THUNDERBOLT Horiichi has tattooed a series of near abstractions on this client, who asked for "the fury of the elements." Here are wind, thunder, lightning, and clouds tossed in turbulence.
TABOO These men have been tattooed by Horikin on the left, and Horigoro II on the right. The prayer Nam Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo (Hail to the Lotus Scripture of the Good Law) derives from the fanatical Nichiren sect of Buddhism founded in A.D. 1253, whose six million followers today are still much addicted to chanting and drumming. Their belief is that one perfect and sincere utterance of this single prayer will ensure rebirth in Nirvana, or Nothingness. The heavy leg tattooing on the man on the right was designed to cover severe scars. The Hail Lotus Sutra prayer is on the diagonal in red and upside down in gold to indicate either perversity or that Lord Buddha is omnidirectional. Both of these tattoos are particularly eccentric, in that they extend to the genitals. The penis is the last part of the anatomy to be tattooed and requires the most painful procedure of all. Two assistants hold the skin taut while the master tattoos in tiny sections. Many tattooees collapse after these sessions.
TRUST AND ORNAMENT (overleaf) Horikin, left, Horiuno, right; Horiuno, left, Horikin, right. The man on the far right has the Lotus prayer descending on his left leg and ascending upside down on his right leg. His body tattoo is the continuation of the famous battle between Heikuro and the Serpent seen earlier. The man on the left with the three-quarter body tattoo has a chivalrous commoner hero from Kabuki, with a stylish umbrella, tattooed on his back. One irezumi wears the additional ornament of a gold ring on his penis.
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