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Other Okinawa Ink Array

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“There are a couple of things that make a good studio,” said Okinawa Ink interpreter and shop manager Junya Ishii. “First of all there’s the clean space and equipment. Some people will work out of their apartment or use cheap supplies… Well, buyer beware. You get what you pay for.” He stresses that looking for the best deal is not necessarily recommended for getting a tattoo – a kind of cross between a commissioned art piece and an invasive medical procedure. “Be careful,” Ishii regularly says to customers, “this [tattooing] is an intense process, and the tattoo will be on your body forever.”

All of Okinawa Ink’s supplies, from the ink to the needles, come from a reputable distributor who imports it all from the U.S. Good equipment, Ishii noted, is essential for ensuring not only the quality of the end product but the health and safety of the customer. The studio is kept clean, and a sterilizer is in constant operation. Service doesn’t end with a fine piece of body art. Detailed instructions in the care of new tattoos and in the use of a free week’s supply of special medicated cream are part of the service.

The second mark of a quality studio is of course the beauty of its product. Every month Okinawa Ink hosts a number of visiting artists at their second floor Chatan shop. This month staff artist Bara will be joined by Aki from Yokohama, Mana from Nagoya and Tsuka from Tokyo, each bringing his own style and sensibilities to this ancient art. It is this variety of talent – with over 50 combined years of experience – that makes Okinawa Ink one of the most reputable studios in Okinawa.

Although the artists are all great generalists, each brings his own specialty. Resident artist Bara is a master of Japanese traditional forms who uses a relatively narrow color palette to create intricate depictions of chrysanthemums, dragons and other design motifs that came into their own in Japan. Aki is a 17-year veteran who, having mastered most styles, originated a now popular trend that uses anime-inspired forms and figures. Lately, he has branched out into a newer, more abstract vision known as trash polka. Mana is known for his vibrant colors and use of mandala forms and geometric shapes in what those in the industry call new school or neo traditional. Tsuka specializes in what is called American Traditional – depictions of faces or objects such as anchors, daggers and hearts. He works primarily in blacks and greys and is especially skilled in lettering and script work.

Having a tattoo applied by a master using state of the art equipment, moreover, insures that the colors and patterns will stay sharp and vibrant for years. “I see some men and women who come back after years with their older tattoos that still look new,” said Ishii.

Who are these customers? “About 95 percent of all our customers are military,” Ishii said. “That’s why we have an interpreter.”

For more information:

On Instagram: @okinawa_ink

Okinawa Ink

1-1-7 2A Mihama Chatan, Okinawa
Mon-Fri 14:00-23:00; Sat-Sun 12:00-23:00
Thurs day


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