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Video:Japanese Tattoos: Picking the Right Kanji Style

with Michael Metcalf

Popular Japanese tattoos use different kanji styles. Learn about the different kanji styles used in tattoo designs to create the best looking tattoo for you.See Transcript

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Transcript:Japanese Tattoos: Picking the Right Kanji Style

Hi, My name is Michael Metcalf, and I'm a student of Japanese at the University of Missouri in Columbia for about.com. In this video I am going to be talking about selecting the right Kanji Style for your Japanese Tattoo.

Research Japananse Kanji for Tattoos

It's important to know, before you go into the tattoo parlor, exactly what you want, research is key. It also helps to have a hard copy of the graphic you want a tattoo of, so you can walk right into the tattoo parlor, show it to the tattoo artist and be right on your way.

Kanji originally came from China, they are used in Chinese writing. They are basically pictographs. Each and every one has meaning. So Japan imported them, so to speak, and started using them in their writing system.

Kanji Tattoo Designs

As I said earlier, Kanji are pictographs, their literally art. So when you get a Kanji tattoo you are basically walking around with a piece of minimalist art on your body. They are very beautiful when done properly. Just like in English, when your writing in Kanji, you can use different styles, or fonts so to speak.

Three of the most popular styles are Kaisho, Gyousho, and Sousho.

Kaisho is very similar to block print, like you have printed English. It's very nice and tidy and easy to read. It is very noticeable, easy to read as I said, but it might not have the artistic flair that you are looking for.

Now their is Gyousho, Which is closer to cursive in English. It's still easy to read, but is artistic enough to maybe not seem as bland as Kaisho would seem.

Finally is Gyousho. It's more on the end of calligraphy, it's very beautiful, it's very artistic, but it can be a little hard to interpret. Even for native Japanese speakers.

So I hope this video has helped you decide what Kanji style you'd like for your tattoo and if you'd like more information on writing your name in Japanese for the sake of getting a tattoo, be sure to check us out on the web, at about.com.

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