Guest Blog: Horiyoshi III's Unfinished Business
John Mack is back with another story about his experience getting tattooed by Horiyoshi III over the course of nine years. The image above was taken after one of his earlier sessions. Check out his previous posts: Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV.
As I mention at the end of every post, Horiyoshi III's practice is now limited to finishing existing tattoos. Once it became apparent that the master will be retiring, his clients have come out of the woodwork.
Every time I go to Japan, one or two people show up and display an incomplete tattoo, asking to get on the schedule to have it finished. Most stopped at completion of sujibori, the outline. I have never seen any of them refused, as long as they make their appointments three to four months in advance.
"They just keep on coming," said Horiyoshi when I asked about it. "I've tattooed about 7000 people, and there would have not been time to start so many had everyone completed their tattoos." There are lots of unfinished Horiyoshi III tattoos out there.
I nervously asked whether I would be able to finish. "You're fine, John-san," he reassured me. He and I both know what finished means, and I'm going for it.
Horiyoshi's practice is now limited to finishing existing clients' tattoos. As I have repeatedly witnessed, all new clients are politely referred elsewhere.