Horimitsu’s style of tattooing is steeped in tradition, yet also acts as a distinct reflection of the artist’s life in Japan. Beyond the customary irezumi imagery lies another cultural element representing the precision, nuances, and harmony that permeates a Japanese way of thought and creation. As a result of the tutelage from renowned master-artist Horitoshi, Horimitsu utilizes several centuries-old tools and methods, including Tebori, to uphold a legacy and carve an innovative path of his own.

The Tebori method incorporates a slower, more meticulous markmaking process than a tattoo machine, thus creating one-of-a-kind, lasting effects on the skin. The result surpasses the meaning of permanence, yielding line-work and coloring that is not lost with age. Horimitsu employs technological prowess wherever he deems it necessary, working with tattoo machines as a compliment to his tebori work. He adjusts his methods to accommodate the content and composition of a given piece.

Horimitsu’s varied sources of inspiration derive from his culture and environment and are anything but forced. His artistic vision is organically stimulated by nature and experience. Though his tattoos feature legendary symbols like the samurai and the koi, they are spurred by Horimitsu’s individual desire and determination to preserve Japanese conceptions of beauty and the meaning of man within the context of our planet.

Tattoos have been through a number of incarnations across the islands, retaining their outlaw nature and air of mystery even today, but the art itself has evolved into a form of illustration like no other. Horimitsu’s rendering of Irezumi nullifies its mass glorification in the west, and thus, the artist fulfills his double- edged role as a guardian of culture and a purveyor of its evolution.

Horimitsu has recently finished raising funds for his book Chikara, a collection of drawings and tattoos that span his creative career. The book is a visual compilation of the workings of his right brain, as well as a complete showcase of stunning talent. It melds tradition and the modern significance of tattoo art, bringing us a genuine example of superior craftsmanship. You can pre-order the book here.

In the mecca of neon and modernity that is Tokyo, Horimitsu is an insider standing at the edge of a new generation of tattoo art in Japan, watching over it like a father watches over his prodigy.


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