As soon as I knew that I was going to be in Japan for this weekend, one of the things that I hoped to do while I was here was to get some more ink done by Yuuki at Irezumi Hozonkai in Yokohama.
I was really impressed with the traditional Japanese-style tattoo she had done for me back in February and wanted her to do some more work on my back. Kenny was a big help in coordinating everything for me—first setting up the appointment for Saturday afternoon and then sending Yuuki a photo of my “work in progress” backpiece so she could draw the design. I told Kenny that it was her choice for whatever design she came up with just as long as it would fit in with the last tattoo she did for me as well as the bigger piece done by Horisei.
She did not let me down. The main design of this new tattoo styling by Yuuki is a “Uchide-no-Kozuchi” which can be translated as a “small magic hammer.” According to Japanese folklore, swinging this small hammer grants its holder’s wishes. It figured prominently in the ‘Otogizoushi’ written in the Muromachi Period, which tells a story of a tiny hero, called Issunboshi whose height is just one sun (3.03cm). He went to defeat ‘Oni’ ogres and acquired the magic hammer there. He used it to become a noble young man and married a princess. Later in his life, he successfully climbed up to become a Chunagon (current equivalent to the vice president of a country).
Cool. Another impressive design by Yuuki and one with a rather interesting history in Japanese folklore. I never heard of this “Uchide-no-Kozuchi” before, but as soon as I saw the drawing she had done of it, I was impressed.
Yuuki is an unbelievable and talented tattoo artist. Like the last time, she drew most of the tattoo freehand on my back and only used a stencil for the “Uchide-no-Kozuchi.” She has a very soft touch with the tattoo needle gun (I hardly felt any pain at all when she did the outline) not to mention a very steady and gentle hand with the intricate lines she drew.
The coloring and shading though was a little more painful, but not any more painful than the other work I have had done on my back. It just took her a little over three hours to finish the tattoo. She charged me around 400.00 USD or 40,000 Yen (it comes out to 10,000 Yen an hour) which is generally the going rate for tattoos in Japan.
And, as soon as I saw the finished tattoo, it was like “wow!” It’s the kind of ink that you are really proud to have done and especially by someone like Yuuki, who has really been making a name for herself as one of the best young tattoo artists working in Japan these days. (She has already been featured in Tattoo Burst one of Japan’s premier tattoo mags.) I am really lucky that Kenny first brought me to her studio last November when I was in Japan (he just wanted me to meet some tattoo artists—thanks Kenny!) and then arranged for me to have some work done by her the last time I was here. (Hmm… I owe Kenny a lot. He introduced me to Horisei and Yuuki and now I have some wonderful ink by them.)
Irezumi Hozonkai (tel. 045-261-5335) is located near Yokohama’s Chinatown (and just down the street from a small Thai restaurant enclave) and is open 10:00-9:00 daily (closed on Wednesdays). It’s best to call and make an appointment (Yuuki speaks pretty good English) for a consultation as well as directions on how to get there.