Saturday, May 14, 2011

Illustrated fuji

Bigger image on flickr
Fuji on the side of Illustrated Man- one of Sydney's oldest and most famous tattoo parlors- disappearing behind a security screen door.
I would be curious to see who has a Fuji tattoo. As most tattoos are made to memorialise a person or event, I'm interested in what exactly they were associating with the mountain?
There is one photo of a Fuji tattoo on the Illustrated Man website gallery. The shape of the mountain is totally wrong, and the file was called "Wave", which I find interesting as I suspect that being a beach culture, most people in Australia focus on the energy of the wave not the stillness of the mountain. Oddly the boat is in the tattoo but not the occupants.
"Wave" tattoo by Elliot
When I see this witches hat Fuji I think of the wonderful quote that Project Hyakumeizan posted recently from the Nihon Hyakumeizan (One Hundred Mountains of Japan) by Fukada Kyūya (1964) who in turn is quoting Kojima Usui:
this arc, slanting, somewhat steeply yet always in an easy, serene, almost carefree way, across a flawless sky
That curve and flat roofed peak is so perfect and calming to gaze upon, in fact its shape is everything- which makes me think that its inclusion in tattoo above is an after thought rather than its motivation.

On one of the entries on the British Museum database there is a quote by an artist describing how getting the perfection of Fuji's shape as a lifetimes work- I found it one night while procrastinating and now have no hope of remembering which of the 619 entries it was.

I just had another look at my post about Sarah's shoes (I link to it above) and just noticed that the Fuji on the bottom of her shoe is also a witches hat. Time for a new tag I think...


  1. It's good to see Kojima Usui getting some more air-time. Also to learn that Fuji is being accorded some recognition in the shita-machi of Sydney. Alas, Fuji images are kind of a dying art in the shita-machi of Tokyo - they used to be painted on the wall of every other sento but, sentos being on the way out, the art of Fuji wall-painting is fading with them. Maybe a subject for an upcoming post? (The Japan Times some years ago did an article about the Last Painter of Mt Fujis for Sentos ....

  2. yes the fuji on sento walls is definately the subject of a post at some point. I am a sento fan and visited quiet a few in Tokyo- including some with Fuji murals in tiles. I am not sure they were painted tiles or glazed with the pattern. But that post will have to wait a bit like some others.. there are several other pressing deadlines.

  3. I must send you a photo of my wave mural in the backyard! It is still a favourite image.

  4. Please send- one of my students has been making work about the Fukushima melt down and tsunami and has rendered the image too.
    Can you remember the Australian poster maker from the 70's or 80's who made a image with a rocker in the wave? I think it was Martin Sharpe I am sure Fuji is absent- will have to get Glenn onto that one?
    Also remind me to tell you the address of the Asakusa Sento with the Fuji mural.