Tattoo by Miyazo. Photo by Kip Fulbeck.



Horitaka (Takahiro Kitamura)

Exhibition Curator
Horitaka is a tattoo artist as well as the author and publisher of numerous books on tattoo art and culture. His books include Bushido: Legacies of the Japanese Tattoo (Schiffer Publishing, 2001), Tattooing From Japan to the West (Schiffer Publishing, 2004), and Tattoos of the Floating World: Ukiyo-e Motifs in Japanese Tattoo (KIT Publishers, 2003). Horitaka is renowned for his advocacy of Japanese tattooing as an art form and has worked as a visiting artist across the United States and Europe. He has lectured at he Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, U.C. Santa Barbara, and at conferences in Italy and Hawai‘i, is the co-founder and co-director of the annual Bay Area Convention of the Tattoo Arts, and the owner of State of Grace tattoo shop in San Jose, CA. Horitaka’s graphic designs have been used by Nike SB, Bacardi, and many other companies.

Read an interview with Takahiro Kitamura on our Discover Nikkei site >>

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Horishiki (Chris Brand)

Horishiki works in Southern California and is one of the world’s leading tattoo artists. He has worked with tattoo legend Jack Rudy at the famed Good Time Charlie’s Tattooland in Anaheim for over a decade. Horishiki is the co-author of The Ulysses Guide to the Los Angeles River (GK Editions, 2008), which had an accompanying exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. His work is included in the “LA Liber Amicorum” blackbook project at the Getty Research Institute, and he has done graphic design for various companies as well as illustrations for books and magazines. As a pioneer in new fusion styles, Horishiki brings a unique perspective to Japaense tattooing and showcases some of the most original concept of Chicano/Latino interpretations of traditional Japanese fables. He received the title Horishiki from Horitomo in 2013.

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Horitomo (Kazuaki Kitamura)

Horitomo rose to the forefront of pioneering Japanese tattoo artists in the 1990s by challenging traditions and bringing his own version of the Western style to Japan. In a marked shift, he undertook a Japanese apprenticeship, was re-titled as Horitomo, and devoted his life to the study of traditional Japanese tattooing. In addition to his extensive knowledge of Japanese culture and tradition, Horitomo is also highly experienced in tebori (hand tattooing), the traditional method of Japanese tattooing which predates the electric tattoo machine. He has published two volumes of his artwork: Immovable: Fudo Myo-o Tattoo Design by Horitomo (State of Grace, 2011) and Monmon Cats (State of Grace, 2013). His graphic designs have also been used for numerous companies, including four video games for Sega Game Systems.

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Miyazo (Masao Miyazaki)

Miyazo is widely considered one of Japan’s premiere traditional tattoo artists. Based in Osaka, a city well known in the world of Japanese tattooing, he is the only heir to the famed Horitsune lineage. Miyazo exemplifies the regional notoriety of tattooing and at a young age is considered by many worldwide to be a master tattoo artist. He often exhibits at international conventions and is well known and respected in tattoo circles, but his core clientele are Osaka tattoo enthusiasts.

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Shige (Shigenori Iwasaki)

Based in Yokohama, Shige embodies the synthesis of traditional Japanese tattoo with contemporary, modern stylistics. Shige is nothing short of a global phenomenon. His tattoo work and paintings have been praised worldwide, and his work has been featured in magazines, conventions, museums, and galleries. In 2010, Shige was part of the groundbreaking “Basara” show organized by renowned artist Tenmyouya Hisashi. Held in an art gallery in the busy Aoyama District in Tokyo, “Basara” was the first event of its kind. Shige represented Japanese tattooing by speaking and showing ten of his body suits in person—a very rare sight in Japan. A monograph of his work entitled Shige (State of Grace, 2009) has sold over 5,000 copies to date. Shige is not only an award-winning tattoo artist, but also an ambassador of Japanese art. He owns and operates Yellow Blaze Tattoo with his wife Chisato.

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Junii (Junko Shimada)

Originally from Japan, Junii is a pioneer in Japanese tattooing. She began getting a traditional Japanese bodysuit in the late 1970s, something that is still rare for a woman in Japan today. In 1987, she attended an American tattoo convention to display her tattoos and met tattooer Bill Salmon. They fell in love and she moved to the United States. She now tattoos with Bill at Diamond Club Tattoo in San Francisco, CA and has lectured at museums and conventions throughout the nation. Junii possesses unparalleled inside knowledge of both the Japanese and American tattoo worlds and is widely recognized as the most important woman in Japanese tattooing.

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Yokohama Horiken (Kenji Hori)

Originally from Yokohama, Horiken is a renowned tebori (hand tattooing) specialist, one of only a few residing in the United States. A graduate of Tama Art University, he is a self-taught tattoo artist whose constant efforts to refine and improve his tattoo skills helped him receive an artist of extraordinary talent visa from the U.S. State Department. Horiken’s work has been shown internationally and he has been featured in numerous managazines. In 2012, he served as a visiting artist at U.C. Santa Barbara, where he lectured on traditional Japanese tattooing. He currently tattoos at State of Grace Tattoo in San Jose, CA.

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Don Ed Hardy • Colin Horisou Baker • Stan Corona • Espi • Drew Flores • Chris Garver • Jeff Gogue • Regino Gonzales • Jill Horiyuki Halpin • Tim Hendricks • Horikiku • Horinao • Horitoshi Family Horizakura • Timothy Hoyer • Koji Ichimaru • Jakoh • Henning Jorgensen • Brian Kaneko • Robert Klem • Adrian Lee • L.A. Horitaka • Lil' Tokyo Jiro • Sulu'ape Steve Looney • Andre Malcolm • Chris O'Donnell • Chuey Quintanar • Kahlil Rintye • Stewart Robson • Mike Rubendall • Evan Skrederstu • Small Paul • Luke Stewart • The Grime • Tomo • Dan Wysuph • Yebis

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© 2014 Japanese American National Museum. 100 N. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Top: tattoo by Horikiku. All photos © 2013 Kip Fulbeck.

All photos © 2013 Kip Fulbeck.