How to Write the Seven Deadly Sins in Japanese Kanji

Seven Deadly Sins in Kanji
Namiko Abe

The seven deadly sins are a Western concept rather than Japanese. They are abuses or excesses of drives everyone experiences but may lead to serious transgressions if they are not kept in check. These symbols in Japanese kanji script are popular for tattoos.

Hubris - Pride (Kouman)

Pride in a negative sense is feeling superior and more important than others, putting your own desires above those of any other person. It has traditionally been listed as the most serious sin. In modern thinking, a narcissist would be guilty of hubris. The proverb, "Pride goeth before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall," is used to show that reckless disregard of others can lead to serious actions and crimes. For example, rape is thought to be stem from the sin of hubris more than from lust, as it is placing the rapist's desires above any consequences for the victim.

  • Opposite virtue: humility.

Greed (Donyoku) 

Desiring to acquire more and more earthly treasure can lead to unethical methods of obtaining them. Excessive pursuit of wealth is a deadly sin.

  • Opposite virtue: charity or generosity.

Envy (Shitto) 

Wanting what others have can lead to hostility towards other people as well as to perform unethical actions to take it from them. Envy can target more than possessions or wealth, including envying someone's beauty or ability to make friends. If you can't have what they have, you don't want them to have it, either.

  • Opposite virtue: kindness

Wrath (Gekido) 

Excessive anger can lead to violence as well as non-violent but destructive actions. It has a scope from simple impatience to violent revenge.

  • Opposite virtue: patience

Lust (Nikuyoku)

Lust is allowing sexual attraction to get out of control and lead you to have sex outside of marriage or other committed relationship. It also can be an unbridled desire in general, always wanting more.

  • Opposite virtue: chastity

Gluttony (Boushoku)

Gluttony is eating and drinking too much, including drunkenness. It can be consuming more of any resource than is needed and being wasteful. In addition to being self-destructive, this can deprive others of what they need.

  • Opposite virtue: temperance

Sloth (Taida)

Laziness and inaction can lead to failing to address problems until it is too late. Sloth is not doing the things that you should be doing, ignoring duties and procrastinating.

  • Opposite virtue: diligence

The Seven Deadly Sins Manga Series

This manga series began publication in October 2012, written and illustrated by Nakaba Suzuki. It has been developed into a television anime and published in English. The Seven Deadly Sins are Holy Knights who were brutal criminals with the symbols of beasts carved onto their bodies. These are:

  • Meliodas - the Dragon Sin of Anger メリオダス
  • Diane - the Snake Sin of Envy ディアンヌ
  • Ban - the Fox Sin of Greed バン
  • King - the Bear Sin of Sloth キング
  • Gowther - the Goat Sin of Lust ゴウセル
  • Merlin - the Boar Sin of Gluttony マーリン
  • Escanor - the Lion's Sin of Pride エスカノール
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Your Citation
Abe, Namiko. "How to Write the Seven Deadly Sins in Japanese Kanji." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Abe, Namiko. (2021, February 16). How to Write the Seven Deadly Sins in Japanese Kanji. Retrieved from Abe, Namiko. "How to Write the Seven Deadly Sins in Japanese Kanji." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).