Monday, 25 March 2019
“Doctor Tattoos” collector of human skin.
We have seen him terrorize in the movie the Texas chainsaw massacre.
“Leather face” the human skin wearing monster that has carved his way into horror history.
This is just a fictional character, surely there is no one that would want to collect human skin.
Well there is
Let’s take a look
Leather face was in part inspired by the real-life killer known as Ed Gein.
Ed Gein inspired both leather face and Psycho and the buffalo bill character from the silence of lambs.
This man lived in Plainfield, Wisconsin, the local residents knew something wasn’t right with the farmer and his farm but they would be shocked by what was found when the police finally raid the secluded homestead.
When the dark rooms of the farmhouse were seen in the stark light of day. Horrified police officers discovered shrunken heads nine masks made of human skin, numerous decapitated heads, lampshades and bowls made of human skin, and lips being used as a pull on a window shade.
Ed Gein was then arrested and confessed to two murders, one of these killings was the deputy’s mother, who was found gutted in one of Ed’s sheds.
Ed Gein went on to claim that most of the macabre items the police found had come from his late-night cemetery raids.
Gein died in a Mental Health Institute due to respiratory failure secondary to lung cancer on July 26, 1984, at the age of 77.
Ed gain may have collected a wide range of body parts but he kept his crimes and his collection secret, there is one man who has a larger collection and is more than happy to show it off to others not only was he free his collection has been celebrated.
Dr Fukushi Masaichi is a pathologist, doctor, and honorary professor at the Japanese Medical University in Tokyo, he founded the world’s only collection of tattoos taken from human corpses.
This horrifying hobby is a family affair Dr Fukushi and his son Fukushi Katsunari are known in Japan as “Doctor Tattoos.”
The family are fascinated by the art of Japanese tattooing.
Dr Fukushi worked at the Mitsui Memorial Hospital since the tattoo was common among poor and mentally disabled people, he encountered many tattooed people and developed an interest in the art form.
In Japan, tattoos are most often associated with the Yakuza Japanese mafia.
These gangsters have a long history of tattooing they believe that tattoos are private, they commit to full body suits tattoos covering the entire body with the exception of hands, neck and face this so they can't be seen above any collars or cuffs.
The images they adorn their bodies with have deeper meanings.
A few of the most popular images are animals like koi fish.
The koi is an image of good fortune, this stemming from the Japanese myth that the fish can climb waterfalls thus representing perseverance and motivation.
The dragon is often associated with Asian cultures, in Japan, the creatures of legend are seen as a symbol of protection, strength and bravery. The colour of these dragons also denotes other qualities such as green for nature and gold for value.
Similar to the dragon the snake is also an important animal is Asian cultures. The naga being the ancient snake-like gods found across many Asian countries.
We took a look at the Naga in the video linked here.
The snake is a symbol of wisdom, prophecy and power but it also has some negative effects with some believing it represents sickness and bad luck.
The last popular image seen in these yakuza bodysuits is that of a samurai warrior.
The Samurai famously lived their lives following the Bushido code.
Bushidō is a Japanese collective term for the many codes of honour and ideals the warriors lived by.
These bushido samurai warriors represent a wide range of attributes the Yakuza value, loyalty, hope and bravery.
This body art is amazingly intricate in its use of colour and detail. Today many people emulate the designs of old finding beauty in these old body art images.
They decorate their body with images which will last them a lifetime, but what about when that life ends is that artwork lost?
Well not if you know the Doctor and his son.
People donate their body to the doctor then he removes the tattooed skin from donated bodies and stores it, stretching and placing under glass or putting on a mannequin.
On occasion, He paid poor people to receive tattoos that he liked and requested that these men bequeath their body to him upon their death.
He then removed the skin from the corpses and added the tattoos to his collection.
Today this collection is housed at the University of Tokyo, there are 105 exhibits from the collection, many of which are the entire skin.
This collection is not open to the general public but is viewed In Private viewings.
Fukushu was respected by many of Tokyo's top tattoo artists and was often invited as an expert judge in tattoo contests that featured Japanese style tattoos held abroad.
This large collection of human skin was a catalogue of sorts for those that have an interest in the history of these tattoos and thus have great monetary value.
Part of the collection disappeared during a trip to America: one of the suitcases which held a tattooed skin was stolen in Chicago and it has never been found, even when the doctor offered a large cash reward.
DR.Fukushi takes it to a more literal place when talking about preserving tattoos.
Where most scientists into tattoos, talk about preserving tattoos as a cultural phenomenon documenting the art in books this making sure we understand the practice and that it doesn’t die out.
Fukushi took a more direct method of conservation of the tradition when he preserved these skins.
He became obsessed, collecting the tattoos for his own personal collection and self-gratification.
This bringing us back to Ed Gein, the two men both had an obsession with the remains of the dead but each went about collecting their trophies in different ways.
One man celebrated while the other spent his years in a home for the criminally insane.
The collection of items these men amassed still fascinate today.
The macabre ornaments or displays fascinate, disgust and amaze they make people question their ideas on the human body and what should happen to human remains after death.
What do you think?
Should human remains be kept as works of art?
Do both of these men have something wrong with the way they look at the human body?
Let me know in the comments below.
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