Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Today was spent on the phone with Paypal, wondering why the removing of the acceptance limitations took such a long time. Once that was sorted, I could finally send out invoices to people in England, the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Italy, USA, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia and Poland. Seems that this book of ours will travel the globe in the near future.

If somebody didn't get their invoice, please let us know, and we'll immediately correct it!


(photograph from Horiyoshi III's studio in Yokohama was captured by Matti Sedholm 2009)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Hauling 1300 kilos of books onto an elevator and drag them through a hallway and then finally stack the boxes up in the storage space....well, I am happy it's not the central part of creating good books on Irezumi. I will cut short the usual ramblings and leave you with the first hastily captured photographs of Kofuu-Senju Publications first publishing effort. I am very pleased with the result. It came out as a very solid creation, and finally all doubts can be put to rest. The limited edition "Ryushin" can for now be easily ordered by simply sending us an email at, stating your name and shipping adress. We will return with a PayPal invoice including packing and shipping. Once that is payed the book goes in the mail.

Monday, 27 September 2010

"Ryushin" delivery update.

As all foolproof systems, shipping is of course a subject of margins of errors. The delivery of the copies of "Ryushin" was originally set for wednesday this week, then changed for today. After waiting most of the day at the office I called them up and got notified that delivery will in actuality occur tomorrow(!). Confusing, yes, but not really a problem.

Of a more problematic nature is the news that I am awaiting 1,3 tons (!) of books, and I am the only person there to haul the boxes into storage. Seems like that long overdue workout is about to happen.

More news tomorrow.

"Ryushin", our new Horiyoshi III book, was well recieved at the London Tattoo Convention.

Alex Reinke (Horikitsune, Kofuu) represented Kofuu-Senju Publications, as well as the Horiyoshi III Family, at the London Tattoo Convention that was held this past weekend. Together with him was Kazuyoshi (Horiyoshi III's son) and their friend Horikazu.
The convention was a busy one, and the release of "Ryushin" was highly anticipated as well as very well recieved. Booksales exeeded our expectations, and we are really pleased with the outcome of the weekend.

Myself could not attend this (for us) historic event, but was kept updated daily on the developments. Today I sit anxiously awaiting the delivery of the "Ryushin" copies destined for the Kofuu-Senju Publications swedish office. As soon as they arrive I will post images of the finnished work at this blog, as well as start mailing out copies to all those who pre-ordered it.
It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun as well!!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next post!


(photograph from Fukuoka, snatched from the car as we rode to meet Nakamura Toshikazu late last summer, wa captured by Alex Reinke)

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Day Off.

Tuesday. Raining. Sitting around waiting for a shipment of packing materials for "Ryushin".
As soon as the books arrives on monday next week, the shipping out begins to all those who made reservations of "Ryushin", the new dragon book by Horiyoshi III.
Seems almost like a day off.


(photograph from Nanzen-ji captured by Matti Sedholm, Kyoto, Japan spring 2007)

Monday, 20 September 2010

"Ryushin", our new Horiyoshi III book, will be available at the London Tattoo Convention.

Friday morning I spoke to the bookbinders as they were approaching the completion of the printing process of "Ryushin". As in most cases, ample time shrunk down into a hair's width, but they seem to be able to deliver the first threehundred copies to London before noon on the 24th of September.
Unless ships are sunk or aeroplanes crash, you will be able to see the finnished work first hand at the London Convention this coming weekend. The book will be sold at the Horiyoshi III Family booth. Look for it and you will most certainly find it.

The rest of the books will arrive here in Umeå around the same time, and all of you out there around the world that already reserved your copy will be getting your Paypal invoices in the inbox. This also means that we will be able to finally show the finnished work here on this blog, and that I am going to spend many hours packing and shipping.

Info on how to reserve a copy can be found at the top of the right hand column of this blog.


(photograph captured by Matti Sedholm, Nanzen-in, Kyoto, Japan autumn 2007)

Friday, 17 September 2010

Irezumi continues to be main theme for Kofuu-Senju Publications.

A mere seven days remains until our Horiyoshi III dragon book "Ryushin" can finally meet its public. Being the first effort of two persons that one day decided to make the books they themselves wanted to buy, it's a nervewrecking week of awaiting response and reactions.

The past six months have been inspirational but rough. Where do you begin when you have never made a book before? And how the hell is it done? The answers were definetely fewer than the questions. So many things to suddenly learn –typography, book editing software, delivering for print, paper qualities, bookbinding options, promotion, transportation, storing.....

It seemed endless in the beginning. I am sure that the professional in any of the aforementioned fields will find faults in our productions, but we decided at an early stage to try to keep all the necessary required parts of the process in-house. When making books on subjects that are close to the heart for us, it seemed unatural to leave it to somebody else to interpret our intentions. Maybe that comes from the years of dilligent struggle to interpret Irezumi and it's related cultural phenomena? At least I like to think so.

The approach to making the Kofuu-Senju books is to treat each book as a separate work of art. I myself has always been passionately interested in finding the alternatives that fit into my own way of relating to the world around me. In a sense this is the same credo that sustains Horiyoshi III's constant development artistically, called Shuhari in japanese. Basically this means that you first learn the tradition, then tear it down in order to create something beyond the former.

So what is a book really? In its fundamental sense , it's a set number of pages with some content within the borders of the front and the back of the covers. I even would like to go so far as to say that the pages within could even be blank! The rule being no-rule, meaning that the image of a book is, as anything else purely subjective to the its creator. Kofuu-Senju Publications have made this their starting point in book creating and designing.

With "Ryushin" soon fresh from the printers, and "Kokoro" well underway in design, we are now looking forward to future projects. In order to present to you some kind of an release-schedule, we've figured it out like this:

24th of September 2010: "Ryushin"

Around the turn of the year 2010/2011: "Kokoro"

Early autumn 2010: "Ryushin II" and "Nakamura's

Sometime during 2011: Another book about a Japanese
Irezumi artist. Plans are laid but
not finalized. The name will be
released at a later date.

Of course, Since the only rule is No-rule, our creative minds will probaly find more things of interest to create books around during this period, so make sure you return to this blog to get the information as it unfolds.

For those unable to attend the London Tattoo Convention next weekend there's always the possibility to reserve a copy of "Ryushin" beforehand. Just click here.


(Photograph of recent horiyoshi III Irezumi work was created by Alex Reinke in Yokohama, Japan April 2010.)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

On Irezumi.

When you study Irezumi it is necessary to go beyond mere linework and shading. The pigment inserted into the skin is just a conclusion of what came before that moment. The fundamental uniqueness of Irezumi lies in its gathering of all the possible aspects of Japanese culture and history, transforming the sum of them into a spiritual and visual brocade.
Irezumi draws its power from zen, ink, paper, demons, ghosts, heroes and myth, as well as the chilled and canned café au lait that you get from one of the inumerable vending machines on any street corner in modern day Japan.

Irezumi is not old. It just started long ago. It's a common mistake to think that by practising Irezumi, you are dwelling on the past, preserving it. Irezumi is a continuous phenomena, meant to evolve and never to sit still and sulk in the dusty robe of history. Just like the Japanese garden, it is meant to explore, and with every corner and turn, there's new scenery to experience and benefit from.

(Photograph from Koto-in, Kyoto, Japan was created by Matti Sedholm in March 2007)

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Nakamura Toshikazu, "Kokoro" and the running cat.

What can one do when creativity comes knocking? There's no use struggling to remain calm and sane. Like swimming against a raging river, it becomes an exercise in futility. Let go of the last piece of driftwood and take the plunge.

This autumn we're going down to Fukuoka to photograph for our upcoming book on traditional shamisenbori tattooist Nakamura Toshikazu. His style is based on the same culture as Horiyoshi III of Yokohama, still geographical, personal and other differences sees the artistic results in a whole different dress. It will be very interesting to approach his work phographically, since time place and subject twists the arm of creation. What form will we discover this time?

All the initial photography form our next book, "Kokoro", a journey into the spirit of horiyoshi III, has now been edited. This means in no way that we are even close to the finnished book. Now comes selection, wrestling with the contextual form and giving it a final shape in design.
time runs faster than a cat who's tail caught fire! Grab hold!

(photograph of Horikazu captured on a river boat in Fukuoka, Japan, September 2009 by Alex reinke. Irezumi work by Horiyoshi III)

Friday, 10 September 2010

"Ruyshin" book facts

Well, Facebook does not seem to budge an inch, so I guess we're back to the homing pigeons. Quite incredible how such a enormous piece of digital machinery can be so incompetent. Possibly this will be the end of Kofuu-Senju Publications Facebook endeavours. If FB can't come to their digital senses, we'll rely on old fashioned blogging for communication.

As promised yesterday I will post the book facts (size etc) right here, right now.

Book Facts:

Limited edition of 2000 copies.

Hardcover and threadbound.

Embossed cover title and spine.

24 x 34 cm (aprox. 9,5 x 13,5 inches)

208 pages printed on uncoated 150 gr Scandia 2000 paper.

Careful editing and personal design by Kofuu-Senju Publications

Printed by Fälth & Hässler, Sweden.

Featuring photography by Alex Reinke and Matti Sedholm

So, there it is. Remember, it is possible to reserve your copy/copies of "Ryushin" by sending an email to State Your name and shipping adress and we will reply with an Paypal invoice as soon as the book arrives. Set release date is September 24th 2010, at the London Tattoo Convention.

(photograph captured at temple close to Yanaka Cemetary, Tokyo, Japan by Matti Sedholm autumn 2007)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

"Ryushin" - the dragons of Horiyoshi III

Here we show 4 samples from our new book "Ryushin". There's a 195 more inbetween the covers, and it's a comprehensive collection of Horiyoshi III's latest and perhaps most succesful effort to capture the spirit of the Japanese dragon (Ryu). This morning a mailman knocked at my door with an express delivery - a sample of the printed version of "Ryushin" for approval. I could do nothing but immediately do so. Until now, decisions concerning paper and editing has been locked away in one's and zero's on a string of computers. This morning I could finally see that all that hard work payed off.

Of course, the cover still remains to bo unveiled to us, as that's the binder's business, and not the printer's. So in a way we are still sitting on needles here.

Facebook are still locked down in its game of Catch 22. This morning I was finally able to add my phone in order to get a code texted to me, but no text message showed up. At this point I am not so surprised. The Iphone Facebook app still doesn't work, and I have come to regard this phenomena as a boat full of holes. One of these days I might get back in there again, but my hopes are vanquished and full of dust by now.

Tomorrow we'll be posting the final facts on the book (size etc).

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


When trying to spread information on our new Horiyoshi III book, "Ryushin", via Facebook yesterday, something odd happened. Suddenly facebook wanted me to confirm my identity by adding a mobile phone. However facebook doesn't support mobile phone carriers from Sweden so there was no way I could do that technically.
Now my option was to obtain a code so I could upload my mobile phone number anyway, but in order to do this I have to be logge in, which is impossible since I cannot add a phone. Catch 22 indeed. I then turned to my Iphone for facebook acess, but there I can't log in either. Facebook says my username and password is incorrect (which it is not. Tried a million times). so here we are - Facebookless at the peak of our publishing efforts. One can only smile, and miss the age of the homing pigeon a little bit.

Otherwise the day has been spent mailing out pressreleases to tattoo magazines. Quite a mindnumbing task after a while. Nevertheless, I pushed through, so that is taken care of as well.

So what to do now? I am preparing three sneak previews of the paintings featured in the book for tomorrows blog. Be sure to stop back for that little event as well.


(photograph from Samukawa Jinya captured by Alex reinke, Japan april 2010)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Kokoro - Kofuu-Senju Publications next book on Horiyoshi III of Yokohama.

"Kokoro" (heart, mind, spirit) is the title of our next book project. Originally, it was our first idea, but when visiting Horiyoshi III in april this year, he showed his latest dragon ink paintings to us and asked if this would not be a great Kofuu-Senju project. We could nothing but to resppond to the obvious, and decided to publish "Ryushin" before "Kokoro".

The idea of making "Kokoro" sprung to life late 2008 and it is a conclusion of our studies in Irezumi and its related culture and history. Over the years pieces had been assembled into a puzzle, (always to be incomplete) and the image of it started communicating with us on a more spiritual level.

There have been a number of books on Horiyoshi III's magnificent catalogue of work, but we felt that something was lacking. Often these books visually presented the works of art but never the creator behind them. In a sense, the traditional Japanese tattoos of Horiyoshi III were merely hung like paintings in a gallery. Where was the context? Where was Horiyoshi III?

When we, (Alex and Matti), first met, we immediately discovered that we had many things in common when it came to the appreciation of Japanese culture. We were both deeply moved by Zen buddhism and it concepts, we dabbled in Japanese martial arts and we had started to se patterns and connections inbetween these various phenomena. We were both pursuing Irezumi in a most serious way, and in the midst of all this a pattern of thought, emotion and insight emerged.

"Kokoro" will be a visual expression of these patterns. Often words jumbles up even the most simple of concepts and we will try to show the phenomena of Horiyoshi III, Irezumi and Kokoro in a graphic form. "Kokoro" will contain a large amount of newly captured photography, both of Horiyoshi III as an artist, in private and in portraiture, as well as many new images of his Irezumi work, both new and old. This will be set in combination with short texts, poetry, zen, and the things that surface in the process..

It will be a big book, and the photography will be of high quality. and we will use renowned swedish printers Fälth & Hässler in order to ensure the highest quality in the finnished product.

Meanwhile, don't forget to reserve your copy of "Ryushin", which is released very soon! You can obtain information on how to do this here.

(photograph of Horiyoshi III writing "kokoro" was captured by Matti Sedholm in Yokohama, Japan autumn 2009)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Inbetween one Horiyoshi III book and another Horiyoshi III book.

"Ryushin" is at the mercy of the printers (Fälth & Hässler), and I pray they have mercy on my soul. There's a slight void, a creative emptiness, that lingers at the office these past few days. The work on "Kokoro", our second book on the subject of Horiyoshi III and Irezumi has already begun. Thousands of photographs have been sorted, selected, rejected and made their transformation from RAW to printables. There are still a few hundred to process, but then the actual designing of the work will begin.

"Kokoro" started as one idea, transformed into another, and finally returned to the original one. We feel fairly confident in the original idea, and have decided to run with it.
With only a few months until the actual printing of that work, this office (Senju's) and the other (Kofuu's) will once again be filled with creative energy. There will also be plenty of despair and desperation, of course. Wouldn't wanna be without it.

While you are waiting for news on "Kokoro", make sure to reserve you copy of "Ryushin". There's a limited amount of copies being made, and the pre-orders have started coming in.
Don't miss out. More info on how to pre-order your copy can be found here.


(photograph from Fushimi Inari, outside Kyoto, was created by Matti Sedholm November 2008)

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Reserve a copy of the upcoming Horiyoshi III book "Ryushin".

It is now possible to reserve Your copy/copies of "Ryushin". Official release date is 24/9 at the London Tattoo Convention. With only a few weeks until release we are now taking Your resevations. Send an e-mail to and let us know your name, adress and how many copies you want. When the book is out we'll send you an e-mail Paypal invoice. Just click the Pay Now button and the wheels are in motion.

Remember that this is a limited Edition work. No more than 2000 copies will be made. No softcover edition and no revised editions.

Facts on "Ryushin" (size, content etc) can be found here, here and here.

The price is 2000 SEK plus shipping.
Further facts on this book will be released during the coming weeks.

(photograph from Kennin-ji, Kyoto, Japan was created by Matti Sedholm in October 2008)

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Ryushin - dragon illustrations by Horiyoshi III of Yokohama

The final changes and corrections have been made to the design of "Ryushin", our upcoming book of new Horiyoshi III designs. The phone and the mailbox are silent and empty now. Seems like I finally did everything right and the printers can get busy on all their magic. There's still three more weeks until "Ryushin" becomes paper and covers to me, instead of ones and zeros in my computer. There is probably, but not hopefully, some mistakes and faults in there, as Horiyoshi III himself would maybe comment - "It's all Human Life".

What remains now is a few days rest before the bulk of work on "Kokoro", our upcoming photographic book on Horiyoshi III and his heart beginns. Almost all the photographs are processed and ready for selection. We have thousands to choose from, and selecting will probably be the most difficult part of that project. It's very tricky to now when to stop creating photographs around a project. Personally I could go on for a hundred years, if allowed. Fortunately I am not.

(photograph of Horiyoshi III clients created by Matti Sedholm/Senju in Yokohama, Japan 2009)