How To Write Your Name In Japanese Kanji Symbols For Your Tattoo Design

By Takanori Tomita

Nowadays, just as we, Japanese people, love to use English symbols or phrase on T-shirt, Logo or jewely design, Westerners start to use Japanese Kanji Symbols for their own design needs as well.

The most popular use of Japanese Symbols is for tattoo designs, and today, this article tells you how your name is translated into Japanese Kanji symbols.

Although there are 3 different Japanese scripts called Kanji, Hiragana and Katakana, the most popular Japanese symbol as a tattoo design is Kanji.

Kanji are ideographic characters.

It means that each of Kanji symbol represent not just a sound, but an object or idea. Historically, it is imported from China.


Now, when we write names in Japanese kanji symbols, we can use several different ways to translate. First of all, the key to successfully rendering a name into Japanese symbol is deciding what you want to achieve.

Today, a professional way of Japanse name translation is disscussed. That is, the phonetic and eulogistic transcription, and used when you want to get both the pronunciation and the original meaning of your name.

In this case, we choose a kanji symbol according to each character’s sound, and also combine them with an appropriate meaning.

For example, we write Emma in Japnase kanji symbols.

Emma can be written by using 2 kanji symbols.

The pronunciation becomes “e ma” in Japanese, while the meaning is “Eternal Truth”.

You see, we use the Japanese kanji symbol which has “e” sound and “ma” sound, and in this case, we have chosen Eternal kanji symbol whose sound is “e” and truth kanji symbol whose sound is “ma”.

Also, Kanji has 2 different ways to read and has several different sounds.

So, let me also mentioned about the Kunyomi and the Onyomi.

The onyomi has developed from the original Chinese pronunciation but over the centuries it has been adapted to and become part of the Japanese language.

On the other hand, the kunyomi is native Japanese word.

To write names, we use both kunyomi and Onyomi reading.

But, English names are usually translated with Onyomi reading, and if the sound of onyomi reading of a kanji character is the same as the sound of your name, its kanji character is allocated.

About the Author: Takanori Tomita, a Japanese translator who is specializing in Japanese symbols, and operating

DSFY – Japanese Symbols Translation

This article is (c) Takanori Tomita 2006. Permission is given to reproduce this article in whole with the URLs correctly hyperlinked.


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