“Carp Climbing Up a Waterfall”
渋谷 彫健 “鯉の滝登り”


刺青の歴史を鑑みれば手彫りこそが本道であるとし、スジからボカシまでの一切をマシンに頼らず自らの組んだノミだけを使って彫り上げる古典派の名手、渋谷 彫健氏による鯉の滝登り。

This is a back piece of a carp climbing up a waterfall by Shibuya Horiken, a master of the classic school. He believes that hand-poking is the true way considering the history of the irezumi, and uses only nomi (hand-poking tool) he has assembled by hand to tattoo everything from the lines to the shade and color, without relying on a machine.



Nowadays, there are few tattooers who apply lines by hand, and you might think that such an exquisite technique must be time-consuming.

However, according to the client, it took about 6 to 7 hours to finish all lines, including the time for hand-drawing. This work took about 35 hours in total to complete, which shows how quickly the skilled master is able to tattoo by hand.


It is also clear from Horiken’s work that this speed is not at the expense of the quality. The homogenous and strong lines and the smooth and dense shading are the ultimate in exquisiteness, and one cannot help but marvel at how the human hand is able to achieve such precise work.



<About Koi Carp>
The Chinese history book “Book of the Later Han” states, “A great fish that can climb up the Dragon Gate, a rapid stream of the Yellow River, will become a dragon.” The great fish was interpreted as a carp, and carp became popular as a bringer of good luck of success in life and growth.

In irezumi, the so-called “carp climbing up a waterfall”, in which the carp is writhing violently and boldly trying to swim up a waterfall, is widely established.

※See Horiken’s interview here
And see more of his work on Instagram

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