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Tattoo artists show their skills at free tattoo event

By: Chika Kobayashi

Date Posted: 2000-09-01

Before we get into the club scene, let me give you a quick reminder that sensational tattoo event will take place at Gourmet Town restaurant in Hamby, Chatan Town on Sep 8. Anyone wishing to ad a touch on their bodies should check out this unbelievable event. Event organizers are inviting nine tattoo artists from Horiyoshi studio in Okinawa city, and Bonten studio in Naha. Anybody who wants to get a tattoo has a chance to get one for free. Ricky, the owner of the Gourmet Town states that “this event will be absolutely the first and last chance to decorate one’s body with a nice tattoo for free.”

Nine Japanese tattoo artists have their needles ready. In case more people wanting tattoos than the time allows show up, the lucky ones will be decided by draw. The drawing starts at 5 p.m., when the event commences.

Tattoo Artist Taro Bonten, the owner of Bonten Studio in Naha is one of the best well-known tattoo artists in Japan. He moved to live in Okinawa from Tokyo two years ago. His life could easily fill a book. He is not only well-know as a tattoo artist, but in his earlier days he was a movie actor, a novelist, and also creator of comics with a realistic narrative style. That style is a reason why he is so famous as a tattoo artist. He is now 71 years old. He created Bonten Studio which has several branches in various parts of Japan. He came to visit Okinawa after giving the day-to-day operations of the studios to his second in command.

He says that “I feel I have lived the life of three persons. I have done many things and a lot of things have happened to me. I’ve seen many things go by. Finally, I chose Okinawa as the place to spend the rest of my life two years ago.”

Bonten still works and wows “I will not retire until I am bedridden. I want to be active artist even when I become 100 years old provided that I am healthy.” I have to add that a famous movie actor Charlie Sheen had heard about Bonten even before his visit to Japan to promote his movie.

The event's another sponsor, Horiyoshi, originally from Osaka in mainland Japan, is also a well known tattoo artist. He has been running his studio for over seven years in Okinawa now. Even though Horiyoshi doesn’t confirm it, in my own estimate over the course of years he has done tattoos on more than 1,000 military people.

The nine artists at the Gourmet Town Restaurant event are from these two studios and waiting for their live canvasses on Sep. 8. During the event there will be a special drink system, all you can drink beer, cocktails and soft drinks from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. for the cost of ¥2,000 for women and ¥2,500 for men. For more info, call Gourmet Town at 937-8553.

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