KABUKI PLAYBOY Benten Kozo, one of the most popular and beloved scoundrels of the Kabuki repertoire was a thief whose beauty was such that he could disguise himself as a woman and ply his trade to great effect. When he is caught stealing from a dry goods store, he at last reveals himself as a man and undresses from women's clothing to expose a very tattooed man. It is this stage moment that Horijin has captured in this tattoo. The client's spine divides the tattoo: the left side shows Benten still in women's clothing; the right side reveals his masculine tattoos. The whirlwind pattern is not only decoration but also suggests the chaotic, destructive course of Benten Kozo's life-style.
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