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!


If you want to know the meanings of any Japanese kanji that you don’t see English subs for in a particular animation or live action movie, tell me “Name of the Show”, “Season and Episode #” and “the Exact Moment (Minute: Second) if it’s available”!

If it’s just Japanese kanji that you see around you, like a shop sign or a tattoo, you can send me the photo as long as you are allowed to take picture of it.

I can’t promise to reply to everyone but I’ll try my best!

Email to: info@kansaichick.com