Meaningful 4 Letter Zen Word for Knuckle/Fingers Tattoo In Japanese Kanji Symbol

4 letter word (Zen teaching) in Japanese Kanji symbol (剣禅一如: Unifying the spirit of Zen and the spirit of Sword) for your tattoo is available for instant download. This is an excellent letter symbols for knuckle/fingers, forearm, and bicep tattoo. 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.

This Zen teaching is phrase developed by a Zen Master, Takuan Sōhō. This is a very deep and intriguing concept. It basically means that how well you can perform at sword fighting is essentially dependent on how well you have sunk in the teaching of Zen. In other words,  you need to master the spirit of Zen to become more proficient at sword fighting.

Carpe Diem, 4 letter knuckle tattoo words Japanese letter
Style 1
Zen Teaching in Japanese Kanji Symbol for arm Tattoo
Style 2
Japanese Letter Tattoo for bicep. Zen Teaching
Style 3
Japanese Kanji Letter Tattoo for Forearm
Style 2

The phrase consists of 4 Kanji scripts and this is what is called ‘Yojijukugo’, four-character idiom.

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

There exists thousands of these four-character idioms and they are excellent source of word tattoo ideas.

4 Letter Kanji For Your Knuckle/Finger, Forearm Tattoo

4 character idioms are excellent choices for, but not limited to, finger/knuckle tattoos (arm, shoulder, neck, rib, behind the ear, etc) because they are; straight to the point, concise and neat, and have a nice ring to it. It’s almost as if you are having one (or perhaps more?) of those hanging scroll letters on your body for the rest of your life. Many of those 4 character idioms including Zen teachings are actually used to express themes, values, ambitions, resolutions, convictions, and way of life on their hanging scrolls.

Kanji on a hanging scroll
Tea ceremony room
Martial Arts Dojo

Meaning of Each Kanji Letters

The 4 letter words for ‘invincible’ are made up of the 4 Kanji below.

  • 剣 : sword
  • 禅 : zen
  • 一 : one
  • 如 : like

Literal translation will be something like ‘Sword and Zen is like one thing’. This Zen quote teaches that how well you can perform at sword fighting is essentially dependent on how well you have sunk in the teaching of Zen. In other words,  you need to master the spirit of Zen to become more proficient at sword fighting.

Simple, yet deep and meaningful word for your tattoo

The concept of ‘剣禅一如’ was first introduced in takuan’s work called ‘不動智神妙録’.(The Unfettered Mind)This is a three-part treatise on Buddhist philosophy and martial arts and talks about a series of three discourses addressed to samurai but applicable to everyone who desires an introduction to Zen philosophy. This book was written to Yagyū Munenori, head of the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū school of swordsmanship and teacher to two generations of shōguns, military dictators (将軍)

How can a concept of Zen be translated into Martial arts?

If the mind is caught up in one thing (too much awareness), that awareness will disturb/hinder your unconscious body movement ; when in doubt, the body and mind stops, even if only slightly. From the view point of Zen, this state is not ideal and the mental state and mind of a warrior who has reached the level of a master should be “unconscious action” and the mind is always in flux, “never wandering, never grasping, never stopping”. The Mysterious Records of Immovable Wisdom is divided into multiple sections and I will share some of those here.

1 : The Affliction of Abiding in Ignorance (無明住地煩悩)

When the opponent swings the sword, from the moment you think he is coming at you, your mind is caught up in his movement. In order to move freely, you must not move consciously, such as “Who’s coming and how?” The movements of your opponent’s sword, your timing, and your own sword movements are all objects of disturbing your unconscious movement.

2 : The Immovable Wisdom of All Buddhas (諸仏不動智)

The mind moves freely and the mind is not caught in the slightest in any one thing . This is the immovable wisdom. The best thing to do is to move like the Acala who most embodies the immovable wisdom.

Statue of Acala, from 12th century Japan. Currently in Rietberg Museum (Zürich, Switzerland)

For example, when ten people come slashing at you one by one. After dodging the first slash, If your mind is fixed on/caught in that slash, you will not be able to respond to the second slash immediately, and the only way to respond to 10 people is to move your mind 10 times.

Another example with Senju Kannon (Kannon of a thousand arms) , If her mind is caught up in one of the thousand hands, the one with a bow, all the remaining 999 hands are useless. All the thousand hands are useful only when the mind is not caught in one.

Senju Kannon

If you are interested in further exploring this concept, the translation of the book is available in English.

The Unfettered Mind: Writings from a Zen Master to a Master Swordsman

Who is Takuan Sōhō ?

Takuan Sōhō (沢庵宗彭) was a Zen monk, painter, poet, gardener, tea master, calligrapher. (what a versatile person he is !! ) and adviser to both Shogun and emperor as well as, a legend as it, being a friend and teacher to the Sword Saint(剣聖)Musashi Miyamoto.

He was born into a samurai family but entered a monastery at the age of 10 to study jodo sect of Buddhism. I can explain or you can google who he is but maybe reading ‘Vagabond’ is much more fun and easier to get the picture of who he is.

Vagabond portrays a fictionalised account of the life of Japanese swordsman Musashi Miyamoto, based on Eiji Yoshikawa’s novel Musashi.

Vagabond, Vol. 1 (VIZBIG Edition)

No Machine Translations = No More Kanji Fail

Foreign lettering is exotic and can make great looking tattoos. Kanji tattoos are getting popular worldwide but as the saying goes ‘there’s no rose without a thorn’, kanji 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. It’s an absolute honour that people opt in favour of Kanji and Japanese letters for their script tattoos.That’s why I started this online store to help people get the right kanji and Japanese script tattoos. 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.

Horizontal & Vertical Directions

Both horizontal and vertical direction is used in the Japanese wiring and therefore, all download files with ‘4 Letter Words For Knuckle Tattoo‘ 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.

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 Words For Knuckle Tattoo‘ 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

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

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 Samurai Quote

Japanese Kanji Symbol for Tattoo. Zen quote, Samurai spirite


1 Sale

Share Now!

Product Information

  • Last Updated

    August 21, 2021

  • Price


  • Released

    October 1, 2020

  • Sales

    1 sale

  • Categories
error: Content is protected !!