Master Horiyoshi III Nakano Yoshihito was born on the 9th of March 1946 in Japan.
Tattooing traditional Japanese Irezumi including drawing and painting for over 40 years one can say that he has reached an impressive level in his craft and as an artist today. He is probably the most famous Japanese tattooist worldwide and has tattooed renowned movie- and rock-stars in his career. For decades he became known as the ambassador of Japanese traditional Irezumi tattooing. Befriending people like Mr. Don Ed Hardy in the early 1980ies he made extensive travels to the west showing his skills and artwork, which was always in high demand.
He launched his own exclusive high end clothing line ‘Horiyoshi the third’ in 2009, which immediately took off to be a huge success. The clothing is being sold in selected high class boutiques the world over.
The ‘Yokohama Tattoo Museum’ was founded by him in the year 2000. In this he shows his vast collection of artwork and traditional Tattoo artefacts from all over the world.
Horiyoshi 3 has 2 apprentices left. One is his son Souryou Kazuyoshi the other German born Alex Kofuu Reinke Horikitsune. He will not take any other apprentices.
The book publications connected to Mr Horiyoshi III are countless. His productivity is so immense that his senior apprentice Alex Reinke Horikitsune and family friend Matti Sedholm Horimatsu founded the ‘Kofuu-Senju Publications’ company in 2010 in Horiyoshi III’s name. Their goal is to produce legendary, quality books on the subjects of Irezumi, Zen and Japanese Culture in general under chairmanship of Horiyoshi III.
With incredible success and ceaseless effort he is recently concentrating on the production of traditional Japanese silkscreen paintings, which are being mounted on the traditional silk scrolls called Kakejiku. He has received a lot of guidance concerning technique by his best friend, the late Ozuma Kaname-sensei who was a very famous silkscreen painter. Unfortunately Ozuma-sensei died in late 2011 and he is sorely missed. Horiyoshi III takes pride in being the one in whom the spirit of Ozuma-sensei can live on. Horiyoshi III had numerous exhibitions both in Japan and Overseas and has he donated some of his art to Buddhist zen temples across Japan. One of the artwork was donated to help Gyokuryuji temple in Gifu Prefecture which was partly destroyed by fire. Charity plays an important role in the masters life. After the Tohoku desaster in 2011 he immediately produced artwork for sale to collect funds for the badly affected children of the Tsunami and radiation struck area in northern Japan.
These exhibitions include (only the biggest ones are mentioned here):
Tokyos’ Ginza Galleries like the Vanilla Gallery 2008 and 2010.
Los Angeles Canvas L.A. Art Gallery in 2009 and 2010.
Somerset House London U.K. 21st March till 1st of July 2012.
Horiyoshi III also had exhibitions in the National East-Asian Museum of Stockholm, Sweden, two times. One in 1986 and one in 2005. The latest one became a wandering exhibition and was shown in the Bildmuseet Umea Sweden in 2006. It was organized by Matti Senju Sedholm Horimatsu and Alex Kofuu Reinke Horikitsune.
The Somerset House exhibition in 2012 showed master Horiyoshi III’s latest work which are the Kakejiku hanging silk scrolls. Some are available here on this website. They are painted with black Japanese sumi ink and traditional Japanese mineral colours painted on silk or Japanese rice paper. The designs are strictly traditional Japanese based on the folk tales and religion of the master’s native country as well as calligraphy and it will be the first time that these are shown in Europe.
Due to his kidney failure in 2007 and his weekly hospital visits he is not able to attend any events apart the ones in the greater Tokyo area.