"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)