Keep Moving Forward In Japanese Kanji Symbols For Tattoo | Yojijukugo (四字熟語)

A Japanese Zen word ‘Keep Moving Forward’ (一志不退) in 4 Kanji symbols for tattoo is available for instant download. The letters are available in 3 different writing styles for your preference. Created and verified by a native Japanese speaker. 100% accurate and Your favourite tattoo artist DOES NOT need to know any Japanese.

4 letter word for knuckle tattoo, rare word in Japanese Kanji symbol
Style 1
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Style 2
Rare Word Tattoo On Tricep In Japanese Kanji Symbols
Style 3
Japanese Kanji Tattoo On Forearm
Style 2

The phrase consists of 4 Kanji symbols and this is what is called ‘Yojijukugo’, 4 Kanji idiom. It serves as an excellent source for Japanese kanji tattoo ideas.

Why Yojijukugo is good for tattoo ideas?

4 Kanji compounds are often used to express/represent themes, values, mottos. convictions, ambitions, resolutions. They are; straight to the point, concise and neat, and have a nice ring to it. They are also often written on a hanging scroll (Calligraphy style) to remind you the aforementioned resolutions, etc every time you see it.

There exists thousands of these 4 kanji compounds. Find more tattoo idea with Yojijukugo here.

Keep Moving Forward, Japanese 4 Kanji Idiom vs literal translation

Keep Moving Forward can also be translated into 「前に進み続ける」(maeni susumi tsuzukeru) as a literal translation. This phrase is made up of 7 letters and suitable for other body parts. The difference between this 7 letter phrase and 4 character idiom is that  ‘maeni susumi tsuzukeru’ is more of colloquial and this idiom is more for writing in hanging scrolls or as such to express one’s conviction/resolution and values.

Meaning of Each Kanji Letters

This Zen word has 4 kanjis below.

  • 一 : one
  • 志 : ambition
  • 不 : not, never
  • 退 : go back,

Putting all these kanji together, it means ‘Once you made up an ambition/resolution, don’t go back and keep moving forward’.

This Zen word remind us the importance of waking with purpose. How will you spend the rest of your life? Do you have something that you want to accomplish? Think for yourself and be firm in your aspirations. And once you set your mind to something, never back down, but keep going. If you continue to walk with your aspirations, the path will surely open up for you. Do not be misled by the opinions of others or lost in temporary desires, but continue to walk with your aspiration. That’s what this phrase is all about.

No Machine Translations = No More Kanji Fail

Kanji are very tricky scripts and some people end up with wrong/awkward kanji tattoos. Without proper understanding of the Japanese language and writing systems(require the use of 3 different scripts),  simply putting together the kanji obtained from Kanji generators might lead to Kanji tattoo fail. Even a celebrity like Ariana Grande got it wrong. (I’m glad she’s got it fixed with the help of her tutor and she’s happy with that Japanese script tattoo)

For this reason, it is best to consult a native Japanese speaker beforehand whether the kanji actually conveys the meaning you have in mind. To help people get the right Japanese writing tattoos, I started this online store. All letters here at are verified by a native Japanese speaker, and you can download the letters right after purchase.

Instant Download

There is a button to download the file right after checkout and no need to wait for me to send it to you. Then you just simply forward it to your favourite tattoo artist. The letters are 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.

Letter shown: Yorozuya

Horizontal & Vertical Directions

Both horizontal and vertical direction is used in the Japanese wiring and therefore, all download files with ‘4 Letter Compounds‘ tag come with both horizontal and vertical layout for your convenience. Horizontal layout is suitable for your finger/knuckle tattoo and inner bicep tattoo while vertical layout is for arm (tricep, shoulder and sleep) tattoo. (Please see the examples above) It starts from left to right for horizontal lines whereas it is top to bottom for vertical lines.

Letter shown: an example

NOTE : The letters DO NOT NEED TO BE MIRRORED, they should appear just as it appears on the print-out.

↓Click the image below


As a rule of thumb,

  • jpg for fingers, behind the ear
  • pdf for arms, chest, shoulder, and other body parts

The 4 scripts in any download files with ‘4 Letter Compounds‘ tag are approximately fits within a 2cm (0.8inch) x 8cm (3.14inch) frame or slightly bigger and, in general,  this size is suitable for finger tattoos and behind the ear tattoo.

4 letter word for finger tattoo sample
Letter shown: an example

If you need to make it bigger for arms, chest, and other body parts, please select the pdf as it is illustrator-editable and resize-friendly. Your tattoo artist can make it bigger without the outline getting blurry.

4 letter word for finger tattoo sample
Letter shown: an example

Nevertheless, please check with the example files.

If you are happy with the size of the letters (generally for fingers and behind the ear) and do not need to make it bigger, then the “jpg” is fine. But if you are looking to make it bigger or change the layout, positions, colours etc, then select the “pdf” just to be on the safe side as it is fully customisable to your likings. It might also be less work for your tattoo artist and cost less. (Please check with your tattoo artist)

3 different styles

You have 3 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 hit the ‘purchase’ button. You have 3 writing styles to choose from for this design. Each style gives different impressions. In a nutshell,

  • Style 1: Elegant, Delicate
  • Style 2: Chic, Sophisticated
  • Style 3: Earnest, Sincere
Keep Moving Forward In Japanese Kanji Symbols For Tattoo, Style Comparison vertical orientation
Vertical Orientation
Keep Moving Forward In Japanese Kanji Symbols For Tattoo Style Comparison Horizontal Orientation
Horizontal Orientation

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Product Information

  • Last Updated

    August 21, 2021

  • Price


  • Released

    January 2, 2021

  • Sales

    13 sales

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