James “Kai” Yamada was born on the island of Maui in Lahaina town. Born of Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian descent, Kai has always admired the art stylings of his Asian and Polynesian bloodline. A natural illustrator from childhood he cultivated an artistic taste to express his pride in his ethnic background and culture. In 2005, he decided to chase his dreams to the island of Oahu where he later learned of the rich history of tattooing in Chinatown. Besides the obvious greats, Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, Mike “Rollo Banks” Malone, Don Ed Hardy, Zeke Owens, and Mike Brown, Kai learned of the legends of local descent. Stories of Rosie Camanga, Domingo Gulang, “Lefty” Al Miller, and many others inspired Kai to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors to produce permanent art for visitors and locals alike.
He became a professionally licensed tattooer in 2008 and have been trying to proliferate his love for tattooing by honoring Hawaii and those who came before him in the craft, while providing the best tattoos he can.