Making books was never really a part of the plan for any of us.
We loved Irezumi. We loved Japanese culture, and even though we may have lacked a word like Kokoro (jap. Heart, spirit)in order to describe the abstract longing that possessed us during every creative moment, we were already full of emotion, poetry and a desire to grab a hold of "it".
We just didn't have clue what this "it" was. Maybe we still don't.
Looking back over the years we have known each other now, the interactions, the conversations and our personal ups, downs and almost any type of direction, it seems inevitable that we now find ourselves among all these photographs and words longing to become comprehensible, readable, parts of patterns.
Books were always a big part of the deal. Information was priceless and made gold look like dogshit. To have even the most fundamental chance to create something worthwhile, the word and the image just had to be conquered.
All through this pursuit, as we matured artistically as well as spiritually, we realized that so many books simply weren't being made. Nobody was making photographs and writing down the words to all the books that slipped everybody's minds.
Then, one perfectly ordinary day, everything aligned just right for us to see it, grab a hold of it and make it ours. To become the makers of these books. An idea so insane it made perfect sense.
(photograph by Matti Sedholm at Horiyoshi III's studio, Yokohama, Japan)