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Ronin Gallery at the Morikami Museum

Ronin Gallery is proud to have collaborated with the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens on their exhibition, Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World. Through loans and select acquisitions the museum contextualized the Japanese tattoo tradition through the inclusion of ukiyo-e and select original works of art by preeminent master of the Japanese tattoo Horiyoshi III.

Perseverance: Japanese Tattoo Tradition in a Modern World was organized by the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California and is making its final stop of a national tour at the Morikami Museum. Curated by Takahiro Kitamura, the exhibition explores Japanese tattooing as a form of fine art by highlighting its roots in ukiyo-e prints and examining current practices of Japanese tattooing in the United States and Japan.

The exhibition focuses on the portrait photography of Kip Fulbeck which highlights the work of seven internationally acclaimed tattoo artists, Ryudaibori, Horitomo, Chris Horishiki Brand, Miyazo, Shige, Junii, and Yokohama Horiken, along with tattoo works by selected others. Highlights of the photography include the life-size 360-degree portraits of fully tattooed individuals, inviting the viewer to explore the tattoo by walking around the photograph.

The entire first room of the exhibit is dedicated to ukiyo-e. The gallery included wall text that explains the history of the Japanese tattoo, a display case that presents traditional tebori tools, as well as a tattoo design by our very own Horiyoshi III. This design is the only original work of art on paper by a contemporary tattoo artist in the entire exhibition!


Tattoo design by preeminent master of Japanese tattoo and Ronin Contemporary's very own Horiyoshi III.

As with our Asia Week 2015 exhibition TABOO: Ukiyo-e and the Japanese Tattoo, the Morikami's exhibition invites viewers to consider the Japanese tattoo as fine art. Additionally, there was no lack of praise for the incredible ukiyo-e exhibited. People were mesmerized by their state of preservation, the color, the quality of line, and the unquestionable connection between ukiyo-e and the tattoo tradition.