Self-Annihilation For Japanese Word Tattoo Ideas (Zen teaching) | Yojijukugo (四字熟語)

Japanese Zen word  (心頭滅却: Self-Annihilation/Clear your mind) for tattoo is available for instant download. This word consists of 4 Kanji symbols and this is what is called Yojijukugo (4 Letter idiom). The letters are available in 3 different writing styles as well as both vertical and horizontal directions for your preference and convenience (Yes, Japanese can be written both vertically and horizontally). Created and verified by a native Japanese speaker. 100% accurate and Your favourite tattoo artist DOES NOT need to know any Japanese.

Clear Your MInd, 4 letter knuckle tattoo words Japanese letter
Style 1
kanji symbol for neck tattoo, word side neck tattoos
Style 2
japanese letters tattoos on arm
style 3
Japanese Kanji Symbols Forearm Tattoo
Style 2

‘Yojijukugo’, four-kanji character idiom serves as good sources for Japanese word tattoo ideas.

What is Kanji ?

Kanji is one of the 3 Japanese writing systems. It is a set of symbols that represent words or concepts. Samurai’s 7 virtues are one of the most poplar Kanji tattoos that are simple yet have deep meanings.
7 Virtues of Bushido Codes Virtues for Kanji Tattoo Design

Kanji symbols are often used to express/represent themes, values, mottos. convictions, ambitions, resolutions by writing them down on a paper, and placed on the wall to remind you these values and resolutions, etc every time you see it.

Kanji on a hanging scroll
Tea ceremony room
Martial Arts Dojo

Why is Yojijukugo (4 Kanji idiom) is good for tattoo ideas?

Because they are; straight to the point, concise and neat, and have a nice ring to it. And there exists thousands of these 4 kanji compounds.

Find more tattoo idea with Yojijukugo here.

Japanese kanji phrase for ‘Self-Annihilation’, meaning explained

This Japanese Kanji phrase consists of the 4 Kanji below

  • 心 : mind, heart, thoughts
  • 頭 : head, mind, thoughts
  • 滅 : destroy, annihilate
  • 却 : suppress (desire)

Literal translation will be something like ‘Suppress/clear your mind and head’. This phrase is like Zen doctrine/ethic as it teaches us to remain calm. This idiom is part of the famous Japanese saying ‘心頭滅却すれば火自ずから涼し'(Clear your mind of all mundane thoughts, you will find even fire cool).

‘Suppress’ in this idiom does not mean to destroy the mind, but to prepare the mind. By preparing your own mind, we can be committed to the heat when it is hot, and accept it naturally. Fire and heat in this context can be broadly interpreted as vexation/suffering/desire to move to a cooler place. Vexations are always there, but it is how we perceive them and how we deal with them. It is not the outside that we face, but the inside of ourselves. It is important to face your own mind and adjust your mind accordingly.

Nobunaga Oda, the very first Samurai who united the entire Japan, is the perfect example as a practitioner of this concept. When he was betrayed by his subordinate and found himself surrounded by his own army, he set his temple on fire and decided to kill himself. When he found the mastermind, he simply said ‘so be it’. His mind had already prepared for this event as anything could happen in this war time period and he did not get panic nor furious. Just accept things just the way they are.

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
Japanese Kanji Symbols for Tattoo Zen teaching deep meaningful word Style Comparison Vertical Orientation
Vertical Orientation
Japanese Kanji Symbols for Tattoo Zen teaching deep meaningful word Style Comparison Horizontal Orientation
Horizontal Orientation

1 Sale

Share Now!

Product Information

  • Last Updated

    October 3, 2021

  • Price


  • Released

    September 21, 2020

  • Sales

    1 sale

  • Categories
error: Content is protected !!