The Tattoo Writer is a collection of 134 black and white photographs taken by Japanese writer Akimitsu Takagi of the tattoo scene in Tokyo in the 1950s.

Forgotten in the family library, unknown until their discovery in 2017, his photographs establish him as one of the most important witnesses to the history of tattooing in 20th century Japan. They are published for the first time.

Akimitsu Takagi (1920-1995) was one of the greatest Japanese crime writers of the 20th century. Crazy about tattooing, he entered this underground scene and documented it with his medium format camera. In the Japanese capital, he photographed the greatest tattoo artists of the time, their clients and their tattoos, thus constituting an archive of his time that is as rare as it is unedited.
For this edition, the photographs in the book were scanned from the original negatives. These old documents are almost 70 years old and although they arrived in an exceptional state of preservation, they have been specifically cleaned and restored.

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Book release: May 2022.
The Tattoo Writer: 200 pages – 134 photographs – Bilingual English/French – Three texts (“The Tattoo Writer” by Pascal Bagot; “My Father and Tattooing” by Akiko Takagi, daughter of Akimitsu Takagi; “Tattoos and crime novels” by Gérald Peloux, specialist in Japanese popular literature).

Editing: Pascal Bagot
Artistic director: Caroline Thiriet
Production: Stéphanie Reis-Pilar

Printed by EBS in Verona, Italy.

For its printing, The Tattoo Writer has been the subject of a crowdfunding campaign from 25 September to 30 October 2021 on the Ulule platform (click to access the project page).