to the audio book, Wear Your Dreams by Ed Hardy, I took note when he mentioned a book that opened his mind to the Japanese tattoo. It was a pivotal moment early in Ed's tattooing career when Phil Sparrow showed him a book about tattooing in Japan. At the very moment I heard this, I became intent on finding a copy of that book. Maybe it would possess the potent unrivaled energy that Ed possessed. Maybe it would hold some hidden insight into what makes good tattoos. Maybe this book contained a secret.
Obtaining a copy of what I believed to be that book didn't take long. I found one at auction on eBay. Donald Richie's, The Japanese Tattoo. It contains photographs by Ian Buruma. Although when the book arrived and I held it in my hands, I took note of the first edition copyright date of 19eighty. This didn't add up. It couldn't have been the first book Ed had seen containing pictures of full scale Japanese tattoos. By 1980, Ed Hardy had already traveled to Japan and was only two short years away from publishing his own books on tattooing; TattooTime. I kept searching and I eventually found the book referenced. It was titled, Irezumi. This book was published in 1965, containing an essay by Donald Richie and photos by Ichiro Morita.
Obtaining these two books did not reveal any dramatic tattoo secrets. They did not give me a golden hand of which to tattoo with. What they did give me is, quite possibly, immeasurable. Tiny bits of information, insight and inspiration. As time passes and I continue to discover more, these amassing bits become pliable and I begin to wonder; where would I be without them?