Since I get many requests for Japanese tattoos, especially those written in Kanji, I created this page. Even if you are not interested in getting a tattoo, this page can help you to find out how to write specific words, or your name, in kanji. Click here if you want to learn more about the art of Japanese tattoos (Irezumi).
First of all, just in case you are not familiar with Japanese, I will tell you a little bit about Japanese writing. There are three kinds of scripts in Japanese: kanji, hiragana and katakana. The combination of all three are used for writing. Characters can be written both vertically and horizontally. Click here to learn more about vertical and horizontal writing. To learn how to put Japanese characters together for a tattoo, click here.
Katakana is generally used for foreign names, places, and words of foreign origin. Therefore, if you are from a country that doesn't use kanji (Chinese characters), your name is normally written in katakana.
Your Name in Katakana
Katakana is a phonetic script (so is hiragana) and it does not have any meaning by itself (like kanji). There are some English sounds that don't exist in Japanese: L, V, W, etc. Therefore when foreign names are translated into katakana, the pronunciation might be changed a little bit.
Otake Japanese Kanji Calligraphy - offers various names in katakana.
Jim Breen's WWWJNAMES Server - helps people who want to write their names in katakana.
Japanese Translator - this site translates your name into katakana.
japanese-name-translation.com - this site automatically translates your full name into katakana and provides and an audio file with the correct pronunciation.
Your Name in Hiragana
As I mentioned above, katakana is normally used to write foreign names, but if you like hiragana better it is possible to write it in hiragana. The Name Exchange site will display your name in hiragana (using a calligraphy style font).
Your Name in Kanji
Kanji is generally not used to write foreign names. However, if you wish to have a kanji name, try the following sites. Please note that although foreign names can be translated into kanji, they are translated purely on a phonetic basis and in most cases will have no recognizable meaning.
The creator of the Kanji Name site will translate your name into kanji.
KANJI translation service for tattoos site will translate your name into kanji.
KanjiStyle.com site can produce the your name in kanji using the meaning and origin of your name. You can order from "Order" - "Your Name in Kanji."
Visitors wanting their name translated into kanji can buy and immediately download any of over 2,200 name images at japanese-name-translation.com.
There is another way to have a kanji name, which is to get a Chinese name. The Chinese use kanji (Chinese characters) only. Try this Chinese Name page.
You can also check out the book, Write Your Name in Kanji.
Your Name in Japanese (any scripts)
Takase Studio has over 2000 first names in Japanese. They are shown in romaji, hiragana, katakana and kanji. The kanji names are based on either literal or phonetic translations. The owner of the site also creates a tattoo design upon request.
Your-Name-In-Japanese.com offers a Japanese kanji symbol name translation service for tattoo design and gifts.
Find out what your name looks like in kanji with this site.
General Kanji for Tattoos
Check out your favorite words at "Popular Kanji for Tattoos: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11 and Part 12." The sound files are included to help your pronunciation. You can also see the collection of the kanji characters at "Kanji Land".
"DSFY (Design for You).com" offer Japanese symbol, your Japanese Name and kanji translation.
"KanjiStyle.com" site is for designers who wish to use Japanese calligraphy or kanji for design materials.
More About Tattoos
To explore more about tattoos, check the About's "Tattoo/Body piercing" site.
The Meaning of Japanese Names
Try the "All About Japanese Names" page to learn more about Japanese names.
"Kanji Names Project" site will also help you to understand the meanings of Japanese names.
To learn kanji characters, click here for various lessons.
Which Japanese writing style do you like the most? Click here to vote your favorite script.