Irezumi is a phenomena that embodies many of the elements that together creates Japanese history, culture and tradition. When performed and created with a compassionate and dedicated heart, it paints an insightful portrait of the Japanese soul, using Ukiyo-e, Noh and Kabuki as a strong yet subtle palette. This thing called Irezumi is landscape where poetry and spirituality forms a solid foundation. Its mountains are Zen and the other Buddhist forms covered in the moss of a living Folklore, and through this immortal landscpape winds the river called Shinto, carrying the seeds of a people's vision and imagination. This is the landscape of Kofuu-Senju Publishers.
This small private publishers Company was founded in 2009 in Yokohama, Japan in close relation to the Irezumi master Horiyoshi III. Based in northern Sweden and partly in the U.K. , Kofuu-Senju Publications are taking on the challenge to bring to the delicate circle of true Irezumi connoceurs, a variety of simply good quality books on Irezumi related subjects, some presented with an artistic touch.
The artist names Kofuu and Senju have been given by Horiyoshi III to the Irezumi artists Horikitsune and Horimatsu.
Horikitsune is the senior apprentice of Horiyoshi III. He studies under his master in his 11th year and is of german decent. Kofuu, meaning Fox-Wind, is a typical Japanese monk style artists name given to the artist by his master, or, as Horiyoshi III did, by calling himself Hakou meaning shining water, taken by the artist himself at a certain age and time of his creativity. It is used as a signature on their mostly Zen world inspired paintings and calligraphies. The name Kofuu has its origin in the word kitsune (fox) and kaze (wind or storm). In some Japanese folktales the fox appears and vanishes with the help of a storm.
Horimatsu is a long time friend of the Horiyoshi III Family. Masterless in his beginning years he befriended Horikitsune and got introduced to Horiyoshi III resulting in the master giving Horimatsu the artist name Senju, which means Eternal thousand armed Boddhisattva. Eternal like the green pine-trees (matsu) of Japan. Horimatsu is of swedish decent.
The friendship between Kofuu and Senju already bore fruit in the realization of a successful exhibition on Irezumi at the Museum of East Asian Arts in Stockholm, Sweden in 2005, showing artefacts and Irezumi from Horiyoshi III's private collection paired together with the collection of the museum.
Both family fathers, Irezumi artists, Photographers, practitioners of Zen Buddhism and students of the Japanese Martial arts, they are walking the long and rocky path of life side by side in a very similar manner, climaxing for now in this small publication company.