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Still kickin ass Traditional Style

 
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horiryu
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 10:39 am    Post subject: Still kickin ass Traditional Style Reply with quote

My best Friend and mentor near 40yrs now Kazuo Oguri (HORI-HIDE) he think he,ll be 80 next month, still tattooing everyday....taught me many things via the mail...
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Rose



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's wonderful work.

More wonderful photos, too.
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krookedken
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

one of a kind there Jerry, still tattooing everyday. An inspiration to us all and look at the quality..........amazing stuff and an amazing man!
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horiryu
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most certainly is an amazeing man, lm honored to have been his friend for so long...
and you too ken..hope we can get 40ys in pal
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ChcknCsr



Joined: 17 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, that is just awesome.
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F3nc3p0st
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jesus, did he do all that by hand? Amazing.
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horiryu
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lately hes doing all his lines and black by hand, and been coloring with machine..but used to do it all by hand!
amazeing tattooer..no stencil no pen drawing, just dip and poke!
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StarApple



Joined: 24 May 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2007 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His work is extremely beautiful and it's wonderful to hear that he's still tattooing every day.
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davelct
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

outstanding!
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artfisch



Joined: 20 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oooooooooooooo purdy flowers- very. I think they look unique... I haven't seen much like that. of course, I haven't seen much.

It's cool to do anything at 80- and tattooing then is just amazing. It's probably keeping him alive. ;)
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Rose



Joined: 23 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is he open to receiving a letter or email? I'd love to send him complements.

His work is outstanding as is his consistency.
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eddieb



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HoriHide..much respect! he was tappin ink same time as horiyoshi III, and theyre both STILL putting out better tattoos that most anybody:)
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jasonsweet



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny you should post this, I was just re-reading an interview with him that Mike Macabe did..........his words of wisdom are very inspiring......
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jedhill
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Jerry , I have an old tattoo club of japan certificate that his signature
simply disappeared from , maybe I should send it back with a good pen and have him redo it. laughing
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kiddbot
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks jerry!
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Rose



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 20, 2007 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks also Jerry. I love you.
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PDCastello



Joined: 01 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Life in Tattooing by Kazuo Oguri

All illustrations by Kazuo Oguri



I was born in l933 and grew up in Gifu, a large industrial city in central Japan. Times were tough after World War II. All over Japan people were unemployed and even those who had jobs did not make enough money to live comfortably.

When I was a teenager I was proud of being a tough guy, and by the time I was l9 I was the leader of a street gang. We had fights with other gangs, and in one of these fights I stabbed a guy with a knife. He fell to the ground and we thought he was dead. The members of my gang ran back to my house, but we knew we couldn't stay there because the police would be looking for us. So my gang took up a collection and gave me enough money to get out of town and go to Tokyo.

I stayed in a hotel and went to movies and pretty soon the money was all gone. At the employment center there were long lines of people waiting to find work. They told me there was nothing for me. For three days I slept in a park and didn't have anything to eat.

I was walking the streets, feeling frightened and desperate, when I noticed a sign tacked to the door of a residence. It read "apprentice wanted," but it didn't say what kind of work it was. I knocked, and a kindly-looking middle aged woman opened the door.

"It's about the sign," I said. "I want to be an apprentice. What kind of work is it?"

"My husband will explain that to you," she said. "But I can tell you this. It's very difficult. You have to have a lot of courage and determination to stick with it.."

"I'm tough. I need the work and I can do anything."

"You can come in and talk to my husband. He's upstairs working, and he'll be finished in about an hour if you want to wait."

While I waited she brought me some green tea and little rice cakes. At that time it was the custom to give a guest a snack, but it was considered good manners to eat only a little bit. I was so hungry that I forgot all about good manners and ate all the rice cakes.

"I think you haven't eaten for a while," the woman said. "Come into the kitchen and let me give you a good meal." I liked her and I saw that she had a good heart, and so I decided to stay there and become an apprentice no matter what kind of work it was.

When the man who was destined to be my teacher finally came downstairs I was very surprised to see that he had tattoos on his arms, because like most people at that time I thought that anyone who had a tattoo must be a yakuza (gangster). He told me that he was not a yakuza, but a tattoo artist, and he had advertised for an apprentice to learn tattooing. When I heard this I hesitated, because when I was in school I had never been good at drawing. But when I looked into his eyes, I had the feeling that he was a good man, and I thought, " I've got to have work so I'll give it a try," and so I told him I liked to draw and I wanted to learn tattooing.



Young people today do not understand the road I have traveled. I studied tattooing under the old Japanese style of apprenticeship, in which the relationship of the student to the teacher was like that of a disciple to a master. For five years I lived in my teacher's house and did all the chores like cleaning , washing dishes, and chopping wood for the stove. If I made a mistake, my teacher scolded me and sometimes he even hit me. It was very difficult because I wasn't used to this kind of life I missed my friends in Gifu and sometimes when I went to bed at night I would cry myself to sleep. But I tried to show the samurai spirit and in the morning I never looked sad. I just did my work.

Every day I watched my teacher while he tattooed. He usually had three or four customers a day and he worked on each customer for about two hours. I helped him by preparing his colors and getting all the things he needed ready for him. But I didn't ask questions, and he didn't explain anything. That was the traditional style of Japanese teaching in all the arts and crafts. Words go in one ear and out the other, but after many hours of observing and thinking about what you have seen, you learn without words. This is the best way.

One time a customer asked my teacher to tattoo a carp on his back. The following Sunday my teacher took me to a carp pond and we sat there all day looking at the carp. After we came home my teacher said, "Do you know why I was watching carp all day?"

"No," I answered."It is because I want to study the living carp. I don't like cartoons; I'm a professional artist and I want to tattoo the true spirit of the carp. "

At that time I hadn't seen the work of other tattoo artists. In May my teacher took me to the festival at Sanja Temple where I saw many tattooed men wearing loin cloths. Then I understood what he had said about the living spirit of the carp as opposed to tattoo designs which are cartoons. I remember two carp tattoos: one by Hori Bun, which looked like a cartoon, and one by Hori Uno, which had some of the true form of the carp but was still partly a cartoon. It was supposed to be a carp climbing up a waterfall but it looked dead, and a dead carp can't climb a waterfall. The face of the carp climbing a waterfall must be strong, like the face of a samurai, but the face of the carp by Hori Uno was not strong. The expression on the face is very important in a tattoo. For example, in the traditional tattoo of the samurai fighting the giant snake, the samurai doesn't know whether or not he can kill the snake. His face must express this feeling.

My teacher asked me which tattoo I thought was best. I saw a man with a dragon tattooed on his back which was very powerful and moved as if it were alive when the man walked. The name of the tattoo artist was Hori Sada. I told my teacher that was my favorite, and he said, " You have a true tattoo artist's eye. Most people look only for beauty in a tattoo, but a truly great tattoo must be more than a pretty picture. It must have a life of its own."



My life as an apprentice in those days was not easy. Every day after work my teacher would ask me to bring him his sake, and after he drank a few cups he would become abusive and go on a rampage and hit me and his wife and kick things until I begged him to stop. That's why I never drink alcohol. It changes a man's heart.

Sometimes my teacher hit me in the presence of customers, and the customers would laugh. I was proud and I hated it when they laughed at me, so told my teacher that I wasn't used to that kind of treatment, and hitting me in private was okay, but not in front of customers. But I wanted to prove to my teacher that I had courage and confidence, so I stuck with it and endured the beatings.

One time I got so discouraged that I packed my suitcase and walked to the train station and sat there all night waiting for the train back to Gifu. But my teacher's wife came and found me in the station.

"Why did you leave?" she asked.

"It's too tough," I said. "I don't like the beatings."

"I told you it would be difficult and you said you had the courage to do it, but now you want to give up. When my husband was an apprentice he had it much tougher than you do, but he stuck with it, and now he's a great tattoo artist. You are fortunate to be his apprentice. You are like a son to him. He thinks you have what it takes to be a good tattoo artist. I want you to come back home with me and show him that he was right." So I went back with her.



Every day after my teacher finished work he would give me a drawing assignment. For my first assignment he gave me a picture of a lion he had drawn and told me to copy it. After I copied it he took away his drawing and told me to draw the same lion from memory. I tried, but I couldn't get it right.

"What were you thinking of?" he said. "When you draw you must do it with total concentration. It is the same when you tattoo. You must concentrate on what you are doing and let no other thought enter your mind." Now I can memorize a picture after looking at it for only a few minutes, because my teacher taught me the technique of concentration and drawing from memory.

Japanese tattoo designs are based on drawings which illustrate traditional stories and legends, and these designs have been handed down from generation to generation. When my teacher was an apprentice he got a book of tattoo designs from his teacher, and my teacher gave me this book. My teacher's designs were all based on the work of the nineteenth century Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi, but my teacher didn't have any of Kunyoshi's prints; he had only copied the designs that his teacher had drawn for him, and he had about 100 designs. Kunyoshi's work is the source of most of our traditional tattoo designs. I read about Kuniyoshi but when I was an apprentice it was very hard to find Kuniyoshi's prints because most of them had been lost in the war. A few of them had survived in small towns which were not bombed, and after the war some dealers bought them and brought them back to Tokyo. But many of them were bought by foreigners who took them out of the country, so that now the great collections of Kuniyoshi's prints are in France, England, and the United States. There are a few collectors of Kuniyoshi prints in Japan, but they will not allow their prints to be shown or photographed. I have collected many reproductions and photographs of Kunyoshi's prints, and I have drawn about 350 designs based on them.

I was an apprentice for three years before my teacher allowed me to tattoo. During that time I was very eager to start tattooing, and every day my enthusiasm grew stronger. It's like when you are longing to meet your girlfriend: the longer you wait, the more you desire her.

Finally one day my teacher gave me a bamboo stick and some needles and told me to make a hand tool. I began by practicing on his leg. There is nothing like human skin, and it is the only thing we can practice on. At first I practiced without ink to get the right rhythm and the right sound. When the needles penetrate the skin they make a sound. The sound has to be low-pitched and you have to have the right rhythm. After several weeks of this my teacher let me use ink to tattoo a cherry blossom on his leg, but I didn't do a very good job. My teacher showed me how to relax, not to hurry, and make a smooth line. Then after he went to bed I would practice on my own leg. For three months I practiced outlining, and then for three more months I practiced shading. My teacher had a big black area on his leg where students had practiced on him. After six months of practice, my teacher let me do my first tattoo on a customer. It was a cover-up consisting of cherry blossoms on a black background.



My teacher did all his work by hand. He had heard about tattooing machines, but at that time, machines were not available in Japan. He had only two colors: brown and reddish orange. After I did that first cover-up my teacher let me help him. He would do the outlining, and I did the black shading. Then he would finish by doing the color.

After five years of apprenticeship it was the custom for a tattoo artist to open his own studio. But because I was grateful to my teacher for all he had taught me, after I completed my apprenticeship I stayed and worked in his studio for another year and gave him the money I earned. After he died I sent money each month to his widow as long as she lived. That used to be the Japanese custom, but it doesn't exist anymore.

After six years in Tokyo I went back to Gifu. The man I stabbed hadn't died after all, and the police weren't looking for me any more, so I opened a tattoo studio in Gifu.

Now the apprenticeship system is different. I have four apprentices. They begin to work on their own after only two years of study. I give them lots of drawing assignments, and I insist that they try to draw fine designs which have life, and not cartoons. Of course I don't hit them. Now we do things as they are done in the US, so apprentices aren't so tough any more. There were many bad things about the old style of teaching. But there were also good things about it. Today many people try to start tattooing without having studied under a master, but they will always be amateurs. They make many mistakes, and merely copy designs without understanding their significance.

At the time I opened my studio I didn't know how to get tattoo supplies from the US. One day I saw an American sailor with a good tattoo and I asked him who did it. He told me it was by Sailor Jerry of Honolulu and he gave me Sailor Jerry's business card. I wrote to Sailor Jerry and asked if he would sell me some colors. He wrote back and gave me the address of Spaulding and Rogers in the US. But I wanted to meet Sailor Jerry so I wrote him again. He told me he had a friend, Mr. Kida, who was the president of a big company in Tokyo. I wrote to Mr. Kida and he came to Gifu to see me. Mr. Kida told me he thought Sailor Jerry was a good man, and a gentleman, and the greatest American tattoo artist. So I arranged to go to Hawaii and meet Sailor Jerry. This was in 1971. Mr. Kida showed me Sailor Jerry's picture so I could recognize him, and when my plane landed in Hawaii he met me at the airport.

I stayed with Sailor Jerry for a week. Every day I watched him work, and at night we went back to his house and had long talks. I liked him. Like me, he was a tough guy who had survived many hardships. Every day I got to like him better. I nicknamed him "Popeye" because he was tough and strong. When it was time for me to go and we said "goodbye" at the airport I called him "pop." After that when we wrote letters I always called him "pop" and he called me "son."

When I tattoo I always do the outlining and black shading by hand, but I use a machine for putting in the color. There are two kinds of outline, a heavy outline which is used for the outside parts of the design, and finer lines, which are used on the inside and for details. I have tried to outline by machine, but I don't like the results. The line always looks dead to me. I don't know why. Outlining by hand is alive. It's not easy to do, but it's the best.

Today most Japanese tattoo artists use stencils. I am the only one who follows the method of my teacher. This method is to draw a little bit, and tattoo it in, and then draw and tattoo a little more until the design is finished. To do this you have to see the whole design in your imagination before you start.

My teacher gave me a good book about the history of Japanese tattooing: "Bunshin Hyakushi" (A Hundred Styles of Tattooing) by Tamabayashi Haru-o, published in 1936. According to "Bunshin Hyakushi" it was firemen who got big tattoos in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They were heroes because fire was a great danger and Japanese houses, which were made of wood and paper, burned quickly. So sometimes firemen lost their lives to save people. The geisha girls liked the firemen because they were brave. In the Edo period [prior to 1867] it was the firemen, but not the yakuzas, who got tattooed.

During most of the nineteenth century an artist and a tattooer worked together. The artist drew the picture with a brush on the customer's skin, and the tattooer just copied it. But then some of the tattooers studied drawing and learned how to draw the designs themselves.

After the Edo period the yakuzas started getting tattoos because they wanted to look tough. Tattoo artists call yakuza tattoos "odoshibori." It means a tattoo that is just meant to frighten people. The yakuzas don't care if it is artistic. The real tattoo lover wants quality, not quantity, and he wants to get the tattoo from a famous artist.


In 1936 when fighting broke out in China almost all the young men were drafted into the Army. But people with lots of tattoos were thought to be potential discipline problems, so they weren't drafted. Then a lot of people got tattooed just to avoid the draft, and the government passed a law against tattooing. After that the tattooers had to work in secret. After World War II General MacArthur liberalized the Japanese laws, and tattooing was legal again. But the tattoo artists continued to work privately by appointment on customers who were introduced by someone who knew them, and this tradition is still followed today.

We have word in Japanese: "inshindenshin," which means telepathy or tacit understanding. This is what happens when I tattoo by hand. My heart and my hand have the same thought, and the thought is transmitted by the tip of my finger to the customer's skin. That's why it is not painful and there is no blood. There is never any swelling or inflammation.

When the tattoo artist's heart is right we call it a "Buddha heart." Maybe someone thinks I have a secret or some magic, but there is no secret and there is no magic. When I tattoo I have what we call "zen" [wholeness or goodness] of heart, and I practice total concentration. We also call this state of mind "seishin toitsu" ["seishin" means spirit; "toitsu" means uniformity] This is the same kind of concentration one must practice if there is a serious problem in one's life. At such a time one must practice total concentration to find the right solution.

1996 by Kazuo Oguri Translated and edited by Steve Gilbert

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PDCastello



Joined: 01 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are there any books or websites where you can see more of this amazing work?
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PDCastello



Joined: 01 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope Jerry don't mind that I resurrect this old topic. But I heard from Jerry that master Horihide is ill and has apparently been ill for some time now. I don't know what is the matter and maybe its not polite to ask. I hope he gets better.

Just wanted to bump this up...
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Murrayftw
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fuck yah! one of the best!!!
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johndohe
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

my biggest dream over the last few years is to make it that long in life and still be able to work.
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