Kanji tattoos are tattoos utilizing Japanese writing. The Kanji is one of the oldest writing styles in Japan and the unique, stylized figures make excellent tattoos. However, be aware of the literal translations when selecting the Kanji lettering. As with any foreign language, literal translations don’t always work or they won’t mean what is intended in that language.
Patience, serenity, loyalty, love, strength, determination and other keywords are all available in Kanji symbols and make great Kanji tattoos. The Japanese alphabet does not strictly translate into the Standard English alphabet. Therefore, going for a direct translation of an American or English name to Kanji won’t work.
Literal and popular phrases may require a combination of symbols, without proper research, the Kanji tattoos will not mean what is intended. It’s important research Kanji for both literal and symbolic meanings. Don’t wait to decide on what Kanji symbol is most desirable when the artist is loading the ink. Do not rely on the artist to determine what symbol best fits the desired word or phrase. The artist specializes in applying the ink, not the translation.
Taking the time to research Kanji tattoos can save a lot of unnecessary grief later. Translator services online may only provide one or two meanings of a symbol and may not provide an accurate translation. If speaking to someone fluent in Japanese is not an option, consider visiting a college or university where Japanese is taught.
A professor of Japanese language or history should be able to provide some insights into the meanings of various Kanji tattoos and help narrow the field of choices down. Public and university libraries may contain volumes on Kanji symbols and dictionaries to provide translations. Finally, there are translation services that can, for a nominal fee, provide the accurate and thorough research and guarantee. The guarantee is important, because if a person obtains a tattoo that turns out to be inaccurate later, that guarantee may cover the cost of removal and a new tattoo.