Guest Blog: Horiyoshi III on Tattooing Women
John Mack continues his weekly guest blog post on his experience getting tattooed by Horiyoshi III over the course of nine years. Check out his previous posts: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Part VIII and Part IX.
In all my time at Horiyoshi III's studios, I have seen a female client just three times.
The studios have no private room. My appointments were always in the afternoon, so initially I guessed that perhaps women's appointments were in the morning when somehow greater privacy was afforded them.
As I've already told you, there was often a squad of male apprentices and tattoo enthusiasts present. Undressing and getting tattooed in front of them would surely give pause to most women. It certainly intimidated me at first.
I avoid talking about other clients, so I did not ask about it for many years, but in 2009, I finally inquired with Horiyoshi about his female clientele.
"John-san," he said in a slightly incredulous tone. "Now, how often have you seen women in my studios?"
I admitted that most of the women I had seen were journalists. I asked why he had so few female clients.
"They just don't come here. It's hard for them to undress; it's uncomfortable. Personally, that's better for me. Frankly, I would rather not tattoo women."
Horiyoshi's practice is now limited to finishing existing clients' tattoos, and we all keep him really busy. As I have repeatedly witnessed, all new clients are politely referred elsewhere.