Get The Perfect Japanese Tattoo Design

Japanese Tattoo Design - You are my life, Mayumi

“You Are My Life”
Thank you Britt and Mayumi for sharing this special picture
Tattoos are deeply personal and finding the right tattoo can be difficult. And for a Japanese tattoo design, you are probably worried about getting a wrong or malicious translation or calligraphy that is incorrect or does not look good to the experienced eye.

Here we share our years of Japanese tattoo design experience to help you in your search for the perfect Japanese tattoo design.

And, if you have any questions, please do feel free to ask us. You can use the contact us form or email us directly at Eri@Takase.com.

How To Get Your Perfect Japanese Tattoo

Your next step depends on where you are in your search.

I AM JUST LOOKING: If you know you would like a Japanese tattoo but are not sure what you want it to say or how you want it to look, then the best next step is to find a large catalog of reliable designs.

Of course, we recommend, StockKanji – Japanese Calligraphy Designs which has thousands of hand-brushed designs. Each Japanese tattoo design at StockKanji is well researched and documented with independent dictionary links. And each design is an original work by Master Takase.

StockKanji – Japanese Calligraphy Designs

By browsing the designs at StockKanji you will see a large variety of fonts and styles (learn more about the five major kanji fonts). Do you like the bold block font or a softer semi-cursive font? Do you like the look of a single word, a phrase, or a longer poem? StockKanji has so many samples and variations that you are sure to find a style that appeals to you. And, who knows, you may even find the perfect design waiting for you.

As an example, below are four different hand-brushed fonts of the word Crisis or 危機 (read kiki):

I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO EXPRESS: If you know what you want to express with your Japanese tattoo then you have probably already googled the phrase and come up with either nothing or way too much information. Either way, you don’t have something you can take to your tattoo artist to have inked.

If what you have in mind is common and popular, and not in StockKanji – Japanese Calligraphy Designs then please email us with your idea and if we feel it is a good fit we will add it to the catalog.

If you have found a design or a style that you really like, your next step should be to communicate with the calligrapher and ask a lot of questions. Below we discuss a completely custom design and we cover the questions you should ask and what you should be looking for in the answers. Good communication is the key to getting exactly what you want.

For The Perfect Japanese Tattoo Design

For the perfect Japanese tattoo, you need to find a calligrapher whose body of work matches your taste and who is able to answer all of your questions.

With over fifteen years of experience and thousands of satisfied clients, Master Takase is the perfect partner to work with to create a custom Japanese tattoo design that is uniquely for you. Master Takase’s work has sold all over the world as custom art for individuals, on commercial products, in books, in print, and in film. Her brand of Traditional Japanese Calligraphy has been described as refined and cultured. She has been praised not only for her beautiful art but also for her approachability, courtesy, and professionalism.

Japanese Tattoo Designs - Eternal Love by Master Eri Takase

“Eternal Love”
A special thanks to Anke and Torsten for sharing what is one of my favorite photos
Our secret at Takase Studios is simple, we work with you until the design is perfect.

Your custom tattoo design starts when you place your order and describe what you would like. We then create several options for the translation and several designs showing different fonts and layouts. These hand-lettered designs by Master Takase are then scanned, documented and emailed to you along with a detailed explanation and links to on-line Japanese dictionaries and other independent resources. We are happy to provide you with as much information and detail as you need to be completely confident with the translation.

We also have an extensive library and lists of on-line resources and are able to locate original Japanese quotes, poems and sayings. So whether looking for original text in the Japanese National Archives or choosing the most suitable translation from our five different Japanese Bibles, whenever it exists we get the authoritative source for the translation.

You can then examine the designs at your leisure and decide which samples you like. Based on your feedback, we would create the next set of designs. And in this fashion, you and Master Takase work together until the design is exactly what you want.

This design process is fun, informative and normally takes two or three sample sets to arrive at the perfect design.

For a specific example see Custom Design Process where we show the designs and actual communications used to achieve a final design. This is a great example of the process we would use with you to create your perfect Japanese tattoo design.

If you have questions or would like to learn more please contact us.

Japanese Tattoo Design Example - Crisis (kiki) - Block Font

“Crisis (kiki)”
All designs are delivered as Adobe PDF and will print exactly as designed. Also, along with the original art is the line art that your tattoo artist needs to ink the design.

For The Perfect Japanese Tattoo

With the Japanese tattoo design decided, there are several important things to consider before you ink the design.

For reference, we show a final design from StockKanji on the right as it addresses many of these points. Click on the design to get the actual Adobe PDF.

First, you want the design in a format that you can print and it will look exactly the way the artist created it. We suggest the Adobe PDF format which works on most hardware and is probably already on your computer. Final designs in JPG, GIF and other formats are just not satisfactory for accurate printing.

Second, you want to make sure your calligrapher provides you with the line art. This is an outline of the design that your tattoo artist will use to make the stencil that will be applied to your skin. With the line art on your skin, your tattoo artist will then refer to the art to accurately ink the nuances of the design.

Third, you want to make sure that the design is well documented. Over the years, if you have questions about the design you want to be sure you have all the details handy in one place. And make sure the design includes how to contact the calligrapher!

Remember that over the years the tattoo will need to be re-inked. We have been doing this so long that we get many requests for the originals – which fortunately we keep for our clients.

Next, we always recommend discussing the tattoo design with your tattoo artist before your inking session. Here your tattoo artist will examine the design and discuss the placement. Issues may arise if there is not enough white space in the design in which case your tattoo artist may ask for adjustments. And these adjustments should be made by the calligrapher, not your tattoo artist. So make sure that you can go back to your calligrapher to have any needed adjustments made.

This most often comes into play if you decide you want the design significantly smaller. In some cases, the lines will need to be made thinner. Again, you need to be sure you can ask your calligrapher to make these changes and will not be charged for it.

At Takase Studios, we have worked with thousands of tattoo artists from all over the world. And, while we rarely have issues, we always defer to the tattoo artist and always make the adjustments with no charge. Of course.

Japanese Tattoo Designs - Vow
Vow in Japanese
Yaeko, thank you for allowing us to share this picture

A Note On Translations

Japanese tattoo designs require absolutely correct translations. One needs to be sure that the design has the intended meaning and has a visual presentation that fits you and your style. Takase Studios has both a native English speaking translator and a native Japanese translator. This way we are sure to understand the nuance and the context of the English and are able to render this in the Japanese translation as closely as possible.

We take great care in making sure that the designs we create are absolutely correct and are happy to provide you with as much supporting material as you need to be completely confident with the translation. By doing this we are able to create a design that expresses what you want to say with a look and feel that matches your style.

Custom Japanese Tattoo Design Ideas

Custom Japanese Tattoo Designs By Eri Takase

Calligraphy based Body Art Designs require mastery of the art as well as accuracy and attention to detail. You need to be able to interact with the artist at every level to ensure the accuracy and appropriateness of the design. We take great pride in providing you with all the information and feedback you need to ensure that you are getting the design that is just right for you.

We work with you on each step of the design and give you the personal attention you need so you will be completely comfortable and confident with your new Japanese tattoo.

Family Bonds Japanese Tattoo Design

Family Bonds

with family’s names
kizuna

$95

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Family Bonds – Custom Japanese Tattoo Design

This is a wonderful design that includes your entire family in the tattoo and symbolizes how important your family is to you. The main character is 絆 kizuna meaning family bonds and in the lower left are first names of your family.

The names are translated using katakana which is the standard way that non-Japanese names are rendered in Japanese.

In this sample, the parent’s names are to either side in a protective position. Safe between the parents is the two children’s names. A small red Eternity seal sits between the children’s name.

This design can accommodate one to eight names. Four or five names is common. The example on the left has four names.

For information on how names may be rendered into Japanese see How To Write Names in Japanese which originally appeared in Master Calligrapher Eri Takase’s monthly column in Martial Arts Insider magazine.

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You Are My Life - Japanese Tattoo Design by Eri Takase

You Are My Life

with loved one’s name
inochi

$95

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You Are My Life – Custom Japanese Tattoo Design

This beautiful design proclaims your loved one to be the center of your life.

This design is the character for Life with your loved one’s name written to the lower left. Under your loved one’s name is a small red seal for Eternity.

There is a long history behind this design. Historically a geisha forbidden to marry would proclaim her love in a tiny version of this design. Today the meaning is to proclaim someone as being your whole life and is used for all loved ones including a fiancé, spouse, and even one’s children.

While normally the design has one name, it can be done with more.

This is a completely custom design where we work with you on the fonts and the layout by showing you samples and getting your feedback. We continue until the design is exactly the way you want it. This normally takes two or three sample sets to get just right.

For information on how names may be rendered into Japanese see How To Write Names in Japanese which originally appeared in Master Calligrapher Eri Takase’s monthly column in Martial Arts Insider magazine.

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Love with Names in Japanese

Love

with your two names
ai

$95

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Love – Custom Japanese Tattoo Design

This custom design symbolizes two people connected by love.

The central character is the kanji 愛 (read ai) meaning Love. Here the lover’s names are in the upper right and the lower left. In this sample, Steve is in the upper right and Carrie in the lower left.

Custom Japanese Tattoo Design - Love Steve Carrie
Thank you Steve and Carrie for permission to use this wonderful image

This is a completely custom design where we work with you on the fonts and the layout by showing you samples and getting your feedback. We continue until the design is exactly the way you want it. This normally takes two or three sample sets to get just right.

For information on how names may be rendered into Japanese see How To Write Names in Japanese which originally appeared in Master Calligrapher Eri Takase’s monthly column in Martial Arts Insider magazine.

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Soulmates Design with Names in Japanese

SoulMates

with your two names
tamashii no tomo
魂の友

$95

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Soulmates – Custom Japanese Tattoo Design

This custom design proclaims two people to be soulmates.

The central character in light gray is an original design of the characters for Soul Mates. It combines 魂の友 into a single beautiful design. In the corners are the personalized names written in beautiful Japanese calligraphy.

In this example, the names are translated phonetically to katakana which is the standard way that names are translated to Japanese.

And remember, this is a completely custom design where we work with you on the fonts and the layout by showing you samples and getting your feedback. We continue until the design is exactly the way you want it. This normally takes two or three sample sets to get just right.

For information on how names may be rendered into Japanese see How To Write Names in Japanese which originally appeared in Master Calligrapher Eri Takase’s monthly column in Martial Arts Insider magazine.

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Japanese Tattoo Designs - Name in Kanji - Mareena
Mareena in Kanji
Thank you Hisaya for sharing this special picture

The Name Mareena in Kanji
marina
真利名

This design is a phonetic translation to kanji of the name Mareena and it is simply fantastic.

The standard way names are translated to Japanese is to use katakana which are Japanese characters that have no meaning, but only translate the sound. Mareena in katakana is written マリナ.

While not standard, names can also be translated to kanji which do have meaning and unlike the angular katakana, kanji can use all the Japanese calligraphy fonts.

For a custom name in Japanese kanji tattoo design, we would work with you on options for the meaning as well as for the fonts. This is a completely custom design where you would have input into each step of the design. To learn more read about Takase Studios Custom Design Process

For information on how names may be rendered into Japanese see How To Write Names in Japanese which originally appeared in Master Calligrapher Eri Takase’s monthly column in Martial Arts Insider magazine.

Order Custom Japanese Tattoo Design