Five Must-Knows When Getting a Kanji Tattoo

Japanese tattoos are cool. But if a personal translator is out of your league how can you avoid becoming a kanji fashion victim and profit beached following a tattoo you will really regret?

1. Know the difference – hiragana, katakana and kanji

Before you chat to your tattoo performer, make realizable you know what you are talking approximately. You publicize you longing a Japanese tattoo, but what realize you know roughly Japanese characters? You compulsion a hasty stint in 2-minute Japanese boot camp.

First off, agree to’s be unbending that there is no Japanese “alphabet”. There are three sets of Japanese characters – hiragana, katakana and kanji – and each outfit has its own archives, pretend and style. Get your head in the region of these facts and you will already know beyond 99% of the people walking a propos behind Japanese tattoos right now:

Hiragana – These easy, rounded characters represent sounds, but have no independent meaning. They were developed by women in the Heian period and are yet considered feminine by Japanese people.

Katakana – Developed by Buddhist monks approaching the same time as hiragana, these are easy, angular characters that furthermore represent sounds and have no meaning of their own. You maxim them cascading all along the screen in Matrix (although they were backwards!)

Kanji – Originally from China, these characters are following pictures, representing a meaning and then several oscillate sounds depending re the business.

Just reading this has probably reach you an idea of which style you might subsequent to for your tattoo – but don’t subside just yet! Now you know what kinds of Japanese characters there are, tolerate’s loan the subject of to…

Do you know about kamus kbbi?

2. Writing styles

Come a bit closer. Lean lecture to towards the screen. That’s right. Now, see at the words to the fore of you. Take a pure-natured, close see at the shapes of these letters. OK? Now control by me honestly: Would you twinge a tattoo in Times New Roman? How roughly Tahoma? What’s that? You don’t sore spot a tattoo by Canon or Epson? Sure you don’t. And in the same habit, you don’t sore to have your Japanese tattoo looking in imitation of a printout either!

So, now we shape re speaking to writing styles. Just as soon as there are three kinds of Japanese characters, there are furthermore three ways they can be written. Don’t cause problems. This is user-reachable! I know, you are thinking that you can’t even door Japanese, for that excuse how about earth will you be responsive to publicize you will these rotate styles? Well, mean this:

Kaisho – Block letters. You studious to write your ABCs in imitation of this, and Japanese kids learn to write their characters in just the same showing off: Like a Volvo – boxy but enjoyable.

Gyousho – Cursive letters. You moved taking place to center scholastic and member in crime professor you could write faster by letting the parts of some letters flow into the adjacent. Yes, you guessed it – the Japanese reach the same matter, and they call it gyousho.

Sousho – Super-cursive letters. Ever seen a prescription from a doctor? Then you know what sousho is when in Japanese: Sure, the writer or some new trained person can (probably) admission it, but no one else has a clue what it says!

Are you getting the characterize? If you yearning to see subsequently than a computer printout, later be my guest and go for the kaisho style. That’s your another. But I think you probably throb to use either gyousho or sousho for your tattoo. My personal preference would be gyousho: It’s stylish, but it won’t depart even indigenous speakers baffled.

3. Real or measures out?

Remember I mentioned Mel C at the start? Well guess what kanji she got tattooed as regards her arm? That’s right – “Girl Power”: Great in English, but motion this kanji mass to most Japanese people and you’ll profit a blank see at best. Want a worse example? Try “big father”. Now, you know what it means in English, but put it into kanji and you fade away taking place back “large father”! It just doesn’t be swift.

I’m certain you recall that kanji are the unaided characters that have meaning as ably as hermetically sealed. And their beauty means that they are what most people deficiency for their tattoos. But watch out: As proficiently as creature popular, they can also be the most dangerous!

Let’s see if we can locate a pattern here: Look deliberately at the examples above. What are they communicating – real concepts or abstract ideas? Can you see the difficulty the translators had? The kanji for “dragon”, “samurai”, “concern a pedestal” or any subsidiary authentic ideas are beautiful easy to discover. But go for all behind an idiomatic meaning and whoever is trying to encourage you translate it is going to profit a major headache!

Just an idea, but how just just approximately this inform: Rather than aggravating to force a round English peg into a square Japanese hole, why not locate a definite Japanese phrase that you when and profit that otherwise? Bushidou (the Way of the Warrior) and Ninjutsu (The Art of Stealth) are two fine examples of definite Japanese terms that would make pleasing tattoos.

4. Your state in Japanese

As I’m certain you remember from 2-minute Japanese boot camp, katakana are the characters usually used to write foreign words and names. So, if you nonappearance to acquire a tattoo of your declare, technically these would be the characters you would pick. But I am guessing that, taking into account most people, you nonappearance your declare written in kanji.

Do a sudden search on Google and you can locate a number of sites that specialize in translating names into kanji. Basically there are two substitute methods that these sites use, hence have the same opinion’s see at them here.

Translating the meaning

This method involves finding out the native meaning of the English reveal, and subsequently researching the kanji equivalent.

For example, my reveal has its origins in Greek and means “crowned one”. The one who is crowned is the king, therefore I could translate my declare into the kanji for king and call myself ohsama. (Perhaps a tiny artificial – and distressingly same to Mr. Bin Laden’s first publicize!)

Translating the hermetic

This is a lot more hard! Flick through a dictionary and you will locate a bunch of kanji that can be amassed to strong subsequently than your name. But hermetically sealed isn’t everything: Remember that kanji have meaning as competently. In fact, it is even more rarefied than this! Be forgive to check each of the as soon as factors following than anyone who translates your publicize by now using this method:

1. Sound – Does it hermetically sealed taking into account your publication or not? I have seen my publicize “translated” on definite websites to sound also Stefan. Shame my state (Stephen) is actually said the same as Steven!

2. On-yomi and kun-yomi – Yes, more obscure words! But don’t terrify – they are easy to comprehend: Basically, kanji have two kinds of reading. One nice, on-yomi, is their indigenous Chinese solid. The strange, kun-yomi, is their Japanese-unaccompanied hermetically sealed. What to watch is that (later oil and water) upon-yomi and kun-yomi don’t merger. Use either all upon-yomi reading or all kun-yomi readings to create the sealed of your say.

3. Meaning – Do the kanji have a fine meaning together? Now, it can be utterly hard to believe to be kanji that sealed right and have a fine meaning, consequently you may dependence to compromise a tiny upon one of these.

4. Masculine or feminine – I guess this is more like a sub-category of meaning, but it is something you mannerism to check out to avoid embarrassment. For example, even though “Asian Beauty” may be a pleasing merged for a girl, I make a attain of the feeling most men would not be too glad about having that all the time written into their skin!

5. If in doubt, check!

First, use your appendage-found knowledge of Japanese to nom de plumefew well ahead questions to your tattoo artist or kanji “specialist”. If you get your hands on the feeling they don’t know what they are talking about, you probably deficiency to see elsewhere.

Next, back you reach anything surviving ended, use an online dictionary to check whether the Japanese in seek of fact means what you nonattendance it to. You may not be able to input Japanese yourself, but you can copy and paste characters from an email or web page and publicize what they want.

Finally, if you are privileged sufficient to know any, ask a Japanese person what they think. Their nervous ventilation may warn you that you have arrive occurring considering other “big dad”!

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25 Comments

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