Pop Culture and Japan

The Bodysuit Collector: Doctor Fukushi Masaichi And The Art Of Preserving Tattooed Skin

Dr Fukushi Masaichi.

Tattoos have different meanings across different cultures, running the gamut from sacred art to the mark of criminals. In Japan, tattoos are part of a wider subculture called irezumi, a style of iconography with its own unique images and motifs. 

The most detailed irezumi designs are found in bodysuits, which are often associated with the yakuza. One man was so fascinated by irezumi that it compelled him to start a museum and display irezumi ‘pelts’ for his scientific research. His name was Dr Fukushi Masaichi.

Continue reading “The Bodysuit Collector: Doctor Fukushi Masaichi And The Art Of Preserving Tattooed Skin”

Pop Culture and Japan

Understanding The Language Of Irezumi

Tattoos means different things in different cultures, with specific stylistic choices taking on their own culture and tradition. Japanese tattoos, also known as irezumi, are among the most distinctive. But the word ‘irezumi’ means far more than ‘tattoo.’ Irezumi is a lifestyle choice intwined with the seasons and a representation of an art form that has been built up over centuries.

To truly understand the language of irezumi, it’s worth knowing the words that appear in the category. Yamato Magazine has created a helpful glossary to introduce you to the wonderful world of Japanese tattoos.

Continue reading “Understanding The Language Of Irezumi”

Pop Culture and Japan

A Brief History Of Japanese Bodysuits

Japanese tattoos, also known as irezumi, is a distinctive art style that has developed over hundreds of years. Known for colourful mythology, monsters and nature motifs, irezumi is a beautiful expression of individualism. The ultimate expression of Japanese tattooing is the bodysuit, which covers the skin in a similar way to clothing. Continue reading “A Brief History Of Japanese Bodysuits”

The Kokoro Files

The Kokoro Files: Brian Ashcraft

The Kokoro Files shines a light on the connection that everyday people have with Japan. For some, the connection inspires them to write and that’s definitely the case for Brian Ashcraft. The author of several Japan related books, which includes Japanese Tattoos, Ashcraft is dedicated to his craft.

In this interview, Ashcraft describes what makes irezumi so beautiful and how he started his writing journey. Continue reading “The Kokoro Files: Brian Ashcraft”

Book Reviews

Japanese Tattoos Review: A Book Filled With Beautiful Irezumi

As a fan of tattoos, one of my favourite pastimes is discovering new styles. Irezumi, the art of Japanese tattooing, has always been fascinating to me because of its connotations in Japan. Associated with criminality, irezumi is thought be both shocking and taboo. But outside of Japan, the distinctive style has captivated tattoo enthusiasts and that kind of contrast is intriguing.

Japanese Tattoos, written by Brian Ashcraft and Hori Benny, goes into detail about the history of irezumi and the motifs that make it one of the most beautiful tattoo styles in the world. Continue reading “Japanese Tattoos Review: A Book Filled With Beautiful Irezumi”

Poetry

Soushinbori

Soushinbori

When the needle is pressed to the canvas

Feel sakura bloom

Among torrents of wind and water

Linked with bokashi

Shin bashi-iro swirls

Shu iro fire rising out of shoulders

Follow the path of kitsune

Padding across the forearm

While kirin gallop towards the elbow

Look to Raijin and Fujin

Storming at the boarders of the spine

Waiting for Kintaro to climb from below

And meet Fudo Myoo at the top

Tamatori-Hime keeps her vigil from the thigh

Against the gaggle of yokai parading across the ribcage

Embrace the story of irezumi

And they will never fade