The Tattoo

( 12 )

Overview

“A book about ‘the sins of the fathers.’ . . . A gritty, troubling book.”—The Honolulu Advertiser

“The other Hawai’i, the one tourists never get to see.”—Ian MacMillan

Ken Hideyoshi is the new guy in Halawa Correctional Institute. He’s tough looking, a hard case, observes his cellmate Cal—the mute tattoo artist of the prison, a wife murderer. SYN, a gang symbol, is tattooed on his hand, and he has a Japanese emblem inscribed on his left ...

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The Tattoo

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Overview

“A book about ‘the sins of the fathers.’ . . . A gritty, troubling book.”—The Honolulu Advertiser

“The other Hawai’i, the one tourists never get to see.”—Ian MacMillan

Ken Hideyoshi is the new guy in Halawa Correctional Institute. He’s tough looking, a hard case, observes his cellmate Cal—the mute tattoo artist of the prison, a wife murderer. SYN, a gang symbol, is tattooed on his hand, and he has a Japanese emblem inscribed on his left shoulder. He asks Cal for a tattoo on his back, in kanji script, of Musashi’s Book of the Void.

While he is being worked on, he tells Cal his life story, a tale of hardship and abuse. Motherless, he was raised by a distant father, a Vietnam War veteran, in the impoverished hinterlands. In his teen years he hung out with the native Hawaiian gangs and was drawn into the Hawaiian-Korean underworld of strip bars and massage parlors. His ambition and proud samurai spirit seem, inevitably, to lead to his downfall.

Chris McKinney is of Korean, Japanese, and Scottish descent. He was born in Honolulu and grew up in Kahaluu. He portrays the native Hawaiian experience from the inside, where children of mixed ethnicity grow up far from the clear water and pristine beaches of the rich visitors’ resorts.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Adult/High School
This is the story of one prisoner's life told to another. The listener is Cal, a white, onetime racist tattoo artist who lost his voice when his throat was cut in a prison fight. He is serving a long sentence on one of the Hawaiian Islands. Over the years, he has become the kind of man other prisoners feel safe talking to—partly because he can't repeat what they say, but also because they trust the sense of peace he has found in his own silence and the time he has served. Cal's new cellmate is Ken, a Japanese man raised in Hawaii-and an outsider like Cal. He has Cal give him a large, symbolic tattoo on his back as he tells his rich though troubled tale. Ken recounts his childhood friendship with a doomed, modern-day Hawaiian prince and the decaying world he ruled. He found himself the muscle man for a bar-owning, prostitution-ring-running, loan-sharking Korean woman. Falling in love with her daughter was just one of the reasons that he ended up behind bars. Teens will appreciate the many deep, complicated relationships. The language and realities are rough, but there is much compassion and wisdom to balance them.
—Will MarstonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566473194
  • Publisher: Mutual Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 5/1/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 230
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris McKinney is the author of The Tattoo and Bolohead Row. He received both his BA and MA in English from the University of Hawaii and currently teaches at Honolulu Community College. He resides in Honolulu.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 19, 2012

    This is a must-read book, especially if you're living in Hawaii.

    This is a must-read book, especially if you're living in Hawaii. The fictional character, Hideyoshi, is real, as are his associates (one whom I knew). His story is realal and provides not only an inside look at life from a "sins of our fathers" perspective, but also a very real and dangerous look at life of vice in paradise, a vice still prevalent today in the seedy and sordid world of human trafficking, drugs, gangs, gambling and the inter-relationships.

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  • Posted April 9, 2011

    Great Read.

    I first read this book while in highschool in hawaii. I was born on the mainland, and from an outsider's point of view this read was eye opening. It shows that living in "paradise" isn't what so many people think it would be. I have reread this in the last few years , and it never gets old. A great read for anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2007

    Awesome

    This book was the greatest book iv'e read so far.It talks about what certain people don't usually see when they come to Hawai'i and how they think it's different then living in the mainland. Talks about what we go through and how we feel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2002

    A voice the locals can relate to

    I have just finished this book and I am so very glad there is someone out there with the writing skills to take me back to the old days of growing up in Hawaii. The story line made me laugh out loud, shed a tear, and most of all made me remember how Hawaii and the residence are and will be for a very long time. The moral of the story was so true for alot of locals growing up and being limited to the outside world. I understood and felt the "trapness" of being a child raised in Hawaii.U Have to read this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2002

    Da best Book I eva read dis month!

    Chris Mckinney's book is a story about real life Hawaii. The story is great that leads up to a suprising end! I could not put the book down from start to finish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2002

    great for locals

    If you grew up in Hawaii, this is a great book to read, written by a local. It totally captures the way local people act/think/feel. Not for tourists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2001

    Real Life

    Chris Mckinney has done a wonderful job in showing a different side of Hawaii. He shows there's more to Hawaii then just paradise. Great book!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2000

    A Must Read Book for Locals of Hawaii and Vistors

    This is not a book for those that envision Hawaii as the romantic no care type of world. This is real life and living of Hawaii. Too many times the characters took me back to a childhood of memories that I still remember as one being full of love, laughter and sorrow. Locals you gotta read!!! Even the Pidgin English looks and sounds real---READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2000

    This is a book about the 'sins of the fathers'.

    Set in contemporary Hawaii, The Tattoo reveals a side of paradise not usually seen as it traces the life of Ken Hideyoshi, a young man with a troubled past. Far from the sunny beaches and crystal blue ocean, Ken's world is one of mud shores and polluted waters. Drawn into Hawaii's underworld, with its hostess bars and strip clubs, Ken falls in love with the daughter of a powerful Korean woman, who is a crime boss and flesh peddler. His struggle to control his 'samurai spirit' and find truth is a gripping tale.

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    Posted April 14, 2013

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    Posted December 1, 2009

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    Posted July 19, 2011

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    Posted March 17, 2011

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