Kanji tattoos

"Japanese tattoo art"

Kanji tattoos meaningful tattoos

Kanji tattoos are a form of Japanese calligraphy. Japanese Kanji began as a way to put images and thoughts into a writing form. It is now a beautiful form of expression used commonly in tattoo designs and modern art. Practically anything can be translated into this writing style and there are many experts who offer the service of translation.

When considering an Asian lettering tattoo it is important to research the translation, or have someone proficient in translating the language verify the design you have chosen to be sure it means what you believe it is.

Kanji is a very complicated writing style and even a very subtle difference in a brush stroke can completely alter the meaning of the design.


Japanese tattoo designs

There are three writing styles for Japanese lettering. Like writing in English, where we have printing or “block letters” and cursive, the Japanese have three different writing styles. These are:

1) Kaisho – This is comparable to the English printing style, boxy and standard writing. This is a purely functional style.

2) Gyousho – This is Japanese cursive. Like English cursive, this is a flowing, prettier form of Japanese writing.

3) Sousho – This is the most beautiful form of Japanese writing, very much like English calligraphy, it is very formal and elegant.

japanese tattoo symbols

Kanji tattoo letters

With some research, creative choices and a good tattoo artist, even the most basic word or phrase can become a beautiful piece of body art when using Kanji.

One of the wonderful aspects of Kanji is the ability to alter the size to fit any body location you choose. From large pieces that cover an entire back, to a tiny piece on the inside of ones wrist, Kanji is suitable for any location.

When researching this tattoo design style you can find these lettering designs located in every location you can imagine on the body, even feet are a common placement for Kanji tattoos

dragon tattoo gallery

Japanese tattoo symbols

Another reason these tattoos are becoming so popular are their ability to be incorporated into almost any tattoo design style. However, the most common style seen with Kanji elements is, of course, the Asian designs.

This lettering style is beautiful when paired with other common elements of Asian tattoos, including cherry blossoms, dragons and Koi fish, just to name several of the more commonly seen.

dragon tattoo gallery

When interpreted, the translations always have a symbolic nature to the wearer. After a tragic car accident, one person chose to get the word “pain” translated into Kanji on their back, (see above) another person, after several shoulder injuries and surgeries chose “The pain is only temporary” for a forearm tattoo. Love, pain, tragedy, loss; these are all common themes for tattoos in general and specifically lettering tattoos.

Kanji symbol tattoos

dragon tattoo gallery

When a person chooses to have a name tattooed onto their bodies, these too can be translated into Japanese calligraphy. Our children, people we have lost and those we still care deeply for are often the inspiration behind our tattoos.

This leads to another great aspect of Kanji tattoos. With these lettering tattoos, if the relationship ends there are only a certain group of people that could interpret the true meaning, and with just the brush of a tattoo gun you can change the meaning entirely!

dragon tattoo gallery

Here at Tattoo Designs of All Kinds, we are always adding to our tattoo picture galleries. If you have a Kanji tattoo, and would like to share a picture please use our contact page to send it in.

We would also love to share the translation and if you have a story that explains the meaning the tattoo holds for you, we would love to share that as well. Please remember, our website is a clean website, therefore we only post appropriate pictures and stories. Thank you for visiting and please come again!

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Kanji Tattoos to Symbols