Kanji Tattoos are cool. But WAIT!! I strongly recommend that you make sure that your kanji is correct.

Japanese language is super complicated and the info that you got could be a big misunderstanding. I’ve seen so many tragedies because of wrong info spread online. (-_-;)

Well, I got a question about some kanji meanings from a follower who was researching kanji for the tattoo!

I’m a tattoo artist. My friend wants to get “Warrior” and “Life” in Japanese kanji. But the kanji he showed me doesn’t seem to be right. Does this kanji mean “Warrior”?

be careful about the wrong kanji

O M G ! Σ(・ω・ノ)ノ!

I’m VERY glad he contacted me before the ink gets done!

Even the Printed Tattoo Samples Could Be Wrong

wrong kanji for tattoo

Answer: The kanji 羊(hitsuji) means…Sheep! Sheep! Sheeeeep!!!

…I don’t know who translated this into Guerrero(Warrior in Spanish) first, but I feel so bad if somebody got “Sheep” on his skin accidentally.

By the way, maybe he wants “戦士(senshi)” for Warrior. Please read 2 blogs that I previously posted that I answered other questions about it. Because there are so many options.

Japanese Kanji: Is this translation “WARRIOR” right?
Which Japanese kanji suits my Tattoo “Warrior”?

Don’t Get Tricked by Special Phrases

Here is a well-known special phrase, “生と死 (sei-to-shi)” which means “Life and Death”.

This is correct. It’s like idiomatic usage. No Japanese picks one kanji “生” when he or she translates the English word “Life” into Japanese. 命(inochi : Life) is the most common answer.

Examples of the Japanese translation

Here are some examples of the Japanese translation for “Life”.

命 (inochi): Living power of living things. Living thing has “inochi”, that’s why it’s living. “He saved my life! : 彼は私のを救ってくれました!”

人生 (jinsei): Somebody’s living time, experiences, and so on. “I didn’t know that in whole my life!(私の人生、ずっとそれを知らずに過ごしてきたよ!)”

生命 (seimei): This is basically same as 命, but it’s more “practical” word. “I bought a life insurance. : 生命保険に入りました。”

生活 (seikatsu): Living. “This is the life cycle of the tree. これが木の生活還(ライフサイクル)です。”

So, What does 生 mean?

wrong kanji for tattoo

Usually, when Japanese people see one kanji “生” alone, they pronounce it “nama” which means “Raw”. 

And when they see one kanji “生”, the first thing people associate is “Draft Beer”. lol  But this is true. You can say “Nama” to order your draft beer at a bar.


Just imagine the person, who supposed to have “Life” and “Warrior”, got 生 羊. …Raw…Sheep…. Come on, he doesn’t want a lamb chop! (+_+)

wrong kanji for tattoo

Some people say “The meanings don’t matter as long as it looks cool” or “I just picked this kanji only because it’s symmetric”. But if you care about the meanings, please be careful! Personally I really do care! (*´Д`)/

However, nobody can’t blame the customer who believes the meaning of Japanese kanji on the printed catalog at a tattoo shop. There is no way to make sure if it’s right or not!(unless contacting KansaiChick. *wink*)

Thank you again for the question!

Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Bushido”! 武士(bushi) is Samurai, the ancient Japanese Warrior!

Other Questions on Japanese Kanji


  1. iDream

    I recently got tattood 5 kanji symbols on each of my finger on the left hand and I want to know if they actually mean what they should say.
    Where can I contact you?
    can I send you an e-mail and send you a picture of my hand?

    • Currently I’m not answering individual questions but you can send me the photo if you have no other way to get the answer for your question. (‘ω’)ノ info@kansaichick.com

  2. Elisabeth E.

    I wanted to get a kanji tattoo too but didn’t exactly find anything that means something like “it’s my life”. Could you someone help??

    • Hi there!

      “It’s my life” means “それが私の人生だ” in Japanese. Hmmm, I know it’s not a kanji phrase exactly.

      FYI: If you want to have a kanji tattoo(which looks much cooler than having a Japanese full sentence like the one above, I think.), you can check this web page that has a list of the 4 character-kanji-idiom. http://www.edrdg.org/projects/yojijukugo.html

  3. Lu

    Hi, I am planning to get a Japanese proverb tattooed on my back but im not sure if its right. Can someone help?

    Here is the proverb.
    Koketsu ni hairazunba koji o ezu.

    Translation: If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub.

    -Is thisright?

    • Koketsu ni irazunba(“Hairazunba” is wrong for this proverb.) koji o(/wo) ezu. If you do not enter the tiger’s cave, you will not catch its cub. It’s the literal translation, and the meaning of this proverb is “if you don’t take the risk, you won’t get great success”.

  4. >Talia

    OMG, I didn’t notice your comment until now…!Σ(・ω・ノ)ノ!!

    Yes, your Japanese words are correct. When you need my help next time, you can email me.

  5. Talia

    Hey! So I have two Japanese I have been wanting for a super long time but have been putting off as it is my biggest fear to have it inked on my incorrectly

    木漏れ日 (Komorebi). Loosely translated to describe the way that the sun filters through leaves to produce rays.

    Another is 現代の戦士 – which I *hope* translates to modern day warrior. Do these translate correctly? 🙂

  6. Ricky

    Can you help me??
    I want to get kanji about “storm sword”, as the sword I choose the kanji for “zekken” like the one in anime sword art online, meaning “absolute sword”, and the storm is arashi..
    Is arashi no zekken can be written with kanji “arashi”,hiragana “no, and kanji “zekken”??

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