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)