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Tokyo: What’s the story behind your tattoo?

by Jon Mitchell

Jon Mitchell asked some foreign Japan residents to spill the story behind their ink.

Armin R.
Designer, 45 (German)
My mother passed away 12 years ago, so I wanted a tattoo that reminded me of her. I chose Shige from Yellow Blaze. He always puts all his knowledge and power into making his work perfect. This is Monju Bosatsu — a Buddhist deity — and it took around 50 hours to complete.

John Monday
Writer, 39 (Welsh)
I’m from Wales, where the national emblems include daffodils and dragons. So this tattoo is a way to remember my roots and a reminder, each morning, to thank the Lord I’m Welsh. It took 10 hours from Tomo at Yellow Blaze.

Perri Silverstein
Nail artist, 25 (American)
For me, tattooing is art. I’m a very joyous and colorful person and this tattoo suits my personality. It was done by Hiroshi of Three Tides in Tokyo. I sat for six hours, and it’s beautiful.

Barbara Joy
Life coach, 52 (Canadian)
At the time I got this tattoo, there was a lot of turmoil in my life. This tattoo is my internal pain externalized. I needed a way to rationalize what had happened, and this was the best thing I ever did.

Adrian Storey
Filmmaker, 40-something (British)
Tattoos are part of a tradition thousands of years old, so they ought to mean something. That’s why I chose this Green Man, which has an English, pagan meaning. It was redrawn — almost line for line — from a picture by my father. It’s my mark of respect for him, and it took 45 hours to complete.

Bellamy Hunt
Antique dealer, 36 (British)
It’s my first and only tattoo, so I wanted the best I could get. I chose Horitoku, who works in tebori style — everything hand-done, not using a machine. I’m one of the few foreigners he’s tattooed. It took 25 hours over the course of a year and I love it. It’s part of who I am.

If you are interested in gathering views in your area, mail community@japantimes.co.jp.