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Kanji Tattoo Ideas

Updated on October 11, 2012
The aesthetic kanji for "soul" tattooed on someone's arm.
The aesthetic kanji for "soul" tattooed on someone's arm. | Source

Japanese and Chinese characters are very popular as tattoo ideas.


Because they look so good and make you look more interesting!

This hub highlights some of the best kanji (japanese symbol) ideas for tattoos. Feedback and additions are welcome in the comments section below.

Something Personal

This is perhaps the best and most touching way of using kanji art on your body. Many people immortalise their loved ones, particular mottos that they believe in, or just something really important to them by the medium of ink.

The person who's tatoo is featured in this link tatoo'd something profoundly close to him, the names of his grandparents, who struggled with cancer. See it here.

This way they will never be forgotten and he carries a sign of respect for them everywhere he goes.

The Elements: Water, Earth, Fire, Wind

Some of the simplest and most effective japanese characters to tattoo yourself with are the four basic elements. This is because they are all fairly simple, one symbol characters.

The Japanese kanji for "water"
The Japanese kanji for "water" | Source
"Earth" | Source
The japanese kanji for "fire"
The japanese kanji for "fire" | Source
"Wind" | Source

Your Name

Another cool kanji idea is to have your name written in Kanji discretely on your body. This will prompt people to ask you what it means and you get to seem more worldly when you tell them it's your name in Japanese. In fact, you can even trick people into believing that you can in fact speak Japanese a lot easier when you have the proof written on your arm or leg.

You should know that there are a number of different kanji for each sound so there are a number of ways you can write your name in kanji. Make sure to check what your kanji mean after you find the right sounds to make up your name. Instead of "strength and prosperity" you might end up with "rice field warrior" even though they might sound the same.

An alternative to this is to write your name in katakana or hiragana, two other alphabets of the japanese language. On the right is someone with their name "Kenji" written in katakana down their back.

Warning: I have seen many websites that charge you for having your name translated into kanji (prices as ridiculous as $15)! Readers should know that you can find out your name in Kanji by using Google Translate which will not only be faster but also completely free!

Just enter "Japanese to English" and then tick the "spell phonetically" button so that when you type in English letters it comes up in Japanese instead. Then type your name in two letters at a time and press the down arrow to choose from the kanji that have that sound! Google translate will instantly tell you what each kanji means. Because each sound has many kanjis that are read as that sound, you have a large choice of which kanji you want to represent you.

Be sure to double check with a tattooist before getting it done!

Google Translate:

Abstract Concepts That Make You Look Good

Abstract words like "power", "strength", "dignity" as mentioned above are also a good idea because not only do the kanji tend to look cool, they also give you a great conversation starter:

"What does that symbol mean on your arm?" They ask. "Determination" you reply.

Then, go on to explain how you are the most determined guy or gal to have ever graced your recipient's life: make friends whilst expressing individuality!

Determination looks like this by the way: 決心

The Kanji For Happiness!
The Kanji For Happiness! | Source

Emotions and Feelings

Do you like love? So does everyone! But if you feel like you have an affinity to a word such as "life," "spirit" or "passion" or even perhaps "rage," "lust" or "hunger" and you feel like this word says a lot about you, then it might be a good choice to have it immortalised on your body!

Once again, these kanji symbols tend to look really aesthetic on your body.

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    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 5 years ago from London

      Mm I can see the appeal in both! :)

    • iefox5 profile image

      iefox5 5 years ago

      Chinese tattoo is very popular these years.