It is with great pleasure that the Society for Japanese Arts presents this Special Issue of Andon, dedicated to the exhibition Japan Tattoo in the SieboldHouse in Leiden. This exhibition marks the conclusion of the nearly 25 years that Willem van Gulik has been the Chairman of the Society. Under his supervision, a stream of highly successful exhibitions have appeared, and we are most grateful that he has graciously accepted our invitation to be curator of this most recent addition to the list. Our most sincere thanks are due to him for lending his extensive knowledge: it is fitting that the subject should be one that is very dear to him. After all, Japanese tattooing was the subject of his 1982 doctoral thesis Irezumi: the Pattern of Dermatography in Japan. This early publication could be seen as reflecting Willem's consistent viewpoint on Japanese art. One feels that he appreciates the aesthetic qualities of the arts of Japan, but always in the light of the culture that has produced it. Art provides Willem with a means of
access to culture, of which he seeks to uncover pattern and structure. It is the person covered by the tattoo in which he is ultimately interested. This catalogue could not have been made without the energetic and meticulous guidance of Henk and Arendie Herwig. They have spared no efforts to coordinate the publication and to add substantially to its content. Naturally, we are extremely grateful to Willem van Gulik, Inge Klompmakers, John Fiorillo and Mark Poysden for their insightful introductory articles. Editorial advice was kindly provided by Mark Poysden, Marjon Jekel and John Fiorillo, and English-language editing by Harriet Impey. Technical assistance was provided by High Trade, Zwolle for scanning, and Fred Rill, Ryoko Matsuba and Prof. Ryo Akama kindly helped with the photography, while Robert Schaap provided his usual precise and clear design for the catalogue. For the exhibition, we are greatly indebted to the director of the SieboldHouse, Hans Kuijpers, who enthusiastically agreed to host the show. He and his staff members Heleen Palmen and Dick Raatgever took care of the many aspects of the organization. Again, Henk and Arendie Herwig performed a pivotal role, for which I am most obliged. Most of all, I would like to thank the Ienders to the exhibition, who are mentioned on the next page. It is a wonderful tradition within the Society that members allow their collections to be available for exhibitions, and the board considers itself extremely fortunate to have access to such treasures. Indeed, the challenge is not so much gathering sufficient suitable objects as narrowing down the selection to the limited number that the exhibition allows. We are very pleased that, wherever additional prints were needed, various museums generously agreed to lend from their collections. Furthermore, many individuals have assisted along the way. For their many helpful suggestions and comments in locating prints, finding information and providing translations, sincere thanks are due to Barbara
Ambros, Sjoerd Elzer, Horst Graebner, Helena Honcoopova, Ryoko Matsuba, Dan McKee, Keiko Oyamatsu, Noëmi Raquet, Dirk Boris Rödel, Marc Schwaiger, Chris Uhlenbeck and Helena Varshavskaya.
May I conclude with the hope that this catalogue will prove a useful contribution to the field, and provide enjoyment and inspiration for many.