Japanese Poem for Tattoo – Hideyoshi Toyotomi. If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it.

鳴かぬなら 鳴かせてみせよう ホトトギス

If the cuckoo does not sing, coax it.

Author : Unknown

This poem is one of the famous poem series, which talks about the 3 biggest warlords and compares their personalities using the same topic.

The poem is available in 5 different styles to choose from. (see the samples in my examples above) .

Background and Explanation

The author of this poem is unknown but the poem itself is well known and still taught to the Japanese schoolchildren because it is the expression of how witty Hideyoshi Toyotomi is, the second Great Unifier of Japan. This is in a series of 3 famous poems, which expresses the personalities of the 3 most major Japanese warlords.

The three greater warlords are

So there are 2 other variations to this poem. ‘If the cuckoo does not sing, kill it.’ and ‘If the cuckoo does not sing, wait for it.

Why is the author unknown? This could be because the author didn’t want to risk his life by talking their personalities without his superior’s permission. You never know someone might see the poems as disrespectful and take offence to them.

It is said that these poems were made by someone from Hirado during the Edo Period. A certain shogun once said selfishly one spring day, “I want to hear the Hototogisu (cuckoo) sing. It was the Warring States Period. It was a time when the shogun’s word was absolute. One of his retainers prepared a Hototogisu, but it did not sing in front of the Shogun, and the retainer had to be scolded by the Shogun. The shogun, now angry, gives the same order to another retainer.  Being in such a trouble, the retainers wondered what kind of answers would they get if they consulted the three great warlords?

And he thought that he would get this answer if he’d asked Hideyoshi.

Instant Download

You can download the file right after the purchase and no need to wait for me to send it to you. Then you just simply forward it to your favourite tattoo artist. The design is 100% accurate and he/she does not need to know any Japanese.

The file contains both calligraphy style and line art (Stencil).Stencil is what your tattoo artist must have to ink the tattoo, as it serves as the outline to trace the artwork onto your skin.

NOTE : the design DOSE NOT NEED TO BE MIRRORED, meaning it should appear on your skin/object just as it appears on the paper.

Depending on your purpose,  pick either jpeg or pdf

If you are looking to use the design just as it appears and not wanting to resize it, then the “jpeg” should be fine.

But if you are looking to

  • use it on a large object and need to resize
  • change the layout / position
    (e.g, vertical▶️horizontal / angled,  etc)

then the “pdf” should be your choice as it will be less work for your tattoo artist, meaning costs less.
(You need to check with your tattoo artist though)

Click the link below for more information.

▶️ pdf or jpg ? Which one is right for me?

5 different styles

You have 5 writing styles to choose from for this design.

each style gives different impressions and I have summarised in the gallery above.

How to order

Just simply tick your preferred style and add it to the cart.

Click and have a close look at them.

If you are not sure, please read through the page below or simply contact me.

▶️Purchasing process


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Product Information

  • Last Updated

    January 20, 2021

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  • Released

    January 19, 2021

  • File Included

    jpeg or pdf

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