1. Style

Video:Getting a Japanese Kanji Tattoo of Your Name

with Michael Metcalf

Having your name written in Kanji is a really popular type of tattoo to get. Here is a video going over the process of getting your name written in Japanese Kanji in order to get a tattoo.See Transcript

  • All Videos
  • All Style Videos
  • Tattoos Videos

Transcript:Getting a Japanese Kanji Tattoo of Your Name

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 talk about how to get your name from English into Kanji for the purpose of getting a tattoo.

Importance of Japanese Kanji

Before you go to the tattoo parlor, it is important to know exactly what you want. Research is key; also, it helps to have a paper graphic copy of the tattoo you want. Kanji is originally from China, and the Japanese have adopted them into their writing system. Kanji are basically pictures, they are drawings that all have meaning. Whenever you get a Kanji tattooed on yourself, it holds extra weight. You can also choose Kanji that has personal meaning to you.

First Method of Getting a Kanji Name Tattoo

So let's talk about your name. There are basically two ways to get your name into Kanji. The first was is to get the meaning of your name and literally translate that into the Kanji. So let's take my last name, "Metcalf". Through a simple internet search, I found that Metcalf stands for "food" and "calf." So I took these words and I went to a Japanese dictionary website, such as jisho.org. I punched them into the search bar and it returned their respective Kanji. So now I have the Kanji for food, and these two Kanji which mean "calf." This is literally what my last name means.

Second Method of Getting a Kanji Name Tattoo

The second method is to learn how to phonetically pronounce it in Japanese, using either Katakana or Hiragana. The reason this is important is that you are now going to take this Katakana or Hiragana and search for Kanji that have readings that match those. Kanji have multiple readings, multiple pronounciations. So it's very important that you do your research and find the Kanji that not only matches the sound that you have in your name but also the meaning that you like.

Example of Creating a Japanese Name Tattoo

So here I have searched for a Kanji that has "Mi", and that Kanji turned out to be one that means dancing, I chose that one because, well, dancing's pretty cool. And then for "Keru", I found a Kanji for "Kick". So I have "Dance Kick", they're related, they're cool enough for me, I like them, so I think I'm going to go get a tattoo of that. Once you have found these on the internet, you can just copy them and paste them into a word document, alter the font to the size that you want, print it out and take it to the tattoo parlor and get set on your way.

I hope this video has helped you out, and if you would like to find out more information on how to write your name in Japanese for the purpose of getting a tattoo, check us out on the web at About.com.

About videos are made available on an "as is" basis, subject to the User Agreement.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.