A once dying art from the Edo era revived by dedicated tattooists, Kensho II has made it his life mission to ensure the tebori method never dies.
Directly translating to “hand carving,” tebori uses a tool called a sashibo or nomi, a wooden or metal instrument affixed with variations of needles on the end. With a gentle motion reminiscent of digging, the artist inserts the ink into the skin with the sashibo through pokes.
Passed down from generation to generation, each family of artists has their own preferences of technique and material used for their tool.
Angle. Speed. Strength.
The key to mastering this 17th century Japanese tattooing style is precision. Using the angle, strength behind and timing between each motion, an artist can outline or shade to create the desired image.
While a tebori tattoo does require more time to accomplish, artists and clients alike stand by the procedure, saying the color has much more longevity in the skin.
No pain, no gain. No more.
The procedure has a stigma for being more gruesome due to the tools used and the sound it makes as it impacts the skin. Most clients claim the procedure is significantly less painful compared to machine tattooing.
“Although the process looks more gruesome than a machine, Tebori is less painful and does less damage to the skin than a tattoo machine.” - Kensho II
Ink Like Kensho
Since 2003, Kensho II has brought tebori back to its former glory and beyond, creating highly detailed colorful Japanese tattoos with a gifted hand. Trained under his master, Takehisa Muramatsu, Kensho first learned to tattoo on radishes and pig skin.
It paid off. Receiving his title from his tebori master, Kensho II has traveled the world and established himself as a reputable artist. See him in action at his locations in Saitama, Japan and Gooise Meren, Netherlands.
Have you been converted to tebori? Book with Kensho at japanesetattoo.com for both the Saitama and Gooise Meren locations.
Tebori or not, the impact is certain.
Seeped in culture and tradition, see the powerful results of Kensho's Yūkyū Ink Set in your own tattoos.