Some of the most popular Japanese tattoos consist of words. There are three sets of characters used by the Japanese people: Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. Hiragana and Katakana are phonetic languages that represent sounds. Katakana was developed by monks, therefore its characters appear somewhat masculine. In contrast, Hiragana characters are somewhat feminine in appearance, as they were developed by Heian women. Keep this information in mind just in case you decide to use Hiragana or Katakana script in your tattoo.
Can you get your name translated with either of these scripts? Well, it all depends on your name. Many of the sounds we're familiar with in English, French, Spanish, and other European languages don't exist in Japanese. This means, obviously, that there are no equivalent letters in any Japanese scripts to the English alphabet. As such, it may be complicated to acquire an exact translation of your name. There may not be any characters to write your name with in Japanese at all!
This is where Kanji symbols come in. Kanji tattoos are a lot more popular in the Western world than Hiragana and Katakana scripts. Why? Because Kanja characters all have special meanings. This script form doesn't necessarily translate to any type of letters. Each character symbolizes a thought or emotion, creature, concepts, etc.
Some of the most popular Kanji symbols represent peace, love, happiness, strength, courage, friendship, luck, and love. Not only do they have interesting meanings, but they're drawn very lovely as well. A good tattoo artist will be able to draw a Kanji symbol on your skin with elegence that'll remind you of calligraphy.
In fact, one form of Japanese writing is similar to calligraphy. Sousho is a form of writing that has a rather fancy appearance, which is equivalent of what we know as Old English calligraphy. There are two other styles of Japanese writing as well, known as Kaisho and Gyoushu. Kaisho is written in "block" style and Gyousho is similiar to modern cursive styles. You can find examples of each form of writing online, and you should look over each choice for some tattoo ideas.
Getting a Japanese tattoo means more than just asking an artist to give you one. You need to find out what the symbolism behind everything means. Familiarize yourself with the culture and art a bit before deciding. Keep in mind that everything from a dragon to a koi fish and from a tiger to cherry blossom has special meaning in Japanese. You don't have to delve deeply into the meanings, although you should at least get an idea of what they all represent. Combine them together with writing if you want to. Once you think you have an idea about what you want, try seeking out an artist with actual Japanese tattoo experience.