Yoji Harada was a talented and popular tattoo artist who rose to fame on the reality TV show Miami Ink. He was also a musician and a father who had a passion for his craft and his family. Harada’s sudden death on March 27, 2019, shocked and saddened his fans, friends, and colleagues. But what was the cause of his death? And why has it remained a mystery for so long?
A Beloved Tattoo Artist and Musician
Harada was born in Tokyo, Japan, on August 6, 1972. He developed an interest in tattooing at the age of 19, when he inked his partner’s name on his body. He moved to the United States in the 1990s, where he joined a punk rock band called Big Deal. He later moved from New York City to Miami, where he met Ami James, a renowned tattoo artist who became his mentor and friend.
Harada joined James’ tattoo shop, Love Hate Tattoos, and became one of the stars of Miami Ink, a reality show that followed the lives and work of the tattoo artists. Harada was known for his cheerful personality, his dedication to learning the art of tattooing, and his love for his family. He married his second wife, Bridgette Atchinson-Nevel, in 2005, and they welcomed their daughter, Sidney, later that year.
Harada also appeared on the spin-off show NY Ink, where he worked at James’ new shop, Wooster Street Social Club. He continued to pursue his musical career as well, releasing an album with his band Big Deal in 2011.
A Mysterious Death in the Netherlands
In 2016, Harada moved to Amsterdam, where he opened his own tattoo shop called Amsterdam Tattooing & Body Piercing. He seemed to be happy and successful in his new venture, as he posted photos and videos of his work and life on social media. However, on March 27, 2019, Harada’s fans were shocked to learn that he had passed away at the age of 46.
The news of his death was first announced by Tommy Montoya, another tattoo artist and friend of Harada. Montoya posted a tribute to Harada on Instagram, writing: “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!!!”
The cause of Harada’s death was not revealed by Montoya or any other official source. Rumors on social media suggested that Harada had committed suicide, but there was no confirmation or evidence to support this claim. Harada’s family and friends did not comment on the circumstances of his death either.
James started a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for transporting Harada’s body from Holland to the United States and for supporting his daughter Sidney. The campaign stated that any excess funds would go to Sidney’s education and future. However, the campaign did not reach its goal of $50,000 and was later deleted.
A Legacy of Love and Art
Harada’s death left a void in the tattoo community and among his fans. Many people expressed their condolences and shared their memories of Harada on social media. Some of them also shared photos of the tattoos that Harada had done for them or that they had gotten in honor of him.
Harada was remembered as a kind, generous, and fun-loving person who had a passion for tattooing and music. He was also a devoted father who adored his daughter Sidney. He once told People magazine: “When my kids grow up, they aren’t allowed to have tattoos.”
Harada’s legacy lives on through his art, his music, and his daughter. He will always be missed by those who knew him and loved him.