10 Japanese Tattoo Ideas

If you have been looking for 10 Japanese tattoo ideas, this list might help. The complex characters used in tattoos are known as "Kanji" which literally means "Chinese characters" and about 2000 of them are used in everyday Japanese. Some have simplified forms when compared the traditional Chinese versions, and Japanese has several pronunciations for almost every character that will differ from Chinese pronunciations, but the meanings are generally kept similar. Kanji make very popular tattoos as they can be presented alone, in groups, or as part of a bigger image. The following list can help in searching for the proper Kanji to use for a tattoo.

  1. "Ai": This means "love" and is a very common Japanese tattoo, but also easy to mess up if the tattoo artist isn't careful. Proportion and placement of the individual marks within the character are often incorrect.
  2. "Chikara": This means "power" or "strength" and is very simple. The easier the character, the less likely the tattoo artist will make a mistake.
  3. "Otoko": This character means "man" and is also relatively simple, but proportion is key to accurate depiction.
  4. "Onna": This character means "woman" and is easy to distort but also easy to map out and plan before beginning the actual tattoo.
  5. "Hi" or "Ka": This is the character for "fire" and elements are often quite popular for tattoos. Element tattoos would work well as part of a bigger image, perhaps depicting fire in this case.
  6. "Mizu": The character for "water" another element is a relatively simple, four=stroke character, but as with all Kanji tattoos, proportion is key and usually the first thing the tattoo artist messes up.
  7. "Kokoro": The character for "heart" or "feelings" is a nice one also, not quite as common as some others which could lend to uniqueness and that is always good when getting a tattoo.
  8. "Baka": This combination means "fool" or "idiot," which may not seem very positive but can still be an interesting tattoo to have.
  9. "Bukkyou": This combination means "Buddhism" and can be nice for followers of Buddhism or for those who have an affinity for the Buddhist philosophy.
  10. "Kami": This is the character for "deity," which is often translated as "god," but the traditional Japanese Shinto interpretation of the character is slightly different from the Western understanding of "god" or "gods."

Another possible tattoo idea could be to replicate Yakuza style tattoos, the tattoos covering the bodies of Yakuza (organized crime) members. Common images are koi fish, flowers, and traditional Japanese woodblock-style images.

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