Kijinkan 奇人館




Many people find beauty in objects that are healthy, bright, and vivid. A simple example would be the bountiful nature on this earth that reminds us of our natural blessings or the well-trained body of an athlete. Since we humans in our most primal sense are also animals with an instinctual primary purpose of living, it is inevitable that we are attracted to those things that give us a sense of “life”.


On the other hand, there are those who transcend this instinct and find beauty in dark, decadent things such as “death” and “emptiness”, which most seek to avoid. Such immoral beauty is positioned as a product of cultural maturity and corruption. It can be thought of as a creative sensibility that is the opposite of the primitive instinctual activities we do just to survive.

欧米ではそういった退廃的なスタイルのタトゥーも市民権を得ており、一定の人気を博しているが、日本ではまだあまり広くは認知されていない印象がある。そんな不遇とも言える環境下にあって、精力的に伝道を続けるひとりのアーティストがいる。東京 神楽坂にスタジオ“奇人館”を構えるNOBU氏だ。

In Europe and the U.S., such decadent style tattoos have gained a certain level of popularity, but it seems that they are still not widely recognized in Japan. In such a niche environment, there is one artist who vigorously works to create and spread this style. Nobu, at his studio called “Kijinkan” (“House of Eccentric”) in Kagurazaka, Tokyo, is this man.


Nobu has an established reputation for his exquisite black and grey works, but what cannot be overlooked in describing his style is his dark depiction of the grotesque. But there is nothing disgusting about it, in fact it is seamless integrated into his unique aesthetic.


After graduating from high school, Nobu moved to the U.S. and majored in art at university; due to the environment around him, he began to frequent tattoo studios and began to operate his own machine in parallel with his studies. He was shocked to learn of the dark, surrealist style of Paul Booth and others which at the time was unheard of in Japan.
The fact that Nobu’s works depict things that are not real, yet are not ridiculous and give a sense of reality can be directly attributed to his formal academic background. It is precisely because of this solid artistic foundation that he can pinpoint shading based on the assumption of the light source and can carry a consistent perspective, creating the vivid horror that is conveyed throughout his works.


Although Nobu professes to be greatly influenced by Robert Hernandez —the master of realism— he says that in regards to his own work, “I try not to put too much technique into it.” He explains that the pursuit of detail diminishes the overall impact of the work, and he strives to strike a balance between the two. Nobu remarks: “what I’m trying to get at is the fundamental strength of the picture.”


“My style is black and grey, but I don’t think I need to follow that manner.” Nobu also says.  He boldly leaves the skin where it is, using its natural tone to create a high-contrast finish, accentuating the “darkness” of the subject matter. His works are instantly recognizable not only because of their aesthetic and grotesque expressions, but also because of the uniqueness of his tattooing method.


Nobu never forces his ideas what he wants to tattoo on his clients. He believes that the work belongs to the client and that he must continue to tattoo whatever ordered with a consistent flavor, so that originality can flourish within the artwork itself. Behind his straightforward gaze, Nobu exudes confidence in his ability to create any subject in his own style.


住所: 東京都新宿区天神町64
営業時間: 12:00〜20:00(不定休)
電話番号: 03-6228-1251

Address: 64 Tenjin-cho, Shinjuku, Tokyo
Business Hour: 12:00〜20:00(Irregular Holidays)
Phone: (+81)3-6228-1251
※Appointment only.


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