The Japanese symbol for faith as a tattoo

If you are looking for a Japanese symbol that is closely equivalent to faith, then your best bet is probably this one:


It is a Chinese Character that has meanings that encompass faith, truth, fidelity and trust. 

Chinese character for faith as a tattoo

Here’s what it looks like if when you make a kanji tattoo using this character:

Japanese character for faith tattoo
img: syve_ink
img: pg_11_22

Check here, If you’re interested to see what we consider to be cool kanji tattoos and bad kanji tattoos.

How are Japanese symbols for faith used in Japanese?

Japanese character for faith tattoo
img: syve_ink

You generally don’t see 信 used in Japan on it’s own.

To create the meaning of “faith”, it is most commonly put together with the character 仰 to make “信仰 shinkou”.

Shinkou is the word that is probably closest in Japanese to ourEnglish word “Faith”.

The Japanese symbol for faith also gets used in the Japanese verb 信じる (Shinjiru) meaning to believe; to place trust in; to confide in; to have faith in.

Other words the character for faith are are used in

信頼 (shinrai)

reliance; trust; faith; confidence

信託 (shintaku)

trust; entrusting

信用 (shinyou)

confidence; dependence; credit; faith; reliance; belief; credence; trust

自信 (jishin)

Confidence, self-belief

自信 (jishin), Confidence, self-belief tattoo img: _cjtattoo

How to write the Japanese symbol for faith

The stroke order you use to write a Chinese character can have a pretty big effect on how the resulting character looks.

You write the Japanese symbol for faith like this:

What are the different parts that make up the Japanese symbol for faith?

The different parts of a Japanese character often “tell a story” and this is true of the character for faith. It is made up of:

“Human” 人


“patience/endurance” 言.

You get the sense here of the character meaning “a person who endures or has patience”

The right side of the Chinese character can be broken down further.  “言” is essentially a pictograph, combining the radical of “口 mouth” placed under an altered form of the radical “辛 difficult”.

The connection between the Japanese symbol for faith and tattoos

Interestingly, the Japanese symbol for faith actually includes a part that could be related to the art of tattoing.

The word “辛 difficult”, which is the original shape of the right side of the character, can also mean a tattoo needle! It is used here in the sense of a tattoo being engraved on a person as a form of punishment.

The “口 mouth” below it is a square box called “sai”. It represents a vessel, or box, which was used for putting prayers into a “prayer box”.

So the Chinese character “言”, which is a combination of these two characters, can have the meaning of an oath with God. Literally, it means, “If I break my promise, may I receive a permanent tattoo as punishment”.

What Japanese symbols is “faith” combined with in tattoos?

The kanji for faith is often placed next to other Chinese or Japanese letters that people consider fortuitous, or generally positive.

In the tattoo below we see “faith” placed besides 望 (hope) and 愛 (love).

The first one is written using Japanese characters while the second is produced using Chinese characters. Remember that if you choose to use Japanese kanji that people often will try to reorder them read as one letter. This can make the text incomprehensible and off-putting. You may want to consider assigning some kind of visual difference between them.

“hope, faith, love” (Japanese form) tattoo img: dohaqatartattoo_pinthados
“hope, faith, love” (Chinese form) tattoo img: blam_tat

Is the Japanese symbol for Faith exactly the same as the English word “faith”?

If you are browsing in other languages, bear in mind that creative differences in the meaning of words can still occur. Language is highly related to culture, history, and religious doctrine. For the sake of translation, it is better not to interpret words literally. We need to research the term faith in order for us to understand it.

What do we mean by Faith anyway?

Faith in a sense is a deep and abiding trust or confidence in someone or something, a belief in the principles of a religion, the truth of a statement. In Christianity, faith is also often used to translate the Greek word pistis. The word translated as “faith” can also be translated as “believing.” In other words, to have faith in something means that one has confidence that it will happen.

In Judaism, there are three levels of faith: 1) Emunah (strong belief), 2) Bitachon (trust), and 3) Emet (truth).

In Islam there are two types of faith: 1) Iman which means deep acceptance and conviction in Allah and His Messenger Muhammad; 2) Ihsan which means doing deeds consistent

What is meant by Faith in Japan?

Faith has been described as a motivation for many Japanese people, as many seek out services with assistance from traditional religions of Buddhism and Shinto.

Some Japanese also practice faiths of other varieties. They believe that spirit or spirits live in everything, so natural organizations such as trees, mountains and rocks are viewed as possessing a spiritual quality that is largely spiritual.