73-Year-Old Tattoo Artist Is A Legend In Japan

73-Year-Old Tattoo Artist Is A Legend In Japan



[Narrator] This is Horiyoshi III, one of the world's most legendary
full-body-tattoo artists. His given name is Yoshihito Nakano, but he inherited the title Horiyoshi, which is derived from the word "hori," meaning "to carve or engrave." This is his studio, hidden away in an anonymous-looking building
in the city of Yokohama, a 30-minute train ride from Tokyo. The controversial history of
Japanese tattooing, or irezumi, can be traced back to around
10,000 BC, in the Jomon period. The Japanese government
banned tattoos in 1872, as while the practice
had risen as an art form, tattooed marks were still
used as a punishment. The ban wasn't lifted until 1948, but the practice has retained
its image of criminality. For many years, traditional
Japanese tattoos were associated with the
yakuza, Japan's Mafia, and some businesses in
Japan and public baths still ban tattooed customers. Yoshihito's most devoted clientele are covered in full-body designs. These stop sharply at the wrist and ankle, where skin would show when
wearing a traditional kimono. There's also the hikae,
a chest panel to sleeve, nagasode, a full sleeve to the wrist, and shorter sleeves, shichibu and gobu. Donburi soshinbori is a full-body tattoo without the line down
the center of the chest. Until 30 years ago, Yoshihito did his tattoos entirely by hand using the tebori technique, where a needle-tipped
wooden or metal stick inserts ink into the skin. Nowadays, due to health
and time constraints, he completes them freehand
using an electric needle. Yoshihito wants to keep the traditional generational structure of the Horiyoshi. The majority of Yoshihito's clients are now foreign visitors, and he has a large international
following on Instagram. A tattoo in Japan costs
up to 15,000 yen per hour, or $140, but Yoshihito's designs
are more expensive.

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