Friday, November 13, 2009

Japanese Tattoo Tradition - Kanji Tattoos

Today, everybody has at least an idea of what a kanji character is. Not that any of us would be able to read and understand the meaning of a particular kanji symbol, but everyone has at least already heard about kanji. That's because of the increasingly popularity of the so called Kanji tattoos.

The western countries have found out how beautiful eastern languages can be, as we all started getting exotic characters inked on our skin.

Chinese, Japanese, Arabian and many other different foreign languages are being more and more translated into the international art of tattooing. Japan tattoos are most beloved for their beauty and powerful symbolism.

Kanji is one of the three "alphabet system" (which is not correct, as it can be hardly defined an alphabet) used in Japan written language.

The written Japan is made up of four different character systems: Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana and Romaji, which is the way they call the Latin alphabet.

Learning to write Japan means to learn all of these systems. The number of characters the Japan written language consists in is incalculable. Only in the Kanji system the number of possible characters is disputed: between 50.000 and 80.000 symbols!!!

Of course not all of these characters are commonly used; most of those fifty thousands consist of obscure variations nobody would ever use.

Another particular aspect of the Kanji characters, often categorized in tattoo websites under Japan tattoo designs, is that they are not really a Japan product. They were used many, many years before in China, where they were invented. The first sign of such characters in Japan goes back to the 57 AD. At that time, the Japanese language itself had no written form at all.

Today Kanji is commonly considered to be a part of the Japanese written language.

These elegant but extremely expressive symbols are getting more and more popularity among tattoo enthusiasts all over the world. The reason behind this popularity is to be sought in the mix of beauty, elegance, mystery and exotic symbolism that can be found in every single Kanji tattoo.

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