Kanji for Tattoos

Japanese dragon with kanji letter
lechatnoir. iStock Vectors

Since I receive many requests for Japanese tattoos, especially those written in kanji, I created this page. Even if you are not interested in getting a tattoo, it can help you to find out how to write specific words, or your name, in kanji.

Japanese Writing

First of all, just in case you are not familiar with Japanese, I will tell you a little bit about Japanese writing. There are three kinds of scripts in Japanese: kanji, hiragana and katakana.

The combination of all three are used for writing. Please check out my "Japanese Writing for Beginners" page to learn more about Japanese writing. Characters can be written both vertically and horizontally. Click here to learn more about vertical and horizontal writing. To learn how to put Japanese characters together for a tattoo, click here.

Katakana is generally used for foreign names, places, and words of foreign origin. Therefore, if you are from a country that doesn't use kanji (Chinese characters), your name is normally written in katakana. Please check out my article, "Katakana in the Matrix" to learn more about katakana.

General Kanji for Tattoos

Check out your favorite words at the following "Popular Kanji for Tattoos" pages. Each page lists 50 popular words in kanji characters. Part 1 and Part 2 include the sound files to help your pronunciation.

Part 1 - "Love", "Beauty", "Peace" etc.


Part 2 - "Destiny", "Achievement", "Patience" etc.
Part 3 - "Honesty", "Devotion", "Warrior" etc.
Part 4 - "Challenge", "Family", "Sacred" etc.
Part 5 - "Immortality", "Intelligence", "Karma" etc.
Part 6 - "Best Friend", "Unity", "Innocence" etc.
Part 7 - "Infinity", "Paradise", "Messiah" etc.
Part 8  - "Revolution", "Fighter", "Dreamer" etc.


Part 9 - "Determination", "Confession", "Beast" etc.
Part 10 - "Pilgrim", "Abyss", "Eagle" etc.
Part 11 - "Aspiration", "Philosophy", "Traveler" etc.
Part 12 - "Conquest", "Discipline", "Sanctuary" etc

Seven Deadly Sins
Seven Heavenly Virtues
Seven Codes of Bushido
Horoscope
Five Elements

You can also see the collection of the kanji characters at "Kanji Land".

The Meaning of Japanese Names

Try the "All About Japanese Names" page to learn more about Japanese names.

Your Name in Katakana

Katakana is a phonetic script (so is hiragana) and it does not have any meaning by itself (like kanji). There are some English sounds that don't exist in Japanese: L, V, W, etc.Therefore when foreign names are translated into katakana, the pronunciation might be changed a little bit.

Your Name in Hiragana

As I mentioned above, katakana is normally used to write foreign names, but if you like hiragana better it is possible to write it in hiragana. The Name Exchange site will display your name in hiragana (using a calligraphy style font).

Your Name in Kanji

Kanji is generally not used to write foreign names. Please note that although foreign names can be translated into kanji, they are translated purely on a phonetic basis and in most cases will have no recognizable meaning.

Click here to read my article, "Do all Japanese names have a meaning?"

Learning Kanji

To learn kanji characters, click here for various lessons.

Language Poll

Which Japanese writing style do you like the most? Click here to vote your favorite script.