As someone who does not have any big tattoos, I looked for interviews to find out why people get tattooed. I really enjoyed watching and reading interviews from Horiyoshi III because his philosophy of life and tattoos come from a drastically different culture where tattoos are not seen as something cool or trendy but rather confronted with discrimination and association with crimes which someday can directly be applied to me.
My mindset on tattoos is not so relatable to the mainstream culture because I do have plans to go back to Korea where the situation is very similar, if not worse, to the one in Japan so the decision I’m making now is really for the future. It’s really interesting because I have never felt attachment for hardly anything so to be attached to something so much that you are willing to carry out the rest of your life with this permanent change is a new learning experience for me.
Horiyoshi III’s life philosophy is so relatable and is helping me to see why I need tattoos. He compares tattooing process with life plans. How simple moments accumulate into a minute, an hour, a year so if you use it well, you naturally improve your skills and through this process, you acquire knowledge. Through knowledge, you gain wisdom and insight so you are constantly improving and learning. This is the natural process of tattooing and life in general.
Horiyoshi III also builds structures and strict rules on tattoos which is a big contrast to how tattoos are usually viewed as; a freedom of expression, unrestrained, and rebellious attitude. I don’t necessarily think there is a right
or wrong way to perceive your own tattoos but I personally like having structures and the idea of studying about tattoos. I really like this one quote by Horiyoshi III, “studying teaches us how to enjoy life, where to begin and end things and how to behave in between.” I decided getting a tattoo is part of the process of studying and a way to stay attached and involved with this process.
I started designing and getting ideas for my first big tattoo. The main concept is for it to fit me like a robe with a feminine design while still maintaining a natural masculinity of Japanese tattoos. I am still in the brainstorming process so I will keep you updated on my future post.