ENDURANCE Peony nipples and navel attract the butterfly as the waves and rocks draw the carp. Above the solar plexus Horijin has tattooed the virtuous character shinobu, meaning "endurance." This word has a subsidiary meaning also pertinent to the irezumi world, "to hide oneself" or "to live in concealment."
DEVOTION Appropriately, Horikin tattooed his wife's back with the Kwannon (Hindu Avalokitesvara), the Buddhist goddess who is the All-Merciful One Surveying the World with Pity, and who rides a Golden Carp. Kwannon sits on a lotus throne with her head surrounded in a halo of purifying flames. Over her left buttock Horikin has tattooed his "chop" or signature mark.
For his own back, Horikin chose Fudo (Sanskrit Acala), the Immobile One, meaning "Unmoved by Passion," one of the twelve Deva Kings or Buddhist divinities; this was tattooed by Horiyoshi III. Fudo the Destroyer is a central deity in esoteric Buddhism and the incarnation of the God of Wisdom, the Great Illuminator Dainichi, with the power "to foil the snares of devils." With his terrifying face he sits on a throne of flames, sword in his right hand to strike demons, and in his left hand, like a rosary, a lasso rope to bind them. Horikin has adopted Fudo as his patron saint.
Horikin's wife's hair is short because he is in the process of tattooing her head, which she shaves each time he begins work. Eventually they will both have identical patterns engraved on their scalps.
PRAYER The back of Horikin's wife shows the base of Kwannon's Lotus throne in Paradise surrounded by fierce guardian deities. Beneath it is Horikins autograph in two red, lavishly stylized characters amid protective demons. Horikin was hesitant to have his wife's feet photographed because they were "unlovely and workworn."
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