suits are earned within their culture. When Americans, and other westerners coop the style, the core intent of the suit in Japanese culture, has been stripped away, and we are left with surface decoration mostly derived from Chinese art and literature. I like it when westerners add their own flavor. If a westerner is making what they consider traditional Japanese work, they are posing. Even if some of your relatives lived in Japan generations ago. You are living in Japan making tattoos in that system, or, you are offering imitation Japanese traditional work. With that in Mind, there are some awesome, inspiring tattoos made by Traditional Japanese artists. And on occasion, I do some poser Japanese work myself. As a westerner, the idea of middle age men having "masters" just does not work for me. The Japanese philosopher, DT Suzuki said something to the effect..... If you want to understand Japan, you must start with India. On that note see you in a couple of weeks, time for another digital cleanse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
, and we are left with surface decoration mostly derived from Chinese art and literature.

Its my understanding that one of the most well known and appreciated subject matter for traditional Japanese work is in fact of Chinese origin .The 1o8 heroes of the Suikoden although mythical is based on a book counted as one of the three great classical novels of Chinese literature also known as the heroes of the water margin .It became adapted into Japanese folklore and of course immortalised mainly through the work of Kuniyoshi and Horiyoshi III.

I agree a lot of artists fake the funk, especially those who seek to imitate the very rigid paramaters of trad Japanese .However i feel the Japanese style has benefitted from,in my opinion ,its treatment by artists like Hardy ,Deutsche ,Trevino and Lehi amongst others .I'll use Lehi's warriors as an example - his interpretation seems to benefit from his comic book stylings -to my eye his guys seem more hungry ,more brooding befitting a gang of ruffians and outlaws uprising against the extravagent luxurious society of their time .Think sinewy ancient MMA types living off a restrictive diet based on seafood rice etc !!

I fully agree and "like when Westerners add their own flavour" i don't think these guys are trying to be Japanese but rather taking the subject and adding some Western sass .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fucking hypnotic. I love Mattis stuff. I was going to get my back done by him years ago but he had to cancel the appointment just week before the trip. Had some family thing and I undesrtood completely. Too bad I being stupid didn't understant to save the money for few years more :D Gone in the wind...

edit. Kyle jumped in between! Im referring to the video :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't want to start a new thread for this, but I was wondering if I could get some information regarding a style of Japanese tattooing. I believe that some Japanese tattooing uses pages of text from plays in the work. I am trying to find out what the style is called, or any examples of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry if this is the wrong place to ask but could anybody recommend me some good traditional Japanese artists in Canada? I am moving to Toronto this summer, and wish to start a full body suit. I know of Daniel Innes already but would like to know of as many as I can before I start my journey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually now that I think about it, it would almost be easier to travel to the north of the U.S.A than to travel across Canada to Vancouver, so if anybody could recommend any good artists in MA or NY, that would be great. I already know of Horizakura and am greatly considering him, but other options would be great. Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to get a 9 tailed kitsune, but i want it to have the vibe and feel of the Japanes style tigers. In other words i dont want the fox to look silly, cute, whimsical...

I have 40+ hours of Japanese style stuff already and hopefully i can get a sitting with Dana Helmuth again, but would consider some local options also like Brian Bruno, Jinx Proof, or even Chad Koeplinger...

thoughts, ideas, advice?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
@ANTONIO - for westerners, it is indeed a weird placement. But this is on a Japanese guy so I'm guessing its so that it can only ever be seen when he wants it to be seen ;) some companies over there have very strict rules about tattoos, so if your a 'salary man' you could loose your job/whole life if anyone found out about it. (the tattoo is still bad ass... pun intended.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So I've been curious about people's attitudes in regards to this for a while, for discussion's sake, what constitutes a traditional Japanese tattoo to any of you? What makes it "Traditional" Japanese as opposed to just plain Japanese style? What makes it traditional "enough"? Is it the following of the rules? The use of hand tools? The "hori" title? The artist's ethnicity (kind of like sushi chef bias, you all know what I'm talking about)? Sticking to classic japanese subjects used 200 years ago like the dragon, ho-o, hannya, warrior prints, etc., when does it go from Japanese to traditional japanese? Does it become traditional "enough" when:

- the artist is Japanese, born and bred, and knows the stories but the caveat being they use a machine and have no title?

-How about the person given a title by a master but never formally apprenticed? And if so, those given a title because a master felt they deserved a title vs those who seek out a master to legitimize them?

-What about if the artist is non-Japanese but knows the stories and gives him/herself a title and goes a little native by wearing kimonos and chanting sutras? Is that still traditional at heart, if he tries and follows the "rules" to the best of their studies?

Or is it only traditional for you when a person is formally apprenticed by a master and given a title and tattoos by hand?

So that's the artist training/knowledge aspect, but what about the visual aspect? Do you only consider it traditional if it maintains that flat woodblock effect? What about complexity of subject in relation to background? When does it become too complex? Too simple? Some purists have said Horiyoshi III is not truly traditional. So what makes a tattoo traditional? What makes the person traditional?

I'm just curious what others have to say. Me? By now I think it's known that I get tattooed in the US by a Jewish girl originally from New York. I think her work and knowledge is pretty traditional. "Enough" for me anyway. And my own backpiece? While not traditionally based off a specific woodblock print or a classical story or noh/kabuki play, it is based off of a historical figure and the image is loosely referencing a more contemporary painting rather than print (although very loosely). Those references are enough for me to consider it pretty traditional too. Then there's the flatness/detail level/composition of the work. All were...well you get the point. That's me. What about you now? What about a piece or artist is there that it makes it "enough" to be considered traditional?

Oh and this question completely excludes the Chris O'donnells and Mike Rubendalls who freely admit they take it so far, then go their own route and do not consider themselves traditional Japanese tattoo artists or consider their work traditional. Also I'm definitely not saying "traditional" is better than more contemporary styles. Just a question given this posting and past ones where legitimacy vs. gimmick have been discussed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.