“Enma Daio”
芳柳 “閻魔大王”





This is a stunning gaku-bori (irezumi with background) of Enma Daio by Houryu, who practices the classics of Japanese tattoo, and is entirely hand-poked from lines to color. Nowadays even tattooers who have mastered the art of hand-poking rarely do lines by hand, so this work is very valuable in that sense.

The broad and boldly expressed gaku is magnificent, but on the other hand, the finely depicted botan-mikiri (edge of gaku) is also characteristic of his style. The simple color composition of only black, vermilion, and bengara in accordance with tradition, combined with the roughness of the lines unique to hand-poking, creates an inexplicable power.

Note that the sleeves are done by another artist.


Enma is the Lord of the Underworld, a judge of good and evil who monitors the actions of sentient beings and condemns them when they die. He is often referred to by his honorific titles such as Enma Daio and Enma Houo (both mean king). In Buddhism, there is a belief that he is an incarnation of Jizo Bosatsu who saves all sentient beings. The both thighs are decorated with oni (Japanese demon) called “gokusotsu” who inflict torment on the dead who have been cast into hell for sins committed during their lives.
※See Houryu’s interview here
And see more of his work on Instagram

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