Using thought to analyse reality is illusion; If preoccupied with victory or defeat all will be lost. The secret of Irezumi? Lightning slashes the spring wind!
Alex KŌSEI 狐聖 Reinke – Horikitsune 彫きつね is dedicated to keeping the traditional Japanese Zen based spirit of Kokoro – a simple translation would be heart or mind and in the emotional sense spirit, courage, affection and inner meaning – alive. This kokoro spirit is to be found in every aspect of traditional Japanese craftsmanship, martial arts, society and culture. An understanding of the Zen philosophy is of great importance for the japanese traditional Irezumi trainee and master likewise. In fact it can be extremely beneficial for everybody. The Japanese public is well aware of that and includes it into everyday life since its existence. Without a certain understanding of this matter one can hardly walk the path of an apprentice from beginning to end, or be able to create truly authentic traditional Japanese arts and crafts including Irezumi. Even just a slight understanding of the Zen-spirit can nurture the capability of loyalty, dutifulness or egolessness that enables you to serve in any situation and put yourself and your interests aside for the benefit of others, like your master. It especially brings to light an unmovable compassion for one self and others and the ability to keep these virtues alive troughout the journey as an apprentice and furthermore throughout life itself. Surprisingly his search over the past 2 decades has lead him to realise, that certain aspects of self realisation as taught in Zen and some very old traditional Japanese ways and thinking, especially of a certain subculture present in Japan, are not very compatible. However it remains Alex goal for all his works to be inspired by this search and to portray this spirit in whatever he does.
For centuries the art of Irezumi is produced and developed before the Zen background, this unique craftsmanship is a pure form of traditional Japanese art and, apart from the pain during the process of getting it, it is in complete harmony with the human body and soul. It underlines the individuality of its wearer and is of high precision and quality. With its historic figures and other traditional motives the Japanese tattoo is no trend phenomenon but a high class piece of art of stunning beauty. Its wearer becomes automatically part of an ancient Japanese tradition and helps to keep it alive.
German born Alex ‘KŌSEI’ Reinke also known as Irezumi master Horikitsune 彫きつね , was for a long time the only and first European who was taken in as an apprentice of a traditional Japanese craftsmanship family, lead by the world famous Irezumi artist of Yokohama, Japan Horiyoshi III.
Alex started his Tattooist career in 1995 and celebrated his 25th year in the business in 2020. Just like his former master, he only produces traditional Japanese Irezumi Tattoos. This is done by machine and on request by hand-tool (Tebori). He was interested in Japanese culture, its arts and Zen since his early teens, which helped tremendously throughout his journey in Japan.
There have been numerous articles on – and TV appearances of Alex Horikitsune 彫きつね Reinke, focusing on his unique path, in various magazines and programs in different countries over the past two decades. Please check MEDIA for more.
Here some examples of his side projects.
2001 Alex painted and designed the main feature bodysuit and several fake skins for the collectors room, for the German made movie TATTOO. He also painted on the actors like Nadeshda Brennike, August Diehl und Christian Redl. Director was Robert Schwendtke with whom he closely worked.
2005 Alex curated the exhibition of the National East-Asian Museum of Sweden in the City of Stockholm, which featured tattoo photographs of his world renown Japanese master Horiyoshi III combined with parts of the museums collection of Japanese antiques. Photos were taken by Juan Puente. It was the second most visited exhibition the museum ever had.
Alex also runs a successful book publishing company, which was called Kofuu Senju Publications from 2009-2015. After the partner left in 2015 Alex renamed the company to KŌSEI Publications LTD (KŌSEI=Holy Fox). He has now successfully published 9 high quality, limited edition books which are nearly all sold out and they reached legendary status in the tattoo world. He is determined to continue to produce these quality limited edition books for many years to come. Check KŌSEI PUBLICATIONS LTD for the newest books available.
2009 Alex was involved in the Hollywood movie ‘NINJA ASSASSIN’ in Berlin Germany. He worked closely with actor Randall Duk Kim (the Keymaker in the Matrix Reloaded) to show him the traditional japanese handtool tattoo technique Tebori. Though in the end the director did as he pleased. Low budget.
Since May 2011 Alex is ordained as a lay-monk of the Rinzai-Zen order under Zen master Daizan Roshi in London and he took on the Dharma name ‘Hakugen’. The commitment of formally taking the Precepts is an important threshold in the life of a Zen student.
2012 Alex Reinke was part of the identity design of a Paris based Restaurant called MISS KO alongside the legendary designer Philippe Starck and the GBH design group. He created several bodysuits and a tongue design for the restaurant.
Another successful exhibition Alex curated in 2012 alongside his colleague Claudia de Rossi named “KOKORO” was held in the beautiful and prestigious setting of Somerset House in London UK. This solo exhibition showcased traditional Japanese silkscreen scroll art called Kakejiku created by his former master Horiyoshi III and some photography by his company KS Publications , which was a great success.
2013 Alex had the honor to be part of the Venice Biennale, for which he was filmed at work, by the famous documentary maker Ali Kazma for the Turkish pavilion.
Alex has helped put together and was part of the “Exhibition on Body modifications” which was held in the Swiss based Museum of Cultures in Basel City in May 2014. Alex tattooed inside the Museum as part of a seminar and his company KS Publications Ltd has provided photographs and tools that were part of the exhibition. Due to its success the whole exhibition was taken over with all its artefacts and photographs by the National Museum of World cultures in Amsterdam the Netherlands to be shown in 2015.
2018 Alex has opened the internet based TEBORI-YA store, in which everything around the traditional Japanese Handtool is sold. He makes unique, high quality, Tebori tools from antique Wood and animal bone combined with Silver and other Metalls. Sumi and needles are also on offer. See Shop.
2019 Alex and his friend Luca Ortis were part of the production team of the short Documentary Horimono. Director David Caprara did an amazing job, so did everybody involved and Alex’s client Ami Besate was the colorist.
Beginning of 2020 Alex registered his second business and he opened the completely refurbished Holy Fox Tattoos Limited Street Shop with a Boutique shop in front and 4 fine tattoo workstations in the back. They are fitted with the best artists supplies for tattooists. Next to Alex there are friendly, high quality resident artists present and regular guest artists will visit too. The shop is situated in the heart of Londons Islington Angel.
Mid 2020, thanks to the Klingspor Museum curator Doro Ader, Alex had the honour to have his work exhibited alongside 2 other well known German fine artists in the Offenbach am Main Klingspor Museum of print media. The exhibition unfortunately fell into the summer of the pandemic. Nevertheless it was very well visited which was also due to the seminars he gave to an illustrious and very interested audience.
2021 Alex opened his very own private Pottery lab with two big ovens, a turntable and a sprayglaze chamber. All to create unique, high quality, traditional, Japanese, Raku Vases. He first learned this in 1992-93 when in Highschool in the USA. He picked this up again in 2018, when he met Raku master of 35 years, Roberto Pompucci of the Ceramico Pompucci Lab in Pesaro Italy. Thanks to him Alex is back on track with this tradition and his unique vases are now available here in the shop.
You can book the Horimono Master Alex Horikitsune Reinke for Design jobs or Exhibitions.