TATTOOING THE INVISIBLE MAN: Bodies of Work, 1955-1999, by Don Ed Hardy. edited by Francesca Passalacqua. Santa Monica, Calif.: Smart Art Press/Hardy Marks Publications, 1999, 300 pp., profusely illustrated, color and b/w, $90.

In 1972 Don Ed Hardy, already a tattoo artist of note, made his first trip to Japan. He had long admired the ukiyo-e culture, particularly the prints that had inspired Edo-style tattooing, and now he was invited to come and work with Horihide (Kazuo Oguri). Hardy thus became the first Westerner to tattoo in a traditional Japanese environment.His customers were “carpenters, traditional tradespeople and a lot of yakuza,” and Oguri was full of traditional tattoo lore that he willingly imparted. At the same time, however, “he was also in love with the flashy life of the gangsters.”

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