Kanji contains a lot of meanings. So, we can say one thing with many different ways. However, when people translate Japanese into English, they usually pick some words without explanations of the details. That’s why, some info get lost so easily. (+_+) Well, that’s inevitable.

Therefore, I bet many people have hard time to choose the kanji from the list of translations on the dictionary. Even I look up the answer sometimes!

Today, I share the question from a follower about this type of situation. Thank you for contacting KansaiChick!(*’▽’)

I need to pick the right kanji “Warrior” for my tattoo. What I want it to signify is I have attained 1st Dan in Karate, as well I have numerous health issues that are a daily struggle to battle with.

I see! First of all, congrats on the black belt!! (*´▽`*)☆

This is the 3rd time that I received a question about “Warrior”. It’s a popular word indeed! I put the links to other posts below.

 Japanese Kanji: Is this translation “WARRIOR” right?
 Which Kanji is Right for Warriors?

This follower, by the way, seemed to read 1 or 2 of these and he figure out “戦士” might be the one for him. You did a great job!

Another choice in my head is “闘士“.

Plus, if you want to mean Karate Warrior specifically, “空手家(Karate-ka)”  is the right one.

Japanese kanji meanings for tattoo

Which Japanese Kanji for Warrior suits this case?

The word “Warrior” is usually translated to “戦士 (senshi)”. Other words like 武者, 武士, or 侍 are also popular, but people choose those kanji only when they want to express Japanese culture or samurai philosophy.

Then, here is another choice “闘士(toushi/tohshi/toshi)”. 闘士 is not so common word but it also means a warrior.

戦士(senshi: Warrior) = 戦う(tataka-u: Fight, Struggle, Combat, Battle) + 士(shi: Admirable Man)

This kanji word covers all common kind of warriors.

闘士(toushi: Warrior) = 闘う(tataka-u: Fight, Struggle, Combat, Battle) + 士(shi: Admirable Man)

This kanji word also covers all common kind of warriors, but the first kanji “闘” also represents people who fight against physical or mental condition.

Each kanji seems to very similar. But 2 explanations come out if you look up the word 闘士 in Japanese.

  • People who fight in battle.
  • Someone who works hard for his(or her) principles and beliefs.

The first one is just another way to say warrior, but I kind of like the second one for this case. Because I can feel this person’s will and determination stronger.

choose right kanji for tattoo

And also, “闘” is the only accurate kanji when we say “fight” against own physical or mental condition.

That’s why, I like 闘士 better here. But this is for a tattoo!! So, please think about it very carefully. I should make some negative parts clear.

  • The word 闘士 is not so common. And less kanji fans might be able to recognize it.
  • In Japan, a professional martial artist, who named himself “闘士”, existed before.(Retired in 2019)

Well, if you like “戦士” better, go for it! That kanji word also means “Warrior” definitely.


I hope my answer helps you! Thanks again for asking me.


Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Fighting Spirit”! That’s a cool motivational slogan for Warriors.

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


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