In 2000, I began apprenticeship with my predecessor Takehisa Muramatsu as known as Honke Horiyoshi aka Kensho 1st in Saitama, Japan.
I was simply a customer of my master. My master liked me. I am not sure why.
One day, he asked, “Do you want to become tattoo artist?” “Yes sensei,” I replied. From that point, I started my tattooing career. Normally, it’s very difficult to be given the chance to become a tattoo apprentice in Japan. Especially within a traditional Japanese tattoo family. I was very lucky.
The Japanese apprentice system is very strict. My predecessor never taught me directly. Instead, I watched his technique and studied his drawings for couple years until I received permission to practice Sashibo and Tebori, but not on customers. I trained on various items such as paper, radish, banana, pig skin I bought supermarket, etc. After much repetition, I ultimately tried the techniques on my own skin and studied what sort of ink mixtures (Japanese traditional tattoo artists make black ink for each appointment) worked and looked better, how much force I should apply for Tebori, etc… Perhaps it sounds inefficient, but I think it was very important to trial and error on myself in order to improve.
From 2003 to 2017 I started tattooing as a professional and was known as “Tenkiryu”. Later, I received the title (sorry I cannot tell you name of title) from my predecessor at the end of 2017, which I used from January to June 2018. Eventually, I had to change my title again to “Kensho The Second( Kensho II)” by outsider, it’s a long story. But it is a name I like it much more than old title.
The old title was as a successor of my predecessor’s tattoo family tree which began since around after the world war 2 period. The new title Kensho II is my predecessor’s first name in On-Yomi(Kanji has two type of reading On-Yomi and Kun-Yomi) which means I’m in a direct line of Honke Horiyoshi as a successor. Life is strange.
In recent years, I received invitations from numerous international tattoo conventions all over the world. Through the conventions, I made friendships and shared knowledge with other foreign tattoo artists. These experiences gave me inspiration and I began to find focus in a new direction.
I now live in Netherlands and opened private atelier, but keep traveling to enhance my skills and enjoy good times with friends and new faces.
I am on a path to find the best possible way of tattooing in my life.