Thanks to Corey Noxon over at ArcheoJapan, I became aware of an exhibit that was reported on back in 2016 connected to both ancient culture and traditions in the archipelago and modern tattoo practice.
A collaborative project between the well-known tattoo artist Taku Oshima and underground culture photographer Ryoichi “Keroppy” Maeda brought to life designs based on indigenous cultures from the Jomon Period (c. 14,000–300 BCE). The exhibition was called The Jomon Tribe, and was featured in the TAV Gallery in Asagaya (Tokyo). The photographs featured a variety of subjects who received Oshima’s black-marking tattoos, which are composed of spiral and cord-style patterns reminiscent of Jomon period pottery.
It has been theorized that tattooing practices in Japan go as far back as the Jomon period, and they are known to have also existed among the Ainu people and in Ryukyuan culture (today, Okinawa).
There are a number of sites that reported on the exhibition, and both the photographs and tattoos are stunning. You can still see the exhibition space and some of works on Maeda’s Facebook page, so be sure to check it out!