Kanji words look cool! Do you want to have a kanji tattoo?

The most scary fact is…that even professional tattoo artists often have wrong references.(+_+) I don’t know who made the mistake first, but I see so many art sample images that have exactly same mistakes.

Today, I’ll answer a question about the meanings of kanji word. Thank you very much for contacting me! I hope the person who got the kanji tattoo likes the image of it!

Could you tell me what this means? Is this translation “Warrior” right?

question about Japanese kanji

Well, yeah, “Warrior” is not wrong. 武者 is a type of warrior.(*’▽’)

But if you ask Japanese people to translate “warrior” into Japanese kanji word, I bet almost nobody will answer “武者”.


Examples of Japanese Kanji that Contain the Meaning “Warrior”

Well, there are so many variations of it in Japanese language.

  • 戦士 (Senshi)
  • 武士 (Bushi)
  • 侍 (Samurai)
  • 武者 (Musha / Mushya / Musya)

There are more but I put those 4 examples for now. And I bet “戦士” is the most common translation of “Warrior”. Because “Warrior” is an English word.

If I separate those 4 words into 2 groups, I can do it clearly “戦士” and “武士, 侍, 武者”. Because the latter ones mean ONLY Japanese ancient warriors.

戦士 means the people who fight in the battle. However there are other words that mean today’s “Soldiers (兵隊, 兵士)”. So, for the word “Warriors”, you can imagine warriors especially in ancient wars or in a fantasy world. We also can call tribal warriors “戦士”.

yoroi kabuto
Small Replica of Ancient Japanese Helmet and Armor

On the other hand, I can imagine that 武者 is wearing these kind of stuff in the picture above. (@_@) And usually he has one or more katana swords.

“武士, 侍, 武者” those 3 words are slightly different. All of them mean ancient Japanese warriors but they were created in different eras. It depends on the culture of each era and the class system of that time; dress, rights, whom they are working for, and so on. Only historians understand all those details.

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Japanese Words that Contain “武者 (Musha)”

武者 is an ancient Japanese warrior, but there are some common idioms including the word that Japanese people use even today.

武者修行 (Musha-Shugyou):

This word originally means that “traveling around for training to be a great musha”. But today, it also means that “traveling around for improvement of own skill to be a great profesional. I hear this idiom in so many Anime shows like “One Piece”, “Food War! Shokugeki no Soma”, and so on.

ex.) A young actor went to USA for musha-shugyou.

武者震い (Mushaburui):

This word means that “the body shakes itself for the excitement of facing a battle or any other serious situation”. I hear this idiom in so many shows as well.

ex.) “Are you scared?” “Nope, this is just a mushaburui!”


I hope my explanation helps you understand more details of the kanji word! (*’▽’)☆


Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Samurai”! Samurai is also a type of ancient Japanese warrior.

samurai kanji shirt

Other Questions on Japanese Kanji