samurai

Tattoos are awesome. I want to have one eventually. But I can’t decide what I should have. Today I’ll answer the question about a popular Japanese kanji tattoo. Thank you for contacting KansaiChick!(*’▽’)

 


I have the unfinished tattoo that’s supposed to be the 7 Virtues of Bushido. I’m curious if what I have was even correct.


Oh, I see. I know what you tried to get.

the 7 Virtues of Bushido from “Bushido: The Soul of Japan”

  • 義 (gi: Righteousness)
  • 勇 (yuu: Bravery)
  • 仁 (jin: Compassion)
  • 礼 (rei: Respect)
  • 誠 (shin/makoto: Integrity)
  • 名誉 (meiyo: Honor)
  • 忠義 (chuugi: Loyalty)

It’s supposed to be this set, right? This is from the famous book “Bushido: The Soul of Japan” by Inazou Nitobe.

First 5 are just single letters and usually you don’t hear them in common Japanese conversation. However we Japanese sometimes use them when we talk about philosophy just like Bushido. Single letter contains a lot of meanings and each translation above is an English word that I personally think the closest to each.

OK, 名誉 is the unfinished one you are talking about.

Who got “義” wrong first? It’s a Mystery of Online.

Please take a close look at lower left part of the letter “義” that you have. It’s different from the Japanese Kanji that I’ve used in my life. I’m not sure that is a Chinese character either.

This is how it looks like when Japanese people write 義.

You see? The bottom part is 我.

Anyway, I feel so bad for you and your tattoo artist had a wrong reference… wrong info is everywhere online.

A Common Kanji Mistake about 7 Virtues of Bushido

By the way, you seem to have “真” instead of “誠”. Well, this is kind of tough to explain. Even people in Japan make mistakes in choosing those 2 kanji!

But, to the best of my knowledge, the right kanji for 武士道(Bushido) is .

“真” and “誠”, both of them can be pronounced “shin” or “makoto” and both letters covering some parts of same meanings in English like “Honesty”. I guess somebody mixed up because “Honesty” also sounds right as one of virtues.

So, Why 誠 is the One?

The letter 誠 was born by 2 kanji ”言” and ”成” smashed together long long time ago in China. 言う means “Say” and 成す means “Do/Achieve/Fulfill”. 武士 Bushi(侍:Samurai) always accomplish what they declare. Speaking and doing are the same action.

That’s why, the right kanji is only 誠 for the Bushido Virtues.

Does it make more sense now??

Thank you again for the question!


Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Bushido”! Wearing a shirt is easier than getting a Tattoo, don’t you think?


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