31 december 2013


Tebori (手彫り) is traditional Japanese hand tattooing. Many artists praise it for its ability to create subtle gradations of tone that are difficult to achieve with a machine.

The word Tebori comes from te meaning 'hand' and hori or horu, 'to carve, sculpt or inscribe.' The word used to describe the technique of tattooing that arose in the late 18th and early 19th century in Japan, with the appearance of professional tattoo artists in the capital city of Edo.

Steel needles, usually of greater diameter and steeper shoulder than those used in the West, are arranged in rows, singly or stacked, and are tied to a long handle of bamboo. This tool is held in the right hand, with the fingers of the left used to spread the skin to be tattooed. The shaft of the tebori tool rests on the thumb of the left hand and the needles inserted by the force of forward movement of the right arm of the tattoo artist. Unlike many other forms of hand-tattooing in Asia such as Tatau or Moko, no assistants are required for tebori.

Best Japanese Tattoo Books Online

Best books about Japanese Tattoo,s , Artists , Art & More selectect in one store .
All orders can be shipped worldwide!!!

30 december 2013

Tebori Culture

Mid 20th century, Japan - A group of traditionally tattoed gamblers. Umezu , the chief of gambling, sits among them ©Hulton-Deutsch Collection

Best Worldwide Tattoo Books

Best Tattoo Books Online
Best books about Tattoo,s , Artists , Art & More selectect in one store .

All orders can be shipped worldwide!!!

29 december 2013

Tattoo History


The Ainu (pronounced "eye-nu") 

"Ainu" means "human." The Ainu people regard things useful to them or beyond their control as "kamuy"(gods). In daily life, they prayed to and performed various ceremonies for the gods. These gods include : "nature" gods, such as of fire, water, wind and thunder ; "animal" gods, such as of bears, foxes, spotted owls and gram-puses ; "plant" gods, such as of aconite, mush-room and mugwort ; "object" gods, such as of boats and pots ; and gods which protect houses, gods of mountains and gods of lakes. The word "Ainu" refers to the opposite of these gods.

The Ainu, along with the Okinawa-based Ryukyu, are an indigenous population of Japan. Ainu lived

in Hokkaido, the Kurile Islands and Sakhalin, but now largely live in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. As of the last census Ainu populations in Hokkaido were roughly 23,000 people.

In traditional Ainu culture when a woman begins to come of age at 12-13 she begins a heavy tattooing process of her lips, legs, hands and arms. When this process has been completed somewhere around the age of 15-16 she is considered ready for marriage. Ainu culture held tattooed women to be beautiful. As Helena Burton notes on the meanings of the tattoos:

Books only shipped in The Netherlands & Belgium...

28 december 2013

Tebori Styles & Design


Tsuki-bori is a methodology of traditional Japanese hand tattooing that, according to the records of the Tokai Tattoo Club of Japan, is a reference to the "thrust" method of tattooing based in Osaka and western prefectures.


According to the Journal of the Tokai Tattoo Club of Japan, hane-bori is a reference to "sweep-up," a method of Tebori hand tattooing rhythms employed by artists of Tokyo and the Eastern Areas of Japan.

Often, the tsuki-Bori method is looked upon as a simplistic method of Tebori tattooing, less difficult to master than hane-bori.

27 december 2013


Sumi (墨) is Japanese for black ink. Although there are many different kinds of sumi, only a few are suitable for tatooing. The sumi made by Kobaien in Nara City is considered the highest quality and commands a high price. Sakurazumi (桜墨 "Cherry Blossom Ink"), baikaboku (梅花墨 "Plum Flower Ink") and itsutsuboshi (五つ星 "Five Stars") are the makes of Kobaien sumi that are most commonly used for tebori tattooing. Kobaien sumi is made by collecting the soot from burning pure vegetable oil—usually sesame or pauwlonia—and combining this with a glue derived from vegetable starch. This is shaped into sticks and dried. When needed, the tattoo artist grinds the stick in a slate inkwell called a suzuri until the correct consistency is achieved.

26 december 2013


Irezumi is one Japanese word for tattoo. In Japan the verb ireru (入れる) is used for tattoo insertion (ie: "I am getting a tattoo"), literally meaning 'to insert.' sumi completes this word, meaning 'black ink.'
In Japan when discussing tattoos irezumi refers to traditional style Japanese tattoos. Especially popular in broader Japanese popular culture as well as a abroad, this term gives little distinction to method of insertion. The term horimono is preferred by practicitioners, especially those working with tebori methods of tattoo insertion. Simply speaking, this may be that because irezumi is a descriptive noun referencing a crude terminology for what a tattoo is,horimono directly references tattooing as an art form.

25 december 2013

Japanese Motifs

Cherry blossom

The image of the cherry blossom is very prevalent in classical Japanese tattooing and has a very definite symbolic meaning. In the Japanese tattoo authors Richie and Buruma write:
"The cherry blossom is famous in Japanese poetry, in prose, and in most of the graphic arts. It has become the symbol for all that is transient and evanescent in life. The blossoms appear in all of their beauty for only a day or two. Then they are scattered by the winds and rains. This loveliness lasts for but so short a time: how like life itself, where all things are ephemeral. It is said that the samurai adopted the cherry blossom as a personal insignia, indicating that they might well die in battle the next day. "The cherry blossom as a symbol thus has quasi-philosophical associations . . . of the same order as those attributed to, for example, the red rose in Western tattooing. There the message is undying love, eternal fidelity, and a degree of transcendence over mundane life. In Japan the cherry blossom implies a different kind of transcendence from that in the West. One acknowledges natural forces and quietly celebrates one's own evanescent qualities. The implications for a man wearing the intricate cherry-blossom pattern are that he is in accord with the nature of things, sad though this nature may be; that his own flesh is as fragile as the petals of the blossom."

24 december 2013


Horimono (彫り物, 彫物) is the term used for traditional Japanese tattoos.
From the Japanese horu 'to carve, engrave or inscribe' and mono, 'thing'.

Executed with tebori, the Japanese tattoo artist uses traditional motifs such as peony flowers, dragons or unique ukiyo-e style human figures to create a tattoo that renders the whole body as a single, symbolic work. Horimono tattoos are also unmistakable by their gaku, literally 'frame', of waves, water or wind swirls surrounding the centre of the tattoo, which gives the horimono its 'suit' appearance.

Horimono are also known variously in literature or speech as irezumibunshinshiseigaman or hokuro. Although many Westerners and Japanese use irezumi to refer to traditional Japanese tattoos, this is technically incorrect since irezumi is a cruder term based on method. As the term horimono references the art form involved in creating such a tattoo, Japanese tattoo artists and those tattooed generally use the word horimono.

Due in part to the origins of tattoo culture in Japan, its association with geishin (penal tattooing), bakuto groups as well as present day criminal cultures, most notably the Yakuza, tattoos are still a strong social taboo in Japanese culture. Sadly part of this tradition of taboo is also due to discriminatory practices against the Ainu whose women wore large facial tattoos and the Hinin and Burakumin who were given tattoos to brand their caste. Wearers of tattoos may be refused service at onsen (bath houses), hotels, sex clubs and even bars. Part of this practice stems from wanting to avoid trouble with gangs and violent youth, but much more of the prohibition rests on perceived social opinions of difference in Japan and not wanting to make other guests uncomfortable. So even if you are gaijin (foreign) and tattooed you may still be denied entrance despite the obvious lack of Yakuza connection.

23 december 2013


Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) was born in Edo (now Tokyo). A prolific artist, he painted, designed prints, illustrated books and is one of the masters of the Japanese Print (Ukiyo-E).
His work is a major influence on nearly all of Japan's traditional tattoo movement with many of his stylistic interpretations instantly recognizable.

He was one of the first major Japanese artists to break away from urban scenes and produce landscapes, and in keeping with his unorthodoxy he turned to the west for influence. He was an admirer of the French painter Manet and they enjoyed a relationship of mutual learning with each other, Hokusai teaching Manet by example and Manet sending blue inks that were not available in Japan in return (see "Beneath the wave off Kanagawa," below).

Hokusai's most famous work "Beneath the wave off Kanagawa" showing what was to become "typical" Japanese tattoo style water. This is also the blue ink that was sent to him by Manet.

                                                   Tattoo literally based on Hokusai's work
Instagram Instagram

22 december 2013


In traditional Japanese Tebori tattooing, kaeshibari is the practice of flipping tattoo needles to use the ink on the other side.

To tattoo details, some tattooists use a separate tool consisting of only 3 needles. But the professional Japanese Tebori tattooists can tattoo whatever they want using only one set of needles for outlining. They don't have to use other tattooing tools. They can tattoo any thin or thick lines, small circles and so on. The professional tattooists tattoo the designs on the skin smoothly, from up to down, down to up, right to left, left to right. When more ink is needed after tattooing from left to right, for example, one does kaeshibari, flipping the needles. Kaeshibari is one of many professional techniques, which is flipping the other side of the needles and tattooing by using the rest of the ink on the other side.