Politeness / Respect (Samurai Virtue) In Japanese Kanji Symbol For Tattoo

‘Politeness’ or ‘Respect’ in a Japanese Kanji Symbol (礼 reads Rei) for tattoo is available for instant download. This single word is one of the 7 virtues of Bushido (武士道: The Way of Warriors/Samurai’s code of conduct). It is simple yet has a deep meaning highly regarded by Samurai warriors. The symbol is available in 3 different writing styles for your preference. verified by a native Japanese speaker, your favourite tattoo artist DOES NOT need to know any Japanese.

Kanji Symbol for Respect,Politeness for Tattoo on side neck
Style 1
Kanji Symbol for Respect,Politeness for Tattoo on Arm
Style 2

What is Kanji ?

Kanji is one of the 3 Japanese writing systems. It is a set of symbols that represent words or concepts.

You might have seen those asian hanging scrolls with some calligraphy letters on it like these. They represent themes, values, resolutions, ambitions, and convictions.

Kanji on a hanging scroll
Tea ceremony room
Martial Arts Dojo

Politeness/Respect in Japanese Kanji symbol and its meaning to Samurai

Here are the two examples of Politeness (Rei) unique to Japanese, which you’ll probably find peculiar or weird.

‘Rei’ is not just about being polite at random people. It will be a poor virtue if it is exercised by your fear of loosing good manners.(being afraid that people might think ‘oh you are rude’)   As ‘Rei’ is stemmed from ‘Benevolence’ and ‘Modesty’ and actuated by tender feeling towards the sensibilities of others, it is an expression of sympathy. It also means to respect social positions of others, not based on plutocratic(rich or not rich, high social status vs low social status) distinction but on the character of the person.

Japanese Weird Politeness 1 : Gift / Present

When giving a present, Japanese tend to say

I brought you this menial thing…


This phrase is common in formal situations. You might find this confusing thinking ‘Why would you give something you think is menial to me.. are you trying to mess with me or what?’ The reason why we use this expression is because we thinks this is menial when compared to your greatness, dignity and value etc.

Japanese Weird Politeness 2 : Sharing pain

Let’s say you are walking down the street out in the hot glaring sun with no shade over you and ran into your friend who has a portable parasol over him. When you started to have chat, that friend put close that parasol and started exposing him/herself in the same hot glaring sun.

We do this thinking that, as much as I’d like you to share my shade with you, it’s not large enough to do so. Let me at least put my self in your shoes and share the discomfort. Because it is not fair just me in this comfort and I feel sorry.

➡️ Bushido: The Soul of Japan.

No Machine Translations = No More Kanji Fail

Japanese symbols are very tricky scripts and many people end up with wrong/awkward kanji tattoos. 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.

Bushido virtues gone wrong

Bushido codes are one of the most popular Kanji tattoos. You can find many free images for them on the internet. However, it is not uncommon to spot wrong, not properly written and even severe lack of important kanji, and people end up having those wrong symbols on their skin…

Wrong Kanji Tattoo

These are the correct Kanji symbols for these two.

Next, severe lack of 名 for Honour and 義 for Loyalty.

Sever lack of Kanji Symbols

Honour and Loyalty has 2 kanji but looks like they are compressed into 1 kanji on another image.

Bushido Kanji Tattoo fail
2 Kanji Symbols compressed into 1 Kanji

To help people get the right kanji and Japanese script tattoos, I started this online store.  All letters here at Yorozuya.tech 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.

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


As a rule of thumb,

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

The script in any download files with ‘One Word‘ tag approximately fits in a 2cm (0.8inch) x 2cm grid and, in general,  this size is suitable for finger tattoos and behind the ear tattoo.

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.

Nevertheless, please check with the example files.

If you are happy with the size of the letters and not do need to make it larger, then the “jpg” will do. But if you think you need 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)

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

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

Respect, Politeness in Japanese Kanji symbol for Tattoo


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Product Information

  • Last Updated

    July 24, 2021

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  • Released

    October 10, 2020

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