The Art of Ink: Japanese

– [Taki] I think I’ve
always been creative. I’ve always liked drawing. I’ve liked creating things. You know, I’ve been tattooed
now more years than I haven’t. I’ve been tattooing
for almost two decades. I think it’s wonderful
that people all over the world can relate to this art form. – [Luke] I do feel a personal connection to the art that I create. The essence of them is powerful. I want my tattoos to read
from across the room. I don’t want you to have to get right up on it to know what it is. – I would say I’ve had a lifelong obsession with Japanese tattooing. When I was a child I saw Japanese tattoo’s in Japanese television programs and I was just instantly enamored with it. And then from there devoting my life to the study and the execution
of the Japanese tattoo. – One my mentors who taught me to tattoo did mostly Japanese and that’s my first exposure to the style. I was a professional MMA
fighter for five years. That work ethic has transferred
over into tattooing. I feel like I always
should be working harder. – [Taki] Horitomo is a master tattooist of the Japanese form. I think Horitomo is
one of the most amazing tattooers of our generation. – He’s incredible. His ability in painting and tattooing and the volume of work, the stuff he’s doing is just mind blowing. – Japanese tattoos tell
all the stories of Japan. You have anything from like tales of historical samurai, folk
lore, legends, religion. Really it’s just a conduit
for Japanese culture. – Every little piece of
Japanese tattooing has meaning. You see a samurai looking
boy holding a peach, there’s a reason, it’s not just thrown in there. – One of my favorite stories is Tomomori. He was a warrior who
lost a battle on a ship. His entire army was drowned in the battle and then in defeat he wrapped himself around an anchor, drowned himself. There’s a crab called the heiki crab. And the crab have a face on it that looks just like a kabuki samurai face. There’s a lot of prints from 18th, 19th century of Tomomori wrapped around an anchor with these crab and the Japanese people
will not eat these crab cause they believe they’re the spirits of the fallen warriors of Tomomori. That’s what’s so cool about Japanese as you start to understand the stories. And I try to bring that into my tattooing. – It’s thought tattooing
existed as early as 10,000 BC. The first written accounts by the Chinese when they visited Japan, they called it the land of law, was that everyone was tattooed on their faces and arms according to rank. The reason there’s such a stigma with Japanese tattooing is that at some point in history the Japanese government has used tattoos to mark criminals. Obviously this barbaric use of tattooing immediately
associated with criminality. There’s also speculation that people used larger tattoos to cover those tattoos so they could hide the fact that they’d been arrested before. In Japan today, many people associate Japanese tattooing with
the Japanese mafia. A lot of this is reinforced
by Japanese cinema. – You know, there’s certain
places you can’t go into. You can’t go into a gym
if you have tattoos. You can’t go into certain bath
houses if you have tattoos. So that’s still a real thing. – The body suit is a very striking and I think one of the most recognizable aspects of the Japanese tattoo. Knowing how long that takes and knowing how much dedication you really respect that person and what they’ve committed to and how much pain they’ve endured. They’ve certainly earned the tattoo. – [Luke] The goal of
anyone doing Japanese is you want to be doing
body suits, back pieces. If you can do a whole
body suit start to finish, it’s really how Japanese tattooing was meant to be, was one client, one tattooer. – I think there’s a strong significance and a cultural connection
between the usage of colors in Japanese
tattoos and Japanese culture. Just because you’re supposed to be more reserved in some ways the Japanese want to keep some things muted and not so obvious and not so in your face. – The pallet’s pretty simple
in Japanese tattooing. You have bold reds, greens, golds, browns. It’s not too complex. Heavy in black. The background is the biggest
thing that sets it aside. With an artist like Horitomo
who practices tebori, the hand tattooing, that
technique is very important. The way he shades with that, you have a stick, you have some
needles lashed to it. And you use one hand as your fulcrum point to stretch the skin
and then the other hand would push the needle in. – The look you get from tebori you cannot match it with a machine. It’s just much more saturated. The colors are more vibrant. It’s not going anywhere. – I grew up looking at Japanese books and you’d see these tattoo parties where they’d have their shirts
off and eating food and just enjoying each others company and enjoying tattoo art. I started having these
ramen tattoo parties, one I wanted to show
my gratitude to clients that had gotten large amounts of work from me, body suits, back pieces. These are the people have allowed me to express myself and have this life. You might joke that maybe hot soup is not the best thing to eat while shirtless, but when you’re with a group of people with a lot of tattoos you all know exactly what each others had been through. And then you can sit there and
admire each others tattoos. And it just shows too
how Japanese tattooing just sort of blends seamlessly with life. – [Luke] As I’ve evolved over the years I think my stuff has even scaled back. I’m trying to do less tricks
and just make things simple. Make things nice and readable. And make them so they’re gonna
last, make them so they’re gonna look great in 50 years. – I think Japanese tattooing
has changed very rapidly. A lot more work has been published. A lot of tattooers have traveled. We also see very good Japanese tattooing being done by non Japanese nationals. What we see now are people of all cultures of all ethnicities that are devoting their lives to the study of this. There are some people that sort of bemoan the loss of when Japanese tattooing was a little more hidden, was
a littler harder to get to. But I welcome the information age. That way we can properly document this for history’s sake and share it
with the next generation.


  • Mary Morken


  • TwelfGradeTV

    Fucking awesome. Takashi Matsuba is a great tebori tattooer in the States

  • Slava S

    I love this series! Finally some cool/interesting tattoo stuff!

  • anthony vega-fujioka

    I find Traditional Japanese tattooing is more of an art than a style, because of the amount of rules to it, the undeniable artistry to it, and the beautiful of the art that comes out of it. There is so much meanings to them that they translate and show stories with each one.

  • Mad Brah?

    The one style that will never go away.

  • AOG

    I want to see a chicano style one

  • iamvaro


  • 549621jon

    great now i want ramen

  • Jenniemc

    How long would those body tattoos take?? Like 12 hours idk

  • Joakim

    Real tattooing

  • Will Thompson

    5:29 He closes the blinds while saying "you're supposed to be more reserved."
    Whoa that's some next-level symbolism there Spike, slow down

  • Jelly Cheeks

    tattoo/ ramen parties = mindblown awesome fucking idea

  • Ny Chan

    It never dates

  • Addison Hill

    I live a stone's throw from State of Grace where Horitomo tattoos and I'm waiting for the day my broke college student butt has enough money to be tattooed by him…

  • Aron Sch

    I want my tattoo made with hot sauce.


    Does anyone know the symbolism behind the cat tattoo?

  • Diana Bedoya

    Japanese and Chineese culture is awesome!! 😍😍

  • Sheldon TheApatosaurus

    These guys work at State of Grace in San Jose!

  • Disclaimer Department

    5:14 cauliflower ear

  • Shawn

    I pass this shop everyday.

  • prym

    badass cauliflower ears, much respect to that guy

  • Luke

    wow its absolutely incredible how much history has gone into Japanese ink… I love how its blended into all cultures an is still highly respected as more than just tattoos… so so so beautiful… ONE LOVE(:

  • Kortex

    the ONLY thing I dislike about the japanese tattoo artstyle is all the demons they have, other than that, it´s amazing

  • abu maawi

    mma to tattoo

  • angel ortiz

    What machine uses luke neotat ?

  • Miranda John

    I want that cat tattooing the other cat t-shirt. Where can I get that?

  • Mark 13

    i have ., a horimono …. =)

  • yung totoo ingitero ka

    Respect Japanese tradition tattoo

  • damon washington

    Trust me after having that oni ramen a shirt off is best🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🚒

  • Raymund Nieves


  • GMLFree

    I like tattoos but I want to know about something I have never heard anyone talk about. What kind of effect can too much ink in your body can do. After all they are injecting potencially toxic chemicals into somebodys body.

  • Cringerbread Man

    tebori is the way to go

  • Darth Bane

    LUKEEE!!!!!!! One of the baddest MOFO out there!!!! If you know,you know.

  • 0707565

    Japanese guy with beard!!

  • Papa.Silver

    Japanese culture life style I’ve bein more drawn to makes me wonder if I had a past life in japan

  • Minh Thu

    5:15 Someone tell this man to get the fluids out of his ears!

  • Johanna Hortencia Rivera

    Hearing this makes me want to get my 1st tattoo

  • John Mendoza

    Did anyone else notice the Grime pin he had on? Respect!

  • craig dunn

    I like it

  • Rey Barrera

    I’ve always thought Japanese tattoos are beautiful. Tebori must require insane discipline and commitment

  • P

    you can not go to a gym with tattoos in Japan? 🙁

  • 21whichiswhich

    This is always fascinating.

  • Cadi Levox

    Japanese tattoos looks like a lot is going on. But it is fucking one story tying all together.
    This type of tattooing is one that deserves being called an art when you put it on your body.
    I dont have a tattoo yet. But im saving up to get Japanese tattooing.

  • Brayden Keynon

    In a few days, I'm starting a Japanese sleeve. Ever since delving into the world of tattoos, the Japanese style has always captured my attention. Can't wait to finally wear it for myself!

  • Carl Yates

    Totally off topic but is the Japanese guy wearing a jigglypuff t shirt? Lol

  • Enjoy Hash

    I’m in the process of a Japanese tattoo sleeve, and i gotta say i am in love with the art

  • Narcissus

    White people with wabori look weird to me. Just like when I see white people with Polynesian tattoos, it looks odd



  • Miguel Ramos

    Nice art tattoos 🤘🤘🤘🙂

  • nikon d3200

    I have a samari sword tattoo

  • Bärbel Nitsche

    So beeindruckend !
    So bewundernswert !
    So großartige Kunst !
    Tolles Video . Danke vielmals .

  • Qrit__91

    If you by any chance want to know the most awesome japanese tattoo artist in The Netherlands? Search: Rob Admiraal

  • Allison Linner

    Thank you, this was very informative! The ways in which Japanese tattoos and (tattooing) differ from ones I know are so exquisite. This is something I would love to do. I would REALLY love to get permission and be selected to have a hand-tapped full sleeve. That's a dream of mine.

    The only problem is that I do not know if it would be appropriate for me to get a traditional Japanese tattoo, because I'm not Japanese. I don't know if that would dishonor the culture and the art of tattooing. I guess if they select me as someone to do a hand-tapped traditional sleeve then it is not.

  • Jesus Santillan

    Does anyone know if that clear bead necklace he is wearing has a specific name? Or where u can get one?

  • Karl Joseph

    It's a living art especially the Japanese tattoo are stunning in the colors and style all of them are great tattoo artists also good video 👌👌👌

  • Max Vieralilja

    new life goal: save enough money to go to japan to have a monmon cat done by horitomo

  • 市Kelly

    Japanese culture is something I am so into life style fashion food people etiquette and of course tattoos and something about Japanese culture I feel as tho I am apart of even tho I am a different ethnicity I still feel as tho I am one with it

  • Knifehand TV

    Best style

  • Joshua Perry

    That Preview Image: When your roomie eats all your pizza rolls and he aint even sorry.

  • Call Me Toshi

    Damn. White boy got cauliflower ear. I wouldn't mess with him.

  • steve beam

    I love the style but I definitely only do it in small pieces because when I travel I love getting tattooed and I travel quite a bit and only have space for small tattoos

  • Beldar de Franco

    Only low life idiots get tattoos.

  • Rotcrawler

    I now want to go to a shirtless ramen tattoo party.

  • Bunker Sieben

    Irezumi is also technique. No machine used, all by hand.

  • Bunker Sieben

    The Japanese I work for are actually very open and intrigued about my tattoos.

  • Vlad Damien

    Hopefully people here in japan will be open minded about tattoos.

  • Tobbegav

    Horimoto Did the tattoos for the yakuza series and he is great.

  • けんた店長KTC放送局


  • Katana Sakura


  • stanly stud

    Want to Tattoo my cock

  • Bonbon C

    The weird thing about this is…. in Japan this tattoo culture is taboo… while the rest of the world embraces it as a unique art form. Funny how the originators don't fully support this, while the western world embraces it.

  • Steelix Onix

    Would love a Horitomo cat tattoo, and I don't even have tattoos

  • David Friend

    less dudes , more tattoos would make this more interesting

  • Julia Jesus

    I'm color blind

  • June Viarruel

    I'm getting the word SWEET in Japanese characters on my pumpum. 😁

  • Telecaster O_O

    Top 🔥

  • MrSpadeofAce

    japanese tattoos are really cool

  • Lulu

    These are the personifications of "walking around as a master piece".
    I want to be a walking canvas too 🙁

  • raphael kustura

    Beautiful, badass and inspiring. I recently decided tattoo artistry might be my career as I’ve always been enamored by this art that we wear permanently. Thank you for sharing 🙏

  • Joseph Linares

    Where can one buy that tebori cat shirt tho !?

  • Adrian G

    He looks at his needles with a monocle. Such care and careful skill😍

  • Dharmushka

    for everyone who understand japan language and culural norms, he is using "boku" for "I" how cute is that!

  • 2日前・ 1日前


  • ゆか



    devote your Life to Jesus

  • SKRT

    Didn't he do the tattoos for the game Yakuza? They are among the best I've ever seen


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *