I’ve always been so intrigued by the Japanese and their tattoos and culture. So when I ran across Maila Cobwebs, I got really excited to interview her. She is a beautiful tattooed woman who has a PinUp/Psychobilly style, which I know is not very common in Japan. Mai considers herself a 666% Japanese PinUp Ghoul. She’s a lover of horror films, psychobilly and the PinUp and tattoo culture. She has her own jewelry brand, where she designs all her own jewelry called, Wicked Witchcraft. Here’s the Q & A I did with Mai.
When I visited Japan about 10 years ago, I felt like tattoos were a very touchy subject, especially on women. Are tattoos on women popular in Japan nowadays?
I think tattooed women in Japan is increasing. Tattoos are becoming very fashionable, little by little they are not just for the Yakuza anymore. However we are still the minority. It’s very difficult to explain what’s going on with the Japanese tattoo culture. Most Japanese are not tattooed even today, tattoos continue to be stigmatized in the mainstream. There are several reasons for this, most of them are rooted in the Japanese subconscious.
What made you decide to start getting tattooed?
I was influenced by some modern PinUp girls and musicians, and was longing to get tattooed since my early teens. I met Vlad from Atomic Space Tattoo when I was 23 and that was when I starting collecting tattoos from him. Vlad is not very well known, but he is so talented. His designs are unique, whimsical and refined.
How many tattoos do you have?
I have two full arms sleeves, my chest tattooed and my legs, but I need more!
Which tattoo of yours is your favorite and why?
I love my chest piece the most. I don’t know why, but it makes me proud of myself.
Is the PinUp culture big in Japan?
The PinUp culture is not so big in Japan. In the last year it has attracted attention as a fashion genre. I am deeply attached to the PinUp culture.
I hope it becomes a loved culture and not just a trend.
What are some of the big name tattoo and PinUp shows or events that are in Japan?
I think the “King Of Tattoo” is the biggest event, and that was in April this year. I’m going to be at “South Ink” in September. It is a tattoo convention held in Kagoshima, which is in the south-western region of Japan. It might not be the biggest event in the world but it means a lot to me. It is a precious opportunity to communicate with tattoo fans.
Describe yourself in three words…
Spontaneous, Subcultural, Sushi Roll.
Do you have any kids or animals?
I have a three year old daughter, who sings all day. Mom life is awesome.
What is your favorite music?
PSYCHOBILLY! I was so excited when I got the Demented Are Go’s 7” vinyl, “Lucky Charm” with you on the cover.
What are your hobbies?
Watching horror films, I watch them every night. I also like going to see gigs of local bands.
With your company Wicked Witchcraft, what kind of jewelry do you make?
I make 50’s vintage inspired confetti lucite style jewelry. They are all hand crafted by me.
What can you not live without?
My daughter Beni and Kuchi-Beni (which means lipstick in Japan).