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Bushido: Legacies of Japanese Tattoos Paperback – November 1, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
If you're looking for something about Japanese tattooing itself (history, background, etc.) then I'd rather recommend Donald Richie's "Japanese Tattoo". Though the most in-depth book available, but rather demanding to read, is Wilem Van Gulik's "Irezumi - The Pattern of Dermatography in Japan". The latter is only recommended for advanced Irezumi enthusiasts.
If you're interested in beautiful photographs of Japanese tattoos, then I can also recommend Sandi Fellman's "Japanese Tattoo".
With chapters covering the history and development of tattoos and their related art in Japan going back several centuries, exploring the tatoo master/client and master/apprentice relationships, contrasting American and Japanese tattoo, and explaining the nature of Japanese tattoo 'families', the book gives an exceedingly thorough overview.
Most of the more than 200 photos were taken exclusively for this book and can not be seen elsewhere. The detail in Horiyoshi III's designs and the craftmanship displayed through Jai Tanju's photographs is superb.
Whether you just want to see examples of a true tattoo master's work or want to come to a better understanding of the history and culture of Japanese tattooing, this is a book you must have.
My main gripe is the history part of the tattoo. This is a great in- depth introduction to tebori and its techniques, and information about the Horiyoshi family, etc., but I warn you- do not take the Bushido musings too seriously. I collect books on Japanese tattoo- for the history more than pictures- and this is the first book that vehemently declares how irezumi spawned from the samurai and their way of life. In Japan's caste system, the samurai were the highest caste, and thus many were the aristocracy that formed the government. Tattoos in Japan were at first mainly for marking criminals, but they blossomed into a form of rebellion against the samurai caste and the oppresive feudal government. Also, samurai, as the top caste and thus the upholders of society, usually were not tattooed. They were to set an example to the lower castes, and they followed the strict Confucian belief against marking the body, anyway.Read more ›
The photography is by Katie Kitamura, wife of the author. Her pictures are reproduced mostly in full-color plates, focusing on the overall aesthetic along with lots of the details. The models are both men and women, of varying ages and stages of coverage. Full portraits are complimented with more closely cropped photos, enlarging complexly-patterned details, subtle shading and expressive faces. A lexicon of body areas with the traditional Japanese names for the style of body coverage along with names for the styles of fill and background is a unique highlight.
A rare and difficult find, worth every effort it takes to get this one into your tattoo book collection.
The photography in this book is outstanding. It records the work of the master Hiriyoshi III. The detail of Hiriyoshi III's work is incredible, and the photos really do it justice in this book. I own several books on Japanese tattoos and this is by far the best. I only wish it was done in a hard cover.
This book gives you a well written insiders view into the world of Japanese tatooing and provides a wonderful collection of work by Hiriyoshi III who is by far one of the best tattoo masters in the world today.
Whether your interested in Japanese tattoos or tattoos in general this book is a must have.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic book with great pictures and equally fine explanations. I find it a very valuable resource.Published 13 months ago by Trapper
I got this one to get some ideas for a tattoo. In the end a learn a lot about the Japanese tattoo history but I didn't get a lot of inspiration. Read morePublished on March 5, 2014 by Benjamin Barrera