Death Before Dishonour – Samurai Quote In Japanese Writing For Tattoo

An authentic Samurai quote on death before dishonour (Don’t spare your life, spare your honour)’ is available for instant download. The length of the saying is suitable (but not limited to) for spine tattoo. The Japanese texts 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.

Death Before Dishonour Samurai Quote for side neck tattoo
Style 1
Death Before Dishonour Samurai Quote In Japanese for Spine Tattoo
Style 2

Samurai quote on death before dishonour for tattoo explained

This samurai quote is divided into these blocks below.

  • 命な : life
  • 惜しみそ : don’t spare
  • 名を : name, honour
  • 惜しめ : spare

The literal translation is ‘Don’t spare your life, spare your honour’. The quote is from an ancient samurai ‘Chikaharu Minamoto 1116~1186’ and it is believed that he called out this phrase to the young samurai warriors before the first battle of the Hogen War. Once you are out in the battle field, you can only live or die. In that extreme situation, what matters most is your honour, not your life.

It is obvious to them that you won’t be able to receive the reward if you die even after doing meritorious deed. However, clinging to your life will lead you to cold feet and running around and away from the enemy will lose your honour. Honour is one of the 7 virtues of Bushido (The way of Samurai), which teach them how they should behave, act and live. Losing honour is losing who you are as a Samurai.  In the extreme situation, what the samurai had to protect was not the profit they would gain later, but the certainty of their own existence.

No Machine Translations = No More Kanji Fail

Japanese writing letters are very tricky scripts and many people end up with wrong/awkward letter 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 symbols actually conveys the meaning you have in mind. To help people get the right kanji and Japanese script 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.

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


All letters fit in a 22cm (8.66inch) x 8cm (3.14inch) frame. Depending on the number of letters, the size of each letter varies to match the sentence to the vertical limit of 22 cm and they may not fill the entire frame horizontally. New line starts after certain syllables if necessary or appropriate to do so (Please see the example image at the end of this page to see how it is laid out for this particular product)

Verse Tattoo Example

Please select the pdf version if you want to resize the letters to your perfect needs as it is illustrator-editable and resize-friendly. Your tattoo artist can make it bigger or smaller with no problem.

Here are the example files for your reference.

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

Death Before Dishonour Samurai quote In Japanese For tattoo


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Product Information

  • Last Updated

    August 31, 2021

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  • Released

    August 12, 2021

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