HORI-NAME

I’m often asked why I don’t use a “hori-name”.

Hori-name is a typical way of naming tattooists in Japan. In old times carvers also used to use this way. Hori means both carving and tattooing. Normally something with two syllables follows after the Hori-title.

horitake
carved by Yokokawa Horitake

This is not just for tattooists but also for many other kind of jobs. For example, there is a Yakitori restaurant named Tori-Masa in my neighborhood. Tori means chicken. Masa is maybe a part of the master’s name. 

Sao-Yoshi for a fishing rod maker (sao means rod), Men-Kichi for a ramen shop (men means noodle), Sushi-Gin for a Sushi restaurant, and so on.

This traditional way is very cool but it also has a problem. Your options are very limited. Syllables in Japanese are only about 50. So naming something using only two syllables results in 50×50=2,500 names. And of those 2,500 you can take not all of them. Because there are improper combinations like BAKA (stupid), KUSO (poo), HETA (no good) and so on.

You also can’t use the same name as someone else because it would be very disrespectful to them and their customers.

That’s why I don’t use hori-name.

by Tattooist Ryugen


Taira no Kiyomori
平清盛 日招き伝説 The legend of the grand minister Kiyomori call back the sun by his big power

painted by Toyokuni carved by Yokokawa Horitake

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