#44 ASAKUSA - Ronin de Goede: tabigarasu no nikki

25 March - 2 May 2021

IBASHO is proud to announce the solo exhibition 'ASAKUSA' of the Dutch photographer Ronin de Goede. 
ASAKUSA is Ronin's visual diary of the time he spent following Horikazu-sensei, the traditional Japanese tattoo master in Tokyo’s Asakusa district. 

"In 2011, Ronin knocked on the door of the renowned tattooist Horikazu shodai. Hoping to meet the great man himself, he was dismayed to hear from Horikazu’s wife that he was terminally ill and couldn’t receive visitors. A shout stalled his dejected trudge away from the house: Horikazu’s wife had called her son, who had already despatched a black Mercedes Jeep that arrived soon afterwards. Ronin was whisked off to a restaurant to join Horikazuwaka, himself a hugely accomplished tattooist who apprenticed with his father, at a party at ‘the big table at the back’. This is where Ronin saw the finest collection of some of the world’s most famous bodysuits and met high-ranking yakuza for the first time.

Ronin returned to Japan in 2016 with a mission: to photograph Horikazu’s work — and him working — for a publication on the art of traditional Japanese body suit tattooing. Resolute Ronin observed numerous tattoo sessions while confined to Horikazu’s studio. His respectful silence and focus did not go unnoticed, and after a few days he was invited to assist with daily tasks that are normally assigned to an apprentice. And finally, without him having to ask again, he was allowed to pick up his camera and start shooting. Horikazu kept him close for the rest of his visit.
Since then, Ronin has returned two or three times a year and met more of Horikazu’s yakuza clients, including some mid-ranking bosses, lieutenants and foot soldiers.

Two years ago, Ronin became an official photographer for the largest yakuza group attending the Sanja Matsuri (the Three Shrines Festival in May), the 5th Takahashi-gumi (a subgroup of Sumiyoshi-kai, the second largest crime syndicate in Japan." - excerpt from essay by Mark Poysden


ASAKUSA shows the art of body tattoos and a rare peek into the world of the Yakuza in Tokyo's neighbourhood Asakusa in high contrast B&W images, reminiscent of the style of Provoke photographers like Daido Moriyama, Yutaka Takanashi and Takuma Nakahira from the 1970s.