I am excited to announce my new book Tattoo Traditions of Asia: Ancient and Contemporary Expressions of Identity will be published by the University of Hawai’i Press (UHP) in October 2024. For advance praise and reviews, please visit the The University of Hawai’i Press’ webpage for this project which was 20+ years in the making! Here are two:

Traditional cultural practices are fast becoming endangered due to cross-pollination and westernization. Tattoo Traditions of Asia is an important resource for both those interested in understanding the foundations of tattooing and those who are committed to reclaiming a practice that has been ignored by dominant societies. This is a book long overdue.”
Sulu’ape Keone Nunes, traditional Hawaiian tattoo master

This is a tremendous feat of research, writing, and decolonization by a renowned scholar of Indigenous tattooing. Krutak’s personal engagement with the cultures he chronicles—including participation in initiation rites—allowed him intimate access to varied tattoo practices, many of which are slipping away. Written with sensitivity and authority, the book marks a major milestone in tattoo ethnography.”
Margot Mifflin, author of Bodies of Subversion: A Secret History of Women and Tattoo and The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman

Here is a blurb from the book:

The Indigenous peoples of Asia have created some of the world’s oldest and most distinctive tattoos, but their many contributions to tattoo body art and practice have been largely overlooked. Tattoo Traditions of Asia is the first single volume dedicated to the anthropological study of an ancient cultural practice and artform that spans many countries and societies, ancestral lands, and contemporary communities across the continent and its islands.

Based on tattoo anthropologist Lars Krutak’s twenty years of fieldwork including interviewing hundreds of Indigenous tattoo bearers and contemporary tattoo practitioners as well as painstaking research in obscure archives throughout the region and elsewhere, this richly illustrated survey breaks new ground on one of the least-understood mediums of Indigenous Asian expressive culture—a vital tradition to be celebrated, an inspirational story told in skin and ink.


Lars Krutak is a research associate at the Museum of International Folk Art (Santa Fe, New Mexico) and author of Tattoo Traditions of Native North America: Ancient and Contemporary Expressions of Identity and Spiritual Skin: Magical Tattoos and Scarification, among other books focusing on Indigenous tattoo culture and practice. He is also the senior editor for Ancient Ink: The Archaeology of Tattooing, the first book to explore the archaeological history of tattooing.