Yoji Harada, the famed Japanese tattoo artist and “Miami Ink” star, has died at the age of 46. His tragic was confirmed in an Instagram post from fellow tattoo artist Tommy Montoya. Montoya wrote, “Another friend gone!! so sad. rest In PEACE Yoji. you will be missed! #yojiharada.” Montoya’s previous post was also regarding the death of another tattoo artist, Lyle Tuttle, who passed away at the age of 72.
Montoya announced Harada’s death in the early hours of March 27. In a separate post on his Twitter page, Montoya wrote, “rest in peace buddy. I will miss you today Yoji Harada passed away. Many knew him personally and many knew him from Miami/Ny Ink TV shows. Either way he was a great person and always showed me love!!! miss you Homie!!!”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Harada Said He Would Not Let His Daughter Get a Tattoo
Harada is survived by his daughter, Sydney, who was born in 2005. Harada was quoted by People Magazine in 2007 as saying, “When my kids grow up, they aren’t allowed to have tattoos. No tattoos. No way.” That piece mentioned that Harada’s wife was pregnant with the couple’s second child at the time.
According to his Facebook page, Harada was living in Amsterdam in the Netherlands at the time of his death. In November 2017, Harada was filmed at a tattoo convention in the Netherlands. Harada posted on Facebook in June 2018 saying he was looking for an apartment in Amsterdam. A year earlier, Harada wrote that he was “About to go to Amsterdam. Make some bread.” Harada opened a tattoo store in the Netherlands in April 2016. In 2015, Tattoodo reported that Harada was living in Miami.
On his MySpace page, that has not been updated since 2007, Harada said he was a native of the Japanese city of Yokohama, his highest level of education was high school, his religion was Judaism and also that he was a “proud parent.”
2. Harada Appeared in the 2001 Movie ‘Suicide Club’
In 2001, Harada made his sole movie appearance in the controversial Japanese film, “Suicide Club.” According to Screen Rant, the movie deals with a detective trying to uncover the reason for a string of suicides across Japan. Harada is featured in the movie as a comedian whose friend commits suicide while Harada is performing on stage.
3. Harada Was Married Twice, Once to Bonnie Minkus & Once to Bridgette
Harada, a native of Japan, moved to the U.S. in the 1990s. While living in Chicago, he married Bonnie Minkus. Harada later moved to New York City in an attempt to become a professional musician. Following that spell, where Harada had moderate success with his punk band, Big Deal, Harada relocated to Miami to become a tattoo artist under the tutelage of Ami James.
Harada split from Minkus in 2003. He later married Bridgette Harada, the mother of his child. The couple was married in 2005 and divorced in 2009.
4. Harada Began on ‘Miami Ink’ as an Apprentice
On his TLC profile, “Miami Ink” airs on the network, it says that Harada left his native Japan at the age of 24. That bio says that Harada began working on the show as an apprentice and that ” the guys have given him grief for over a year, they love and protect him like a brother.” Harada performed his first tattoo at 19, which was inking his then girlfriend’s name on his body.
Along with fellow “Miami Ink” star, Darren Brass, Harada formed his children’s clothing label, Ruthless & Toothless, after become a parent. The About section on the brand’s website reads, “When Darren and Yoji became parents, they also became consumers of all things baby. And in doing so, they quickly noticed all things baby did not include many things they liked. They talked about this to each other, and they heard the same things from their friends.” The pair then took the artistic abilities and “put them to work for their children… Thus the idea of “Ruthless & Toothless” came to be.”
5. Harada’s Death Has Led to an Outpouring of Emotion on Social Media
As news of Harada’s death spread, friends and fans took to social media to pay tribute to the famed artist. Here are some of the most poignant messages: