Yoji Harada: The Passing of a Tattoo Legend

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Image from Oh No They Didn’t

The world of tattoos is a world of legends. Beyond the amazing ideas and awesome ink are the talented tattoo artists that help bring everything to life.

Yoji Harada was one such legend. Unfortunately, he died on March 26th, 2019, at only 46 years of age.

Here at Tattooing 101, we believe the best way to celebrate a legacy is to take joy in someone’s life instead of mourning their passing. That’s why we put together our own memorial here for Yoji Harada.

Keep reading to discover more about the man, the myth, and the legacy he leaves behind!

Humble Roots


Image from Foto Community

Every artist’s journey must begin somewhere. And for Harada, his own journey started over in Japan.

Harada was born in Japan, but he moved to the United States in the 1990s. While he would visit Japan many times during the rest of his life, it was in America where he would discover fame and fortune that eventually turned him into an international star.

Fame Calls

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Image from Inked Mag

Harada is most known for being a star on the reality television show Miami Ink. However, his path to superstardom on that show wasn’t as quick and direct as many people think.

First, he had to hone his chops as a tattoo artist. At the tender age of 19, Harada gave himself his first tattoo. It was a tat of his girlfriend at the time. And while their relationship wouldn’t last forever, Harada had found a new love: the love of inking tattoos!

When he got to Miami Ink, he still had to start at the bottom. He began the show as an apprentice artist, and he was one that the veteran tattoo artists loved to tease. Audiences then got to watch in real time as Harada made his journey form apprentice to full-time tattoo artist.

This helped to make him famous, and the world would soon discover all of the different talents that Harada had.

Hometown Hero

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Image from Monsters and Critics

Harada had left Japan as a young man. When he returned to Japan after becoming a star, he was the absolute toast of the town. He even managed to parlay the fame into a brief movie career: Harada starred in a Japanese movie called Suicide Club. Be warned: it’s not for the faint of heart!

The tattoo artist also loved to play guitar, and he got a real kick out of posting his rock star pictures on social media for his adoring fans. By this point, you might think that Harada would settle for being both a famous tattoo artist and a famous musician. However, you’d be wrong!

Yoji Harada ended up becoming an international entrepreneur, opening up a tattoo parlor in the Netherlands back in 2016. It seems like he was poised for an awesome second act before he died at the age of 46.

Never Forgotten

We all mourn the passing of Yoji Harada. However, his life is a lot like his famous tattoos: he will remain an inspiration to old fans, new fans, and tattoo lovers all over the world long after his death.

In the meantime, we’re going to keep on celebrating everything about the world of tattoos. Be sure to subscribe to Tattooing 101 so you can stay in the loop!

Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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