Born Yoshihito Nakano, Horiyoshi III (b. 1946) received his current title from the late tebori master Yoshitsugu Muramatsu, also known as Shodai Horiyoshi of Yokohama. Sailor Jerry visited and studied Horiyoshi II’s work in Japan as did Don Hardy. Horiyoshi III started at age 16 and served as Shodai Horiyoshi’s apprentice for ten years. By age twenty-eight Horiyoshi III’s bodysuit was complete, hand-tattooed by Shodai Horiyoshi.
Though ukiyo-e officially ended in 1868, Horiyoshi III carries on the spirit of Edo’s “pictures of the floating world” in his work, all the while incorporating his own style and a contemporary perspective. This sensitivity to tradition extends beyond his tebori. In recent years, Horiyoshi has concentrated on traditional kakejiku (scroll paintings). Rendering Japanese folktales, calligraphy and religious subjects in sumi (black ink) and traditional mineral pigments, Horiyoshi III interweaves past, present and future. In addition to painting and drawing, Horiyoshi III tattoos full time, publishes books of his drawings and is the founder of Japan’s only tattoo museum with his wife, Mayumi, in Yokohama. With over forty years of experience, Horiyoshi III is the foremost authority on traditional Japanese tattooing and is considered the foremost tattoo master in Japan. These two tattoo flash samples are just in to Lift Trucks: a dragon descending through the waves and a dragon ascending through waves.