Ever since I was a kid, I loved watching anime and playing video games, I was a pretty typical young boy growing up and loved watching Dragonball z and Naruto when it would appear on TV. I’d say though that the first anime I ever watched through chronologically as a kid was Yu Yu Hakusho and that’s what got me hooked.
I’ve been in Alaska since 2000 so I was only 7 when we got up here, there’s only one anime convention and it’s called Senshicon which I have attended a few times but have always wanted to go to the bigger conventions I’ve seen online and though I do travel a lot every year most trips are designed around me tattooing at other shops.
Growing up i feel everyone wanted to be accepted and back then anime was definitely not something a lot of kids around me were into. I had my best friend who I still talk to every day about the new animes coming out and besides that I never really felt I could express my love for it without being judged. So seeing how much the community and openness of anime has grown is incredible to me, it makes me really happy to be able to see people express their love for anime. I got into anime tattoos obviously for the fact I love anime but also the idea that a person can see a character or symbol on someone and be able to connect over it.
I’d say there definitely is a community, especially with how social media is. Being able to go to Instagram and see someone post there new anime tattoo and be able to start up conversation with a stranger over it is one of the things I love about doing anime tattoos. It very much is a sub-niche but the speed it’s growing is crazy, you’re starting to see tattooers who don’t even love anime start switching to doing anime tattoos so it’s really interesting how it’s changing.
I’d say it’s harder to find someone without a tattoo then someone with one now a days. Again with social media and TV it’s really normalized how tattoos are perceived in society. Back in the day it was for sailors and bikers and frowned upon but now pretty much everyone has one.
https://eaglerivertattoo.com/ (Eagle River, AK) // Photo: Ejen Chuang